The Tale of Typhoid Mary

a bottle of liquid with a labelIn my post last week about traveling when you don’t feel good, I promised to talk about why I don’t fly or go to work when I’m sick. Here is that story.

In my first job out of college, I was working in sales for a large corporation. I was very excited to put my business degree to use, not to mention getting a real paycheck. My first two weeks at work were spent in training. The afternoon of my first day of training, I started feeling a little too warm. By that night, I had a fever around 102, along with chills and a sore throat. But I was determined to not mess up my first job, and so I drugged myself the next morning and went to work. I did not miss a single day of training, although I certainly didn’t retain a lot of what I learned that week. By the end of the week I was feeling much better, and was back to normal by the next Monday.

However, I ended up getting about half of the rest of the class sick, including the instructor. One person got so sick that she had to go to the ER to get fluids. And the instructor had to miss a day of work because he was so sick. I felt so bad! But by the time I realized what had happened the damage was already done.

I know that I am lucky, because if I were to wake up tomorrow and have the flu, I could call my corporate travel department and cancel my flights and not have any personal consequences. Not everyone that travels for work has this option. As one of the comments last week said, “The problem today with being sick is the airlines don’t care – if you choose not to board a flight, then you will pay the re-booking penalty.” It would be awesome if airlines would make allowances for illness, especially because it benefits them when you don’t get their flight crew sick. Maybe one day we will see that.

As for that instructor, I still see him at industry events occasionally. He still calls me Typhoid Mary, and still tells that story to people. So not only does he call me that, but random people who I meet that know him will say, “Oh, you’re THAT girl!” Sigh.


  1. Ahh, those were a couple insane weeks. I still remember shivering in the back corner with a 102.2 fever, trying to make it through the 10 hour days. I also learned a few valuable lessons from that experience. Now, when I’m that sick, I stay in bed and let my body rest so it can heal faster; the business isn’t going to crumble just because I miss a day or two.

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