The Work Excuse Scale
On a scale of 0-10, please rate your need for a work excuse. Zero means you don’t need one and plan to go on to work and contribute to your own well-being and that of your family and the republic at large. Ten means you absolutely, positively, no way, no how can go to work.
Some examples for patients to review:
0: ‘I slept all night, woke up, had a nice breakfast, kissed my family and I feel good! Can’t wait to get to work.
1: ‘I slept OK, but stepped on the cat in the middle of the night and couldn’t sleep for an hour after that. I feel pretty good but I’d love a nap. Coffee made me feel better and I’ll be fine till tonight.’
2: ‘The baby cried all night and so did the cat, which is in heat. Turns out I’m allergic to either the cat or the baby (or have a cold) and I have had runny nose and sneezing all night. I can’t taste breakfast. I have a performance review at work and I need to be there so I’ll make it; but I kind of wish I could stay home.
3: ‘The baby vomited several times on both of us; and my wife started vomiting too, and that made me vomit on the cat. And the cat vomited. But I think I’m fine now. I ate a little and put the cat out. Slept about two hours all told. I could stay home. But I can power through.’
4: ‘While the baby was asleep the cat got into some catnip and attacked my foot in my sleep. I thought it was an intruder. I hit the cat with a lamp and I think I broke my toe. I can’t find the cat; but I think it’s growling under the bed. I walk with a limp and my foot is swollen and tender. If you say it’s not broken, then I’m fine.’
5: ‘The kids are with the grandparents and my wife and I celebrated our anniversary. Maybe too much. My head hurts and I think I fell asleep on the cat, which bit me on the arm. My arm is red and swollen and my mouth is very dry like cotton, or cat hair. I can’t move my fingers very well. Tylenol and Motrin didn’t help the hang….I mean headache. I really don’t want to work today. But I can.’
6: ‘I was here yesterday with the cat bite; and yeah, I took the antibiotics but it’s kind of draining pus and I have a fever. I don’t feel so good. My wife took the kids to the vet and the cat to the pediatrician or something like that. I work at a desk and I have a lot of bills, so if you can get me feeling better I’ll try to go to work. I wouldn’t say no to an excuse though.’
7: ‘This morning I found the cat when I tripped over him and I fell down onto my daughter’s princess castle. My ankle really hurts and I can’t bear weight on it. What’s that? It’s broken? %#@&. I sit at a desk so if I can have crutches I’ll try to go. I need to work. My wife is home with morning sickness and I need the money.
8: ‘This evening I drove home using my left foot since the right was broken recently. I swerved in the driveway to avoid hitting the cat and when I stepped out of the car to check on the cat it was still in drive and dragged me a few feet until it ran over the kids’ bicycles. I have some scrapes. Between that and my ankle, I’m not so sure I can work but I don’t want to stay home and listen to the kids complain. Or look for the cat. Or be told I need a vasectomy.
9: ‘My pain is an 8/10 but I have sympathy morning sickness and I’m vomiting the pain meds for my ankle, and also the antibiotics for this stupid cat-bite. I think if I have something for nausea, I’ll be OK. What do you mean ‘did the cat have his rabies vaccination?’’
10: ‘So the kids were crying about the cat up in a tree in the yard and I climbed up to get it, but I forgot that I was taking pain meds and I fell eight feet onto the concrete; and simultaneously onto the cat. I feel pretty short of breath; the cat’s done-for. What’s that? Broken ribs, collapsed lung and concussion? Yes please, I’ll take a work excuse.
0: Get me out of this ER, I have to go to work
1: I don’t like my job and I don’t want to go to work but I’m ‘spota’ be there
2: I overslept
3: I over-drank/drugged/partied
4: I fell down and have a bad boo-boo and it hurts
5: I got a bad cut at work but everything still works fine now that you’ve fixed it
6: I have the flu
7: I have the flu and I’m short of breath
8: I had a car wreck and had a bunch of xrays and it took hours but nothing is serious
9: Broken long bone, high fever, short of breath, smoked ‘a little’ weed and employment drug screen today
10: Stabbed, shot, septic, MI, stroke, cardiac arrest, cobra bite, fall into big pit, injured stopping terrorist.