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October 25th, 2007

Reality Check: Getting Sick

View over Manhattan, New York

Often I blog about my clients but for my Reality Check series I’ll be turning the spotlight on myself. What’s it really like to do phone sex for a living? What’s the day to day reality like?

This first post was inspired by recent events. I’m just now recovering from a nasty cold combined with allergies. While pso works offers great flexibility (choose your own hours, take a spontaneous day off work) there are times when bills are due and one needs to get on the phone.

Since my voice is vital to my work I’m super sensitive about it. When I got that throat tickle that precedes a cold I got proactive. I watched my sleep schedule, talked less to friends on the phone, cut back on strenuous activities and slept more.

But the tickle didn’t go away. I was on a call when the coughing started. Thank the gods for the mute button. Every pso must have a kick ass mute button. Without it some callers might be scared off. Why? While the first two days of the cold I had soft coughs by the third day I was hacking like a 2 pack a day smoker who’s been addicted for decades. It wasn’t pretty.

All told I was sick for over a week hard and had a few days of slowing getting better. What do pso’s do when they get sick and have to work?

-Have a good headset with a STRONG mute button
I am extremely picky about my headsets. Once I was on the phone with a regular while sick. This was during my first year as a pso and I had a typical headset. A bad cough hit and I muted myself to hack for a minute. When I un-muted my client asked if I was alright. I asked what he meant. He told me he heard me hacking and thought I was choking on something. You never want to hear a client ask you why you were hacking. It’s terribly embarrassing. Luckily he was the type of guy where I could tell him I was sick and had muted myself. We then went on a 5 minute tangent where I tested my mute button with him. (I love my understanding and flexible clients!) My mute button sucked and only quieted my voice. The next day I replaced it. Shell out the money for the nicer headsets with a mute button that blocks out all sound. It’s worth it.

Even if you have a kick ass mute button you don’t want dead space on the call. Time your mute times when the client is talking. If you do pso work long enough you’ll develop a sex worker intuition about how long the clients reply will be. I can say something to a client and sense how long he’ll respond. If I just need to blow my nose I can prompt a short reply from him. If I need to cough awhile I’ll say something that will get him to talk awhile.

-Set up a cold supply station by your work area.
If your cold supplies are nearby you’ll have an easier time on calls. My cold supply station consists of water, kleenex, Altoids, blanket, pillows and appropriate meds in case the call goes long.

-Spritz your throat with throat spray right before the call.
With this last cold I used throat spray before every call. It had a subtle numbing effect and stopped me from coughing for about half the call.

-Have a tall glass of room temperature water nearby
While the client is talking I would take sips of water to moisten my thought. Cold water sometimes hurt my sore throat as did hot tea. Juice is generally great but is unpredicatable .Sometimes I’m fine, sometiems orange juice makes me cough. I save juice drinking for when I’m not on the phone. Luke warm water never set me off in a coughing fit so it’s my staple drink on working sick calls.

-Have something to suck on
I won’t say suck on cough drops because I don’t use them. Mr. Radical got me into sucking on Altoids while sick and I find they work great while on the phone. The strong flavor helps clear the sinuses so I can breathe through my nose while working. Have whatever works for you nearby. I had an Altoid tin within arms length the whole time I had a cold.

-Take notes during the call
I always takes notes during calls. Since I’ve done this work for several years my notes are more like cliff notes these days. When I’m strung out on a cough, allergy and cold medicine combo taking notes helps me focus on a call.

-Be highly selective of the calls you’ll take
During this last cold I turned down two clients. One was a screamer client. He likes me to have loud, moaning orgasms, one right after the other. Plus he likes to talk for a long time. There was no way my sore throat could handle that sort of treatment so I put off talking to him until I was better.

The other caller was Cum Guzzler. His fantasy is easy enough. I force him to suck and fuck huge cocks and to guzzle down loads of hot cum. I could handle that while sick. What I couldn’t handle was the before fantasy chitchat. Usually we have about twenty minutes of real life conversation. He likes to hear what I’ve been up to since our lives are so different. I just didn’t have to strength to edit my life into appropriate client-pso interaction stories. Normally, I really enjoy this part of the call. But it would have taken energy that I didn’t have while sick.

CG is an understanding client so I was able to be honest with him. I explained I was pretty sick and was about to head to bed because I was too tired to do any more calls. He was very understanding about the situation and extended get well soon and have a good night’s sleep thoughts. (This type of behavior is what makes psos have favorite clients.) We’ve talked since I’ve gotten better. I made sure to give it my all and give CG an extra great call because he was so sweet while I was sick.

-Take breaks between calls
When it’s a hot night I’ll do back to back calls, sometimes all night until I go to sleep. If I’m sick I can’t because it will make me sicker. After a call ends take a breather of at least 10 minutes. Pacing yourself will save your strength.

-Schedule calls to get plenty of sleep
This one is a tough rule for me to follow. I have a handful of regulars that call after midnight and talk for at least an hour, usually several. It’s hard to turn off the phone at 11pm and go to bed. I know I’m missing calls and have to fight the urge to catnap with the phone on.

Catnaps throughout the day are great while sick. Truth be told I regularly take catnaps with my phone on. But if you’re sick waking up to grab the phone is hard on the body. I made the mistake of ignoring this rule when I was first sick this last time. I answered the phone and sounded alert. The problem was during the call I felt as if my body was internally shaking and I kept catching my head falling onto my chest as I started to nod off. It was a draining experience. Plus I didn’t give a great call so ultimately it was bad for work as well.

Even though you’ll miss calls make sure to go to bed early while sick. Sleep in as late as you can.

-Have a cat to cuddle
This is an optional one. Whenever I’m sick my furball likes to sit on my lap and work his kitty magic. It helps too. After a good cuddling I may not be over my cold but I definitely feel better.

-Work on a relaxing knitting project
Ok, this one is optional as well. But like the cat rule, I recommend this one highly. Having a comforting knitting project with yummy yarn that’s a dream to handle makes me feel good. My perked up mood shows in my voice which makes for a better call.

Posted by Vixen as PSO Confessions at 11:37 PM CDT

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