Blog, Story Time

My New Hospital Job Wanted Me To Come Into Work While I Have A Cold | The Pandemic In The Netherlands

Originally, I was going to come up here to write some witty blog about keeping sane while under quarantine (like the internet needs more of those). I had everything planned out and without tooting own horn (toot toot), I was going to make the joke about – When you realize you had to make no lifestyle changes and you’ve been under quarantine all along. Yeah, that one. It was going to be funny. You’re just going to have to take my word for it. But now I want to rant.

So, last week Tuesday, I started a new cleaning job. I was pretty excited about it because 1) it’s set hours so I can actually have some type of schedule again 2) it’s a different area in the health industry so I get to see the nurses in action in a new environment. So, now I clean at the hospital (I promise I will stop starting my sentences with “So”.) and I would be lying if I said it wasn’t super cool. I mean, this is going to my workplace when I’m all grown up. It got me all excited for my studies (starting September eeeeppppp). But, let’s get to the rant part. I will skip over the almost impossible amount of areas I need to clean in my little three hours and get to the point of this blog.

On Saturday evening, the first batch of cold symptoms started to kick in. A headache, a cough, and a sore throat. I wasn’t (and still isn’t) all too worried about it. I get a cold every time the season changes here in the Netherlands. I’m that girl that has a cold in the summer. On Sunday, I felt a little worse but I had some soup, stayed in bed and the worst of it blew over. But then this morning rolled around and I had to make a decision. Am I going to call in sick at my new job or sick it out at work like I always do? The thing is, I can’t be 110% sure it’s the usual new season cold and I can’t take the risk. I can’t be the person that brings in the coronavirus into a vulnerable place. That will always be on my consciousness. So, knowing all of this, I contacted my new job. And guess what they said. Are you ready to lose your faith in humanity?

Here is how the conversation went.

Cassy: I’m calling because I have a cold and I can’t come to work tonight. I get a cold almost yearly around now, every time the season changes *insert nervous laughter* Normally, I would never call in sick for a cold but because I can’t be 110% sure, I don’t want to take the risk.

Manager for the Cleaning Company: You can still come to work if you have a cold. Do you have a fever?

Cassy: No, but-

Manager: Okay, then I will see you tonight.

I ended the call, confused. Quite understandingly confused. Yesterday afternoon, we got a mass alert that basically says, keep your distance and if you have a cold and you’re coughing, please stay inside. This message is one of the reasons why I called in sick. I mean, the government just said don’t go to work if you have a cold and correct me if I’m wrong, isn’t the hospital one of the worst places you should go now if you have a cold?

By a stroke of luck, I had gone through a “Uitzendbureau” which is basically a company that you can sign up for and they will get you a job. So, technically I’m working for them and not this cleaning company. I have a contract with them. It’s very confusing to me still (it’s a new concept for little old foreigner here) but basically, I have a contact person with this company that helps me with everything. She is the one I need to call if I’m sick or if I want a holiday. She arranges everything for me. She was the first person I called about this cold, and her response is what you would expect. “It’s great that you’re calling in sick for this and I will put that you’re going to take a sick day in the system. Please call x, the Day Manager for the Cleaning Company, to say you won’t be coming in today.” And that’s when that phone call from before happened. But because I wasn’t alone, I just went straight back to my contact person from the “Uitzendbureau” and asked for advice.

I basically said the same thing. Blah blah blah, yearly season cold, blah blah blah, because I’m not 110% sure, I don’t want to take the risk. She was understandingly, just as confused why he still wanted me to come in. We were pretty much on the same page. We can’t on a good consciousness send me in there while I have the symptoms of a cold. Besides the moral conundrum, it isn’t allowed via the government’s new rules. Look, the last thing I want to do is call in sick after less than a week from starting this new job, but I won’t take the risk. But luckily my contact person just said, stay home. We need to follow the RIVM rules and that means, if you have symptoms of a cold, stay inside. According to my limited understanding of the coronavirus (I’ve been living in denial world), not everyone is going to get it to the dangerous, I need a ventilator right now, degree. Some of us, will just get a cough and a sore throat. Just because I don’t have a fever, we can’t rule it out. I could just have a mild case. I’m relatively healthy. I take my vitamins, I eat my veggies and I get some exercise in. It’s a good bet to make that if I would get the virus, it would be on the mild side for me. Who knows? And that’s exactly what’s stopping me. I don’t know. I can’t know. They only test for it if you have a fever. I realize that there is a small chance that this cleaning company might just say, don’t come back and well, honestly, I’m okay with that. I need the job and I need the money, but I would like to have a clear consciousness and not potentially be the cause of an outbreak in a hospital.

~*~

For now, we’re just going to take it day by day. I’m going to drink my tea, eat my soup, and rest. But now, I get to go back to not being sure if I have a job when the end of the month rolls by. I hope all of you are keeping your distance and staying inside. May we all get through this Pandemic, healthy and safe.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!  

End Note

Update: So, technically because I don’t have a fever (you need to be fever free to work in the health industry so the hospital), I can still go to work. The Uitzendbereau is leaving that up to me. It’s my choice. WTF! I know it’s a good chance that if I got the virus, I would’ve gotten it at the hospital. But, that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t want to take the risk. Yeah, if I wash and disinfect my hands or elbow (because we cough in there now), I can no longer spread the virus but AGAIN, why should I carry that on my consciousness. With my anxiety, no thank you! I’m already breaking out in a cold sweat just thinking about it. I basically just said that I don’t feel comfortable going in tonight because I’m still coughing a lot, but I will come in as soon as 24 hours go by without any cold symptoms. If this means I lose my job, then well I guess I’m going to have to search for a new one again. I will keep you all updated.

Edit, one week later: So, I ended up going back to work that Wednesday. There isn’t much else to say. I’m happy I didn’t lose my job lols

Leave a Reply