Cold shoulder, cold lungs, cold in general

My body, while certainly nowhere near a temple, would usually qualify as a medium-sized parish church. I try to keep it in reasonably good nick, don’t shovel too much crap into it, and fond as I am of booze, especially red wine and assorted ale, I rarely overdo it drinks wise. All told, I don’t get ill anywhere near as often as I used it.

When, however, my immune system lets me down, it really picks and chooses its moments.

I thought I’d been doing so well. First of all Boy Housemate 1 came down with some form of chesty cold three weeks ago. About 10 days later Girl Housemate also came down with it. I, stupidly, make the mistake of thinking I was safe, and kept one eye towards staying healthy in time for the office Christmas party on Tuesday 11 December.

Last Wednesday, my chest started tightening. No matter. Boy and Girl housemates had both seen theirs off in a couple of days. I duly took Friday off work, slept a bit and felt good.

Mistake One.

Saturday, I braved the hordes in Covent Garden to do my final bits of Christmas shopping before heading onto Borough Market. A long day was finished off with a visit to the Tate Modern and a pub, before I got home exhausted.

Mistake Two.

Sunday, the tight chest was back, this time with a fuzzy head. No matter, I thought. It’s just the dregs of the cold. I’ll be fine by Tuesday. And duly went to the gym as my knee was no longer hurting to buggery.

Mistake Three.

Monday morning.

“Hhhrrrrnnnnnnggaaaaaahhhttisssschhhooo,” went my phlegm-filled sinuses as I woke up.

“Whhhheeeeeezzzzzeeeee,” went my lungs.

“A-thunka-thunka-thunka-thunka-thunk,” went the small men with pickaxes lined around my skull.

“Gah,” went I as I woke up.

No matter, I thought. It’s clearly just the dregs coming back. I’ll be fine, and duly headed into work.

Mistake Five.

I left work on the dot, endured a tube journey from hell, and rolled straight into bed, where I’ve remained for the past 24 hours.

“Hhhhhhrrrrrrnnnngaaaaaahhhhtttttiiisssscccccchhhhoooooo,” my phlegm-filled sinuses have continued to go.

“Wheeeeeeeezzzzzzzeeeeeee,” my lungs have croaked.

“A-thunka-thunka-thunka-thunka-thunka-thunka-THUNK,” the small men with pickaxes around my skull have continued to excavate, as if their lives depended on it.

“Bollocks,” said I in the realisation that, with a head that can barely focuses, and a completely empty stomach, going to the office Christmas party is not only a bad idea, it is almost impossible unless I want to countenance collapsed in a gooey heap before I even reach the tube station.

This is not uncommon behaviour for my body. Often, it will view the most inconvenient date, work out what it can get infected with, and sit back and laugh and I writhe around in some form of personal hell.

Two years ago it popped out and picked up an incredibly nasty virus complete with blinding headaches of doom, that meant even reading a newspaper was a mission. Foolishly, I thought it was getting better and I confidently strolled into the Christmas buffet. All was going well until I had my first drink. At that point, the drink and the virus disagreed nastily and I could see nothing bar flashing lights. One taxi, and mutters of lightweight later, I was home cursing my body.

18 months earlier, I’d been doing some freelance work in the run up to my birthday. With the possibility of more work following, and a table booked at a rather nice restaurant, things were going well.

Then came the dodgy sandwich.

“Hrrrnnngggggaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” I cried as I took up residence in the bathroom for two days.

“Bollocks,” I cried, as I realised my pay cheque would be greatly reduced and the extra freelance work was going elsewhere.

“Meh,” I said at my birthday dinner a couple of days later, where I took it very easy on both food and alcohol, and kept the immodium close by.

I won’t even go into the Killer Flu ten years ago that struck the day the Fit Girl at my menial Saturday job said yes to going on a date with me. This virus wiped me out completely for10 days, plus another two to get back to shape. Reasonably enough, Fit Girl decided she couldn’t be arsed with a boy with such a rubbish immune system, and I was duly given the old heave-ho. I’ve still not forgiven my immune system for that one.

I have the office Christmas lunch next week. Should my body be anything other than polite and well-behaved in the run up, I shall be having stern words indeed. Probably words along the lines of: “Hhhhrrrrrnnnnggggaaaaaaahhhhhhh.”


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December 2007
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Yes, this is my name. And my email. Use it wisely or you're not getting a biscuit with your tea: garyllewellynandrews [at] gmail [dot] com

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