In sickness and in health

Fear not, I’m not announcing I got hitched in a round about way. The day that happens it would be waaaay more subtle. Something along the lines of “oh, and on Friday I got married”…which isn’t for a very long time yet.

I have spent this week being flat on my back, either in bed or on the sofa in various states of undress – again, not what you think. Flu, ladies and gentlemen. A proper dose of flu. It is not fun (the understatement of this year) and it is most certainly not sexy. It started just after the idiotic attempt to run roughly 7 miles, through Sherwood Forest, at night through mud and over obstacles. With a bit more mud for good measure. Oh, and then we camped. In tents. Not glamping, not even a whiff of glam was about.

The Notorious Night Run…before illness

And I got ill. Then Tom got ill. Then we got really ill together. It is now Day 5 of the March edition of “Flu & Other Afflictions” and I discovered that there are some things that should not be attempted while sick. As is the way of the Reawakening, I feel I should share these with you, lest you make the same mistakes I have.

Do not buy Mother’s Day Cards.

Do not venture near any sentiment about your mother when sick – especially when you have been sobbing like a new-born lamb for said mother the night before while you have a raging fever. It makes you prone to a stealth attack of tears in the middle of Morrison’s.

I want my mum too!

Avoid new-born babies.

This might just be me and my own hormonal imbalances but the sight of a sleeping 7 week old infant is also prone to causing much wet eye and stuffy noses, with a good bit of shaking shoulders for balance. Mother of new-born will not mother you – she will just look worried and shuffle away rapidly. Oh, and the new mothers really don’t like the incubus of plague breathing near their offspring.

Try not to attempt any task requiring dexterity

This includes the following (list not exhaustible): changing sheets, opening jars, opening packets, opening DVD players (manually), negotiating the volume button on the remote, washing yourself, trying to locate glasses/water/cough medicine/pain relief at 3am in the dark, opening tissues, turning over in bed. What I am trying to say, badly, is don’t bother trying to do anything but blink. I’m stubborn – I have to be told off and made to sit down quietly before I will allow people to help me it would seem – I am slowly learning my lesson. If help is offered, take it!

Cheaper balsam tissues are a false economy

ALWAYS use the Kleenex ones – so they are a tad pricey. Yes, they are only for blowing your nose on and coughing/sneezing into. But trust me when I say the supermarket own brand version will rip your nose to shreds after 3 or 4 tissues and you will use a tonne of Vaseline on the fraying edges that used to be your nose. Don’t skimp on the balsam. Ditto the Vaseline.

Step away from the own brand…go for the good stuff

Don’t watch anything that churns strong emotions.

This includes laughing, crying, shock, fear etc. Not because of your weakened emotional state (although that is a consideration to make) but because anything other than gentle blinking and smiling will make you cough up a lung. Try not to watch Contagion either – it is not a great one to inspire healing thoughts.

Avoid driving.

This is a two-part warning. 1) Your response times are likely to be delayed as you’ve done nothing more urgent for 4 days than get to the bathroom before peeing yourself so driving might be a bit of an ask. 2) People are stupid. They will swerve, cut you off, fail to indicate and all of this will make you cry. Or invoke road rage – which will make you cry. I think I may be aiming this at the more sensitive souls but don’t say I’ve not warned you. I cried.

Do not try to move house.

This week was supposed to be the week that I had to pack up the Harrogate flat, make nice lists, call people, change addresses and generally do all the admin stuff before we attempt the move. It hasn’t happened. I tried – and then realised that I can’t do that when I can’t talk without coughing up a lung, can’t string 3 words together and have no energy to change a DVD. If you don’t have to move right this very second then wait. The move has been pushed back to next weekend now – and I’ll admit I’m a bit relieved. A very big bit pissed off – but ultimately relieved.

Don’t register with a job agency/go for an interview

Yet again I’m looking for work. The agency called me on Tuesday and despite me coughing at every other word she managed to convince me to go into Leeds and “have a chat”. Big mistake. First, there was the driving (see previous warnings). Then there was the parking. Then the walking across Leeds. Then the sitting in a baking hot, sauna effect glass cube filling in the same forms I filled in 6 months ago. And the piece de resistance? Being told that despite having my passport AND driving license on file from 6 months ago, they have to take a new copy. Why, I asked her. I fail to remember the exact answer but I meekly nodded and agreed to bring the sucker in for them. Ordinarily I would have been chatty and vibrant, selling my skills and personality, making myself shine. Today was not one of those days and I left, my top clinging wetly to my back, waistband of my trousers damp and clammy and feeling thoroughly miserable. Not the best impression – but I did warn her I was sick.

I bought tea for the homeless guy sitting under a building arch, hoping to impart a little bit of niceness on at least one person. Epic emotional fail; I ended up sobbing all the way back to the car. Which brings us back to the “no driving” suggestion. See – told you I was helping you in the long-term.

By the time I’d driven home, sobbed a bit more at the lights to some emotional 80’s song (Power of Love anyone??!) and parked, I could feel the tantrum building. In a manner a 3-year-old would have been proud of, I tantrumed for a good 5 minutes after walking in, was soothed and patted on the back (Tom needs a flipping medal for dealing with me), slurped up some noodles and I was back to my normal state of ill. I was also back in pyjamas and a hoodie – where I intend on staying until I have to move tomorrow evening to head back to Harrogate to at least attempt to pack.

The lesson here is a simple one. Do not try to do anything when you have the flu. Don’t try to change sheets, do laundry, empty dishwashers, make conversation or even toast until you are feeling more human. If only I could follow my own advice.


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