Reflections on my recent illness
I hate being ill.
I doubt anyone loves it, to be fair, but oh, I hate it with a passion. On the 19th December, on the first day of my Christmas annual leave, I caught the flu that had been going around the office, and that Krys had just recovered from. But I’m a tough girl, though I, and I wasn’t going to let a few sniffles get me down. So we were out in Phoenix park one rainy day, trumping through up hills and through streams, out at the powerscourt waterfall trekking through djouce woods and stomping in mud for hours. Twice to both places.
I kind of rested, but meh. It’s only a wee flu I said to myself and carried on cooking dinners, sleeping late. And in January I went back to work still ill and refusing to surrender.
As the Irish would say: Sure, I was grand!
And then Roz fell ill on the 30th January. High temperature, listless, refusing to drink any water or eat any food, she frightened the life out of us. And the next day, bam! I was down, my body having given up after a restless night of checking on my poor girl and worrying myself sick on whether we needed to take her to the hospital or not.
We both ended up at the out of hours doctor with strict instructions to stay home and rest. Roz, being the wunderkind she usually is, was bouncing around the place by Tuesday while I was just starting up. She was back in school Wednesday but I was told to stay out the week on the couch and rest, rest, rest.
As I lay there listless on the couch, day after day, I began to reflect on a few things.
Human mass extinction events.
It struck me (and not for the first time over the last number of years) that Stephen King was right. The human extinction event will not be a meteor wiping out life on earth (though that’s always a very close thing, much closer than people realise), it won’t be global warming’s effects finally catching up with us; nor will it be some relatively new illness like Ebola or Zika wiping us out.
It’ll be good old flu, mutating and going through us like a hot knife through butter.
Trust me, when you lie under a 15 tog duvet earing a thermal night gown, a thermal dressing gown and a hot water bottle and your teeth are still chattering with the cold, then a few hours later wake up so hot that you have to stuff tissue down your bra to collect the rivers of sweat running down your body and change bedding and clothing; when you blow your nose only to lie back and be unable to breathe, when everything you eat tastes like ash and even water (my favourite drink!) tastes terrible, so bad that you have to force yourself to take measured sips throughout the day to avoid side splitting dehydration headaches; and when you wake up in the middle of the night, horror movie style and sit up gasping for breathe because your nose is so blocked you had stopped breathing…that shit makes you realise how fragile the human body is and how, should the flu virus keep mutating and running riot, we’re going to be very easy targets.
So yeah, the last three weeks have been hard. I’m glad I have my body back, virus free for now.
I didn’t get to watch as much daytime TV as I thought I would, what with the dying and all, but I did realise there are some pretty good shows out there shown during the time I’m in work. I watched and fell asleep during a lot of “wanted down under” episodes on BBC two…or was it one? And I discovered Four in a bed on More4 which really had me hooked towards the end of my illness when I could watch TV without falling asleep. I had also forgotten how. Many. Adverts. Are on television. On one channel, I swear I could get up, hobble to the bathroom for a wee, make a cup of lemon tea, take my paracetamol, nibble on some bread, hobble back to the couch, arrange my duvet and hot water bottle and the fecking ads would still be running! Sometimes I even forgot what I was watching and would go channel surfing then remember hours later…Wasn’t I meant to be watching something?
Watching epidemic when you’re ill
Given the above, I have no idea why I decided to watch Survivors on Netflix. There I was, fluctuating temperatures and struggling to breathe and I was watching a show that was about a mutated flu virus that wipes out 92% of the world’s population. And the symptoms? Yup, fluctuating temperatures and struggling to breathe before eventually…erm…expiring. Niiiice! It was a good show though and once I got over the fact that I wasn’t actually going to die from the flu I had, I began to enjoy it. It’s only two seasons of 6 episodes each so easy enough to watch.
Preferably not when you’re dying of said potential epidemic.
All in all, it was awful. I haven’t felt this bad since I had malaria about seventeen years ago. I really wouldn’t wish this on anyone and I know a lot of people were ill over this winter. Krys had it in November and Roz had it at the same time I did.
I tried every known alternative cure offered me and it just wouldn’t budge. in the end I just gave up and concentrated on rest, fluids and eating as much as I could stomach.
One thing I was grateful for was that by the 17th February, I was feeling a lot better.
Just in time for my birthday the next day.
And what a great day it turned out to be!