When you can't talk. Like me today.
When I'm spending more time in the bathroom (or at least feeling like I should immediately repair to the bathroom) than anywhere else. I seem to find it easier to make the decision to just stop in response to gastrointestinal illness than to other maladies. Maybe it's because such problems tend to be both highly contagious and short-lived. I should probably take a day off to recover from respiratory illness more frequently, but for whatever reason I don't.
This was my old MO: If I can't drive, or worry at the prospect of crashing my car while driving due to my illness, I don't teach. Otherwise, I crawl out to the lectern and cough my way through the lecture. But, I do go straight home again after teaching.This is my new MO: if I don't feel well, I fire off a classwide email saying class is cancelled, and tell them to go to [insert coursework program here] to get the lecture recording later in the day. I then plug in a microphone into a USB port, fire up Camtasia Relay (a computer video recording program), stare into the webcam embedded in my laptop, and give a lecture from the comfort of my kitchen table, while I sip a cup of herbal tea. I'll switch the desktop between the webcam program and PowerPoint when I want to show them a diagram or some text. I'll talk slower so I don't get a sore throat, even though this means a 70 minute lecture in what is normally a 50 minute lecture slot. When I'm done and click Stop the recording automatically uploads to some magical place in the ether for the students to download later, and then I go back to bed. Bliss. I have to avoid lowering the threshold for how sick I feel, otherwise I'll soon be staying home anytime I have even a minor sniffle, because I'm sorely tempted by this new fangled technology...
The answer is either "when I'm not breathing" or "when I'm breathing".But I haven't yet figured out which it is.
when I am too sick to drive.
MaM is right. If I can't get there, there will be no class.
If I can't stand upright. And yet, students are "sick" when they have the sniffles or the beginnings of a headache. I don't always judge someone's illness based on how they look because I'm stoic, and can appear fine with a raging migraine, but if I were going to call in sick or show up to call in sick, I'd make sure the other person saw I was suffering.
Well, there are two versions of "sick" for me. "Too sick to leave the house" and "too sick to lead a class". If I'm too sick to leave the house, the class gets canceled. If I'm too sick to lead a class, I give them group work or a series of questions to answer in-class. I very rarely get too sick to leave the house. Maybe once every couple of years. Too sick to lead a class happens maybe once a year.
Ah, one of the great joys of having a Ph.D. is practicing medicine without a license. When are you too sick to teach? One might think it's when one becomes contagious. Buboes are definitely not good.
If I can't get through half a class period (whatever that is) without the threat of uncontrollably expelling something from one end or the other, I am too sick to teach. That said, I generally try to miss no more than one day per semester to illness, no matter how loathsome and vile my condition is, and, indeed, will try to lecture in between frequent bathroom runs if I think it'll keep my syllabus from getting too jacked up. I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate getting too far off my plan.
I lost my voice last week to what I now know is a sinus infection. I tried to teach on Wednesday but by Thursday morning I was coughing so much I knew I had to go to the doctor, so I canceled classes.Last year was fucking horrible, health-wise, for me. I am hoping that this little bump is all I have, as last semester's kidney stone had me out for almost 2 solid weeks, trying to teach via the LMS through a fog of painkillers.
Also, "You're not foolin' anyone, you know."
When I can't get out of bed.
Most of the above, plus: when the fracture is still too swollen for a cast.