Blogged Nose And Sore Throat

Towards the end of last week, I got poorly sick, and been feeling unwell ever since.

Not properly sick, like when you can’t stop vomiting and shitting yourself, but I developed a bit of a cough, which turned into a bit of a cold, and then, combining the two, a really sore throat.

Admittedly, I was hardly at death’s door (which I have always found a strange phrase, because if you knew where Death lived, you’d never fucking go there would you? Even the Jehovah’s would dodge that particular address), but in some ways that can be more annoying, because you don’t tend to get as much sympathy when you only have ‘a bit of a cough’. If anything, people find you even more irritating than usual (in my experience, anyway).

At least when you are regularly puking your guts up, that is an obvious ailment, which no one can deny you, and people have to accept that you truly are unwell. However, when you try to explain to your family and friends that you have a ‘nasty cough’, the very worst thing you can do is then immediately demonstrate this by coughing because, far from prove your point, it has the opposite affect and seems so forced and unconvincing. It’s like when you call in sick at work, and adopt your very best ‘I’m really not well’ voice for your boss, in case he or she doesn’t feel inclined to believe you.

Anyway, I was unwell, and feeling sorry for myself, without being properly sick.

In truth, I haven’t been physically sick in years, and I think the last time might have been after a heavy night in Altrincham around 2004. I had been to a few bars after work, slightly overdone the drinking (by ‘slightly’, I couldn’t walk), and when my dear Mother picked me up around 1am, we only made it a mile or so down the road before I had to ask her to pull over so that I could vomit onto a grass verge.

To make matters worse, we were travelling through Hale Barns at the time, and I remember a number of posh people tutting at my behaviour as they passed. Quite what posh people were doing walking the streets at 1am (when I’m almost certain there were no fox hunts or polo matches arranged for that time of the morning) is a mystery, but they clearly didn’t take too kindly to me telling them to ‘fuck off’.

If you don’t know Hale Barns, it’s essentially where the people of Monte Carlo would live, if only they weren’t so bloody obsessed with yachts (Hale is almost exclusively yacht-less, on account of the fact it is miles away from any sizeable water).

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Typical dwelling in Hale Barns

Anyway, I’ve strayed off topic. Let’s get back to my illness.

What began as a niggling cough, then developed into an uncontrollable hacking, and this ultimately led to my sore throat. It wasn’t even a deep, manly cough, either, and was more of a pathetic yapping, like a small terrier trapped at the bottom of a deep well. In fact, I think the only person who found this relentless spluttering more irritating than me, was my wife, who threatened on more than one occasion to smother me with a pillow while I slept.

Last Thursday morning, having woken myself at 3am by coughing so much I had tears streaming down my face, I decided to sleep on the sofa to avoid waking the family. Of course, the chances of sleeping on a sofa roughly two-thirds the length of my body, were limited at best (I perhaps should have let my legs hang over the end, rather than my head), so instead I spent a couple of hours feeling sorry for myself.

In an attempt to stem the coughing fit which had so rudely woken me, I downed approximately half a bottle of Benylin (don’t try this at home, kids), as well as a large glass of diet coke – because my mother is always saying fizzy drinks help sore throats, and I was desperate for some relief. However, this only had the effect of making me feel nauseous, extremely gassy, and essentially stoned off my tits. Blackcurrant syrup and diet coke, do not good bedfellows make (which, in hindsight, should have been bloody obvious beforehand).

I have never taken drugs in my life, and never will, but it seems that a precise mixture of sleep-deprivation, blackcurrant Benylin, cold diet coke, and overwhelming self-pity, is exactly what I require to start hallucinating. Good to know, should I ever feel the unlikely urge to attend Creamfields.

When I did eventually go to sleep, I suffered an array of short, bizarre dreams, that were both terrifyingly disturbing, and utterly boring at the same time (a little like this blog, then).

I cannot recall them all, but to give you some examples:

  1. I gave my sister a lift to Bramhall, so she could go to the bank to pay a cheque in, while I popped over the road to Greggs;
  2. I got a job working for the Government in a top-secret department, where my sole responsibility was inflating balloons;
  3. I organised a trip to Alton Towers for Ollie and his classmates, but Ollie went missing and, in my panic to locate him, I had completely forgotten that I was giving him a piggy-back at the time.

I’m pretty sure I can explain the second two, as Ollie’s 7th birthday party was last Sunday, and I am currently organising a trip to Alton Towers at work, but quite what the first dream was all about, is beyond me. I do love a Greggs though.

By the time I awoke, scared and confused, on Friday morning, I was totally exhausted, and failed to achieve a great deal in work that day.

I managed to play my weekly hour of badminton in the evening (badly, although I couldn’t blame my performance on the illness, as I am always shit at badminton), but I swerved the now customary post-match drink, in favour of going home to bed. See, I really was poorly.

Despite being exhausted, and falling asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was once more woken by a coughing fit in the early hours of Saturday morning. Tears streaming, I again banished myself downstairs to the sofa and, to avoid another night of hallucinogenic trance, this time I opted for a cocktail of cough medicine alone.

Having sat there for a while, slightly comforted by the fact I at least didn’t have work the following day, nor did I have any major plans, I realised that I was in need of the toilet (I’m a big boy now, and my body tells me when I require urinary relief).

Rather than head upstairs to our bathroom, and risk waking the family again, I went to our downstairs toilet, and in light of what happened next, I am very relieved (excuse the pun) that I did.

Basically, as I stood there (there aren’t many occasions nowadays when I don’t opt for a relaxing sit-down wee, but on this occasion I remained fully erect – so to speak), and began evacuation of my bladder, my body chose that precise moment to commence ‘Operation Surprise Involuntary Coughing Spasm’.

Very much in the same way a novice firefighter may struggle to control a wayward hose (keep that mental image, ladies), I suddenly lost all control of my body as the coughing fit dominated my every move and, while I’m not proud to admit this…. I pissed all over my bare feet. I perhaps shouldn’t share this latest embarrassment in my life (of which there are many) publicly, but I feel like we’re more than just good friends now, and you won’t tell anyone, will you?

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, more depressing than having to wash your feet in the shower at 4 o’clock in the morning, because you accidentally pissed on them while coughing. I was so upset, I seem to recall emitting a deep, pitiful wail, like a wolf who has got his foot caught in a trap, after his wife has just left him.

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NB: Departing wife just out of shot

Thankfully, as I alluded to earlier, this happened in our downstairs toilet, which has easily-cleanable laminate flooring (as opposed to the carpeted bathrooms upstairs), but I still hadn’t planned on mopping the floor in the early hours of the morning, when I had retired to bed the night before.

And, while we’re on the subject of silver linings to the many clouds of my life, if I am ever unfortunate enough to be stung on the foot by a jellyfish, at least I now know that I have what it takes to piss on myself.

Plus, if a semi-naked man, mopping the floor and washing his feet at 4am (thanks to a self-induced urinary foot spa), doesn’t depress you, the sight of me trying to eat Weetabix the following morning surely would. Weetabix, as you most likely know, is extremely soft – once suitably soaked in milk (hot, in case you were wondering) – but even that hurt like hell to swallow, which resulted in more pitiful howling on my part.

Even my morning shave became virtually impossible, as my throat was so sore, the outside of my neck became too sensitive to touch as well. In the end, I gave up, and only shaved my face, with the result that my neck closely-resembled the back of a fat Cypriot.

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On that final note, take a look at the pictures I have included in this week’s entry, and spare a thought for what my Google image search history looks like (and just be grateful that my search for ‘man pissing on his own feet while crying’ yielded no results).

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Sick As A Blog

This week’s entry was intended to be a countdown of my favourite albums from the 1990s, following on from the ‘80s list I revealed a couple of weeks ago, but I have been ill since Sunday evening and, as I write this on Thursday, I am still unable to concentrate on anything more taxing than getting out of bed in the morning.

It isn’t very often that I get ill, and it is even more unusual that I am so ill I cannot go into work, so my absence from the office on Monday was something of a rarity.  In fact, it is approaching three years since I last took a day off through illness, as the last one was my birthday in February 2013. I know this, partly because you don’t tend to forget being ill on your birthday, but mostly because I managed to reverse my less-than-a-week-old Ford Kuga into a bollard, whilst trying to take some work I had managed to do at home into the office.

Anyway, the points is, I don’t take time off work lightly, however much I would often like to. I grade my illnesses in a similar way to how meteorologists rate hurricanes, and unless it’s a Category 7 sickness, I’m still going to work:

1 – Feeling a bit blue

2 – Bit of a sniff

3 – Bit of a sniff and a headache

4 – Queasy and lethargic

5 – Full cold

6 – Full cold and loss of appetite

7 – Aching, shivering/sweating, stomach ache, and not able to face having a brew

8 – Sickness and/or diarrhoea

9 – Unstoppable sickness and diarrhoea, black outs etc.

10 – Darling, tell the kids I love them…

As it happens, this was a classic Category 7 at the start of the week, so I reluctantly made that call on Monday morning (the one where, even though you genuinely feel like shit, you still try to make your voice sound worse, just so your boss knows how poorly you are). For the remainder of the day, I managed very little to eat or drink, and achieved nothing beyond watching Storage Hunters and a few Top Gear repeats under the protection of my favourite Star Wars blankie.

I was back in work on Tuesday, but perhaps returned a day too soon, as I felt terrible again by lunch time (when I ate nothing), and even worse by the time I left work. To compound my misery, my neck had also seized up during the afternoon, and this made driving home rather uncomfortable, not to mention dangerous, since I could not look right. In the end, I had no choice other than to negotiate roundabouts and junctions using only ‘the force’. It was ok though, as I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home.

Wednesday (yesterday as I write this) was a little better, but I had to leave the office a few times to get some fresh air as I felt run down, queasy, and light-headed. I did, however, manage to eat a proper evening meal when I got home, and wasn’t immediately faced with stomach cramps as I had been the day before. I was on the road to recovery, and I downgraded the illness to a Category 4.

Then, just as all seemed to be going well, Thursday morning happened.

It started well enough I suppose, in that I managed to make it out of bed without immediately adopting the foetal position, walk the dog without incident (albeit a little slower than normal), and help my wife get Isaac changed and ready for nursery.

Our usual morning routine is that my wife takes Isaac to nursery on her way to work, and then I do the school run with Ollie before heading to the office. So far, things were going according to plan.

So, at 7.40am, my wife closed the door behind her, leaving Ollie and I almost exactly one hour before we needed to leave the house ourselves – plenty of time.

What follows, is genuinely an account of the next hour of my life….

07:40 (60 minutes remaining)

I really didn’t want breakfast, as the thought of food was still making my stomach churn, but I knew I should try to eat something, so I forced down a small bowl of cereal while Ollie went back to his room to use the toilet.

07:45 (55 minutes remaining)

Despite his scrawny ‘Dobby The House Elf’ stature, Ollie can shovel a colossal amount of breakfast cereal into his vacuous gob at lightning speed, and will immediately start demanding a second helping before the last mouthful is swallowed. I therefore piled his bowl to the very top, in the hope that this would buy me enough time to have a shower before he would go searching for a refill.

07:50 (50 minutes remaining)

Having slowly encouraged my still weak and aching legs to transport me as far as the shower, (pausing briefly to consider the logistics of installing a stair lift in the house), I tried to get the water as hot as I could stand it, to ease the pain in my head and neck. This worked very well for a few minutes until, without warning, the shower head collapsed from the bracket and struck me on the back of my head.

08:00 (40 minutes remaining)

Having finished my shower, I had just started shaving when I heard Ollie crying from the lounge. Hurrying to him in just a towel, it transpired that he had begun watching a Harry Potter film on the portable DVD player, and in trying to skip back a scene he had accidentally gone to the main menu. He reacted to this like someone had punched him squarely in the face which, ironically, was very nearly what happened next.

08:05 (35 minutes remaining)

Time to get dressed. For the sake of everyone reading this I won’t go into detail, but I was in the process of putting on boxers, when I realised there was a gap in our bedroom curtains. Now, although we are three floors up, so any passers-by in the street wouldn’t be able to see me, I was suddenly very conscious of the neighbours opposite catching a glimpse of my naked glory.

Of course, I should have just hurried up, but in my illness-fuddled mind, I decided the best solution would be to turn around (since it is infinitely less embarrassing for your neighbours to see you naked from the back than the front – even though I prefer to avoid both eventualities if at all possible).

What I hadn’t counted on, was how difficult it is to turn around in a narrow space when your underwear is at shin level. Inevitably (I now realise this all too late), I immediately began to stumble, and what followed was a kind of solo sack-race across the bedroom as I tried to catch my balance.

I came to an abrupt halt when I arrived at, struck, and fell into Isaac’s travel cot on the other side of the room, ending up with my face in his pillow and my bare arse in the air.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, so I tried a little of both.

08:10 (30 minutes remaining)

Having removed myself from the travel cot, I rectified the boxers-malfunction and added socks and trousers to the items of clothing I was now successfully wearing. Look at me, getting myself dressed like a big boy. All I needed to do now was put my shirt and tie on, and I would be good to go.

Except I couldn’t find where my wife had left my shirt.

You see, my wife does all the ironing, but this is nothing to do with laziness or misogyny on my part, and is purely down to the simple fact that I am terrible at it. My mum tried to teach me to iron before I went to University, and my wife has been trying ever since, but both will tell you I have some kind of mental block that will see me ironing for hours without making the slightest bit of progress. They have since given up trying.

So, I dashed to the lounge to see whether she had left my shirt there the night before. But it wasn’t there either, and I realised that she had forgotten to do one for me. Shit.

I could in no way blame her for this, as it’s my fault I can’t iron, and she gets so little sleep anyway that it really wasn’t her fault, but this didn’t stop blind panic setting in. I even contemplated going into work in ‘civilian’ clothing and trying to blag an excuse.

No, there was nothing else for it. I would have to iron.

08:15 (25 minutes remaining)

Why do they make irons so damn complicated? It took me ages to get the stupid contraption to even turn on, and then I sat there for ages without it getting even remotely warm, let alone hot. It would have been quicker to drive to a shop and buy a brand new shirt.

08:20 (20 minutes remaining)

Still ironing, I went through a mental checklist of things I needed to do before Ollie could go to school. I had already written the reading he had done the night before in his school planner, his uniform was ready once he had finished eating (we have learned not to get him dressed until he is at least 5 metres from the nearest food or drink), and I reminded myself to go and get him a (healthy) snack from the kitchen for playtime.

08:25 (15 minutes remaining)

No shirt should have taken this long, but I decided it would have to do. I would simply have to sit against the radiator in my office for a bit when I got in, to try and smooth it out at the back. Either that, or keep my suit jacket on all day.

I started shouting at Ollie to get dressed.

08:30 (10 minutes remaining)

Five minutes later, Ollie had achieved a state of undress rather similar to my travel cot experience, in that he had only succeeded in dropping his pyjama onesie to his ankles. Noticing the time and starting to get anxious, I demanded he turn the DVD off, and focus instead on getting dressed.

08:35 (5 minutes remaining)

I returned from the kitchen, having sorted the breakfast dishes and Ollie’s break time snack, to find that he now had underwear, socks and trousers on. I put on his polo shirt and jumper, tucked everything in as best I could, and sent him downstairs to start getting his coat and shoes on.

08:36 (4 minutes remaining)

In my rush to follow Ollie downstairs, I stood on a plug. More crying.

08:37 (3 minutes remaining)

I realised I needed to feed the dog, which meant opening a new bag of dog food, but I couldn’t find any scissors. I frantically searched for some, acutely aware that Ollie had made no progress with either the coat or his shoes.

08:38 (2 minutes remaining)

Bag opened, and dog bowl filled, I remembered that we feed the dog in the evening, not the morning, the same as we have done for the last ELEVEN SODDING YEARS.

I forced shoes onto Ollie’s feet, then onto the correct feet, before pushing him towards the downstairs bathroom to brush his teeth.

08:39 (1 minute remaining)

Following the quickest teeth brushing in history (don’t tell our dentist), Ollie decided he would inexplicably stand there open mouthed, resulting in frothy toothpaste falling out of his gob onto the front of his last remaining school jumper.

08:40

We fell out of the house, both looking (and in my case feeling) like we had been involved in a bar fight.

I upgraded back to Category 6.

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