The first of January is usually a day of starting resolutions with the gusto of Goliath: heading out on that 10k (even if you do come back home after 2k); abstaining from all foods which aren’t kale or beetroot; and putting your new Nutri-bullet juice extractor to good use. Despite all good intentions and insatiable willpower, sadly I spent next four days in bed - and this was not due to the NYE celebrations we had. Upon consulting Siri, I am told that I am not pregnant nor suffering from ebola; rather, I have flu. With symptoms of feverishness, chills, lack of appetite, fatigue, muscle soreness, back and stomach pain, headache, coughing and a sore throat, I can tell I’m in for a ride here - with the added bonus of beating New Year weight-loss resolutions in double time.
During the fourth evening spent suffering and after another teary-episode about facing another sleepless night, I attempt a ‘vicks bowl’. I’d seen the boyfriend do it once, and if it weren’t for my slightly disturbing fascination with gruesome bodily fluids, our relationship may have been seriously traumatised. It’s basically creating a mini steam room - where, thankfully, no one wants to join you. The Vicks bowl appears to be something of a minor success. Whilst I still feel exhausted, my nose is as dry as the tissue box empty and everything below my chest still feeling below par, I can actually take relatively full breaths, I’m not clearing my throat every ten seconds, and my head feels slightly less pressurised. If all these symptoms return within the next five minutes, a good Vicks steam has shown to be very beneficial to the facial pores and has put me one step towards feeling rather relaxed. Sadly the symptoms do return pretty pronto (throbbing eyes and forehead, aching ears and I think my heart is actually starting to slow down due to regular overdoses of cough syrup). I should really start measuring doses out with a teaspoon instead of drinking estimated gulps of it… in the darkness… whilst half asleep… when looking for ANY solution to end this. Please do not try this at home. I am by no means an advocate of guestimation, particularly when it comes to medication. Or cocktail making.
The night before I return to work and I’m contemplating adding an extra pair of ski socks - on top of the sports socks and ski socks I already have on my feet - and crawling into the oven, both for warmth purposed and as a way to end this misery. My head feels like a tightly filled balloon, waiting to burst any second and I have a huge lump in my throat - and not because I keep gulping alarming amounts of chesty cough mixture. When I do get to sleep, my body goes into hibernation and I end up sleeping for 12 hours at a time. I am mentally and physically exhausted from this illness which no amount of sleep will cure. I am lucky that by day four of this my muscles and joints have ceased aching every time I move, lift something, or expend marginal energy on a meagre activity like making the bed.
As a last ditch attempt to ensure a sound night’s sleep (who am I kidding) I slather Vicks VapoRub over my skin - including pointless places like my neck and spine in some vague hope it will penetrate and steam my insides - shove the nozzle of Olbas Oil up my nose like a crack addict, and bury myself under two winter duvet covers and a thick velvet throw, whilst wearing a giant fur-lined hoody.
I am not usually an ill person, and this sudden knock-down in my prime is not due to my over attentive-ness to hand washing, wet wipes and a steady supply of anti-bac gel. I like to think I have a strong immune system and I always achieve my 5-a-day (and unlike my BF, I know this does not include Terry’s chocolate orange). When the landlord brought his coughing 10-year-old round whilst inspecting our boiler, within minutes of him leaving all door handles and light switches were sanitised to within an inch of their life.
I blame London, and those infernal bus pillars and tube poles that the filthiest and most unhygienic commuters insist on wiping their noses over. Whilst I try and avoid such germ-havens, the regular jerk of the bus or race to get off may have me clinging onto these poles of death in a bid to stay upright.
Yesterday we ventured over to Westfield shopping centre (20 minutes from our house) where I proceeded to cough over a Clarins' sales advisor, struggle to eat half a tortilla, breath into my scarf like a deranged psychopath and generally act and sound like a dying pensioner. Is this what dying feels like? Pass me my skinny jeans - I need one last piece of satisfaction before this kills me, whether it’s by chewy vitamin, severe overheating, or my head erupting (finally) over our White Company bed sheets.
the crazy happenings in my life