Friday, June 27, 2008

Mucus Pocus

I was wrong about the To Do list. I left my desk on Wednesday evening covered in tiny post-it notes about the most urgent things for Thursday, and I haven't been back to it since. I have barely been downstairs since. It turns out you can avoid all sorts of things when your brain stops working.

I don't believe in going to the doctor for a cold, or even flu. I was brought up by a nurse to take a couple of aspirin, sweat things out and see them through. Very grateful I am too: I know people whose childhoods were antibiotic-and Vicks-nasal spray heavy, and my immune system sees theirs off every time. The exception is my tonsils, which flare at the first hint of trouble, but I see them as a sort of early-warning system.

However I can only remember one cold as bad as this in my entire life. I was at university and supposed to be writing an essay about Thatcherism (which we were still enduring at the time). The words ran off the page. Instead I spent days wrapped in my big towelling dressing gown drinking hot chocolate and Cup A Soup in front of the electric bar heater, looking at people as if down a long tunnel and wondering if my ears would ever unblock.

Colds like this, you begin to wonder if actually you *are* at death's door and should be doing something more about it than lying in charity shop pyjamas turning your head from side to side occasionally to hear the gunk unstick itself from one side of your skull and stick it to the other.

So this morning I rang my mother about my phlegm, which has now changed colour.

She asked me a few questions and then said 'that's not phlegm dear, that's mucus'.

I resisted the temptation to say 'whatever', and she asked me a few more questions. Yes, I had swollen tonsils, but they've gone down now. No, I don't really have a cough. Yes, I have sinus pressure, but no, it doesn't really hurt. Yes, I have had a bit of a temperature, but nothing feverish. Yes, my nose is really really sore. Brown, mostly.

No, she said, you don't need to burden the NHS. The colour is blood, because I have been blowing too hard. I should take some antihistamine to reduce the inflammation, and I should stick some Vaseline up my nose to, well, you're an adult, you know what Vaseline does. And then I should get back to drinking plenty of fluids and staring at the ceiling.

That's what I thought. It's good to know I have internalised *some* useful healthcare advice over the years.

I have asked M to pick up supplies of Ribena, Vaseline and OK magazine. The only person I feel more sorry for than myself is Kerry Katona, so I could do with the wider perspective.



Blogger Jeremy Dennis said...

Oh well, um. I was going to invite you guys round on Sunday if you were free and up for it as a sort of reciprocal pond visitation, but it sounds like you're spending the weekend in bed instead. Well, if you're feeling better ...

3:06 pm  

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