I was out from Saturday through Wednesday last week with one of the worst bouts of flu I've ever experienced. Things got worse when it devolved into a major sinus/bronchial infection that now requires fist-sized antibiotic pills that I'll be on for two weeks. I was nearly comatose when I saw my doctor who readily wrote out the prescription when she laid eyes on me in my state of fever-induced delirium. She's not the type of doc who does this easily and needs deep reasoning for doling out drugs - and for this I'm grateful. The medicine kicked in quickly and I'm feeling quite normal now.
But I missed three days of work due to this illness - something that doesn't happen to me often. In fact, the most I've ever called in sick is once in the past six years. I don't ever use sick days to "play hookey." People who do that make me crazy.
I'm lucky. At my place of employment we get 15 days of vacation per year. We also get - I think - 8 sick/personal days (I think, because I don't use them) per year. That equals up to 23 days off. But for me, 15 vacation days are plenty and I usually don't burn all of them in a year. I tend to piggy back vacation days with holidays - time around the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas/New Year. I'm not being holier than thou here, its just my nature and I'm certainly not "kissing up" to the corporate machine.
Sick days are insurance. Use them up for personal pleasure and things can get haywire when you really do come down with something significant. Using sick days to play hookey will bite you back and hard. Now you're left having to force yourself into work when you really are sick (and, trust me, you will be and you will need sick days), selfishly spreading your germs to co-workers because you wanted your day in the sun.
Now I know there are times when you absolutely need to go into work when you're too sick to think. But when I see somebody suffering illness at work frequently, I have to wonder how many days they spent doing that "hookey" thing.