I don’t get ill very often. Indeed, compared to many families we know, our children seem quite robust as well. We don’t seem plagued by constantly streaming noses or sore throats, and haven’t succumbed like a row of toppling dominos to the multifarious viruses that seem to thrive in classrooms.
Last week both proved an exception to this rule, but (thankfully) also demonstrated again our collective resilience.
I spent most of the-Sunday-before-last wrapped up under layers of clothes, coats, scarves and a hat, shivering. Even staggering doses of paracetamol and ibuprofen seemed barely to take the edge off how bad I felt. My stomach felt less-than-normal, so I didn’t eat a great deal either. By Monday evening the shivering had subsided (not the all-over aches and pounding head), but a nasty stomach bug had reared its head.
This all got quite unpleasant quite quickly, and I’ll spare you the details. Suffice it to say that I didn’t eat anything between Monday evening and Wednesday lunchtime, and even after that and several doses of Imodium it was clear things were still Not Quite Right. The ‘episodes’ themselves weren’t too horrible, but it was the in-between-times that got to me.
Now I realise this is hardly the material for rapier-like insights into the human condition. I was lucky to be ill in my own home, with effective medicines easily available, with comfort and support. I was lucky it was just a bug that appears to have pretty much run its course in only a few days. But it was all new for me and it wasn’t a whole load of fun.
Being ill and not eating is not a nice way to spend any time: in fact, it’s debilitating. I don’t experience it very often, so last week was an unwelcome novelty; the first time in almost 20 years of employment that I’ve had three consecutive days off sick. This bug had control over me, as I couldn’t venture very far from a bathroom, but I was also afraid to eat or for most of Tuesday even drink. Anyone who knows me or has read some of my more foodie blogs will understand that I think about food a lot. But last week, as soon as anything reached my stomach, fierce gurgling and cramping set in. My insides felt like they had been vacuumed out: instead of being pleasantly full they were now shrivelled husks.
On Wednesday the medicines were kicking in and the cramps subsiding a bit, but what should I eat? A cracker? Toast? Probably best to avoid dairy (although I’m not sure why?) or anything too fatty. Perhaps a krisproll? I remembered an article by Ben Goldacre claiming that a water/sugar/salt drink (combined with proper handwashing) would do more to combat infant mortality in many countries than most expensive drugs. Those two things could prevent the spread of diarrhoea and help victims to recover more effectively: it’s 1 litre of water, 8tsp sugar and 1tsp salt, if you’re interested…
I was able to indulge my cinephile habit as well… indeed, last week I managed to watch Coraline, Rope, The Innocents, Inside Man, (most of) Amélie (a Valentine’s Day treat since our plans for a lovely dinner were trashed), Kill List, Black Narcissus and Brick…
Lastly, my strenuous efforts of the last 14 months to get fit, eat healthy and lose weight have been well-documented here, and while I wouldn’t recommend this as Plan A, I lost 4lbs last week, and even now that everything seems back to normal, it’s stayed off. I’m now 26lbs lighter than I was at my heaviest, and slimmer and fitter than I can remember. Things that didn’t fit me for being too tight now don’t fit for being too big.
I’m not ill very often, but last week I was, properly and genuinely poorly. Which is why I can sign off with this…