Sick as a parrot

Well I have been on this sick this week after a dose of the flu. Damae had the flu the weekend before, so I just had to make it a his’n’hers infection. According to official figures we are part of the new winter flu outbreak here in Norway. 2.7% of all people going to the doctors in the last week got the diagnosis “flu like illness” which is well above the 1.4% limit for it to be an official “flu outbreak”.

Damae was quite unwell for one day, took the next day off and went back to work on the third day. She signed a declaration that she had been sick herself and handed it in to her employer. As I am still in my probationary period at work, I had to go to the doctor and get a ‘sykmelding”, (a good old fashioned doctor’s note), from the first day. I can’t just fill in a ‘self declaration’ form like Damae can.

However, this turned out to have a very fortunate side effect. During last weekend I was really rather unwell, didn’t eat much and was unable to sleep for two days. I wasn’t well enough to go to work on Monday but had I still been living in the Netherlands or the UK would probably have dragged myself coughing and sneezing into work on Tuesday, munching my way through the maximum daily dose of Ibuprofen and Paracetamol, whilst infecting all my collegues.

When the doctor heard my list of symptoms she gave me a sick note up to and including the 23rd (tomorrow). Which is most of the week. This is at least two days longer than I would have judged as being sufficient for my recovery. The logic behind this was that I had not had a proper weekend and in any case needed extra time to get over the relatively severe symptoms. I’m quite thankful that this is how things turned out as I am still recovering as I write this.

This episode did make me appreciate the difference between the UK and Norwegian approach to sickeness and work. They way the system works here seems to have a much stronger emphasis on getting a healthy employee back to work as quickly as possible. In the UK I have always had the impression that the emphasis is on getting an employee back to work as quickly as possible.

Which is a subtle yet important difference.

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