Sunday, 21 January 2018

From the Arena of the Unwell...

I've not been this ill in years. On Thursday, I retired to bed at 5pm with a 38.8C fever and woke up over 15 hours later still feeling shit. Planned trip to London cancelled). Friday's maximum fever was 39.1C. Spent all day in bed yesterday and today - with fever abating just slightly (to 38.3C). But at last I feel well enough to sit up and write.

This is clearly flu and not a heavy cold (I had a cold in mid-December, brought on by my march from a snow-bound Luton Airport Parkway Station to the useless Luton Airport; the cold passed well before Christmas). But this is as bad as I can recall from childhood; aching muscles, phlegm-filled lungs, unrelenting fever.

Maybe it was Monday - can't recall exactly when or where, but I remember the scene. I was on a bus and some guy was coughing his guts out. He covered his mouth as he did so, but as the bus lurched forward he grabbed a handrail before sitting down; then a moment later I held on the same handrail before taking a seat one row back from him. I rubbed my right eye. AAAARRGH! At this precise moment I realised what I'd done... [LESSON - get in the habit of avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your fingers, wash hands frequently, wear gloves]. Sure enough, symptoms developed in due course...

Should I have taken a flu jab in the autumn? My father (94) does and somehow escapes the worse of the virus, but hearing from several people who came down with flu after the jab cast doubts on the efficacy of this course of action. I feel I'm once again in that 'set the sliders' dilemma between, on the one hand, fighting the onset of old age, and on the other, gracefully accepting it (along with cheap train tickets) and taking the inoculation in future. My blasé attitude this season proved to be the wrong course of action.

Being in bed all day with zero energy and zero appetite is a challenge above all for the mind. Sleep is broken, interrupted by periods of heavy sweating that cause me to have to turn duvet and pillow upside down. Incidentally, taking paracetamol to reduce fever is not a great idea - rather than fighting the fever, one should let the fever fight the virus, put up with the discomfort a bit...

While dozing I set my mind running. In the long, dark nights I go back to my grey jumper'd childhood in Hanwell, London W7, the 1960s, to see how much detail I can remember; how much I observed as a child, what I saw in my surroundings, starting with our family house, the neighbourhood, my primary school... One memory brought back another, most happy memories, one after the other, then another, some quite surprising, just brought back out, catalogued, that I could enjoy as I lay awake between one period of sleep and the next. [Indeed, looking back at this post suggests that I was rather unwell in January 1968 - exactly 50 years ago!]

Our deepest memories form the core of our personality. Those deepest, most intimate observations of the curious mind of a child trying to make sense of the world around him shape who we are. [More about this during Lent (14 February-31 March) here on this blog.]

Outside my bedroom window, it's snowy...



This time last year:
The magic of a dawn flight

This time two years ago:
Warsaw as a voivodship

This time five years ago:
Around town in the snow

This time six years ago:
Reference books are dead

This time seven years ago:
A winter walk to work, and wet socks

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope that someone is looking after you. Jx