I do not cope well with acute illnesses. Chronic ones I can come to terms with, you can sort of get the measure of a thing and eventually you know where you stand with it. Acute ailments however, are another matter.
The flu in particular.
Now, it would appear that I have been labouring under the mistaken impression that lo these many, many years I have been someone who has had the flu. Achey, sniffly, feverish miserable old flu. I have now learned that whatever it was I have had, was not the flu. Or maybe it was, but it wasn’t This Flu.
Because the flu that I have recently recovered from was actually Death. Seriously.
And I also made the realisation that The Mom is sadly correct in saying that I haven’t the first clue as to how to take care of myself. Though, as you will see, I hope, I did try using logic. It just so happens that you can’t outwit and out-logic flu.
So, Saturday last. It was meant to be a Special Day because it was the 50th Anniversay episode of Dr Who. Now, I didn’t mention this to The Mom, when I was moaning down the phone to her about my Death, because she loathes that TV show and would probably figure out a way to blame it for having brought about my demise.
CatLady had kindly made us some dinner. I knew I was taking a bit of a chance, because CatLady makes very delicious, very high fibre food. But I am not one to turn down dinner when it’s not made by me. So, there we sat, in front of the TV.
I’d been feeling a bit funny earlier that day, but I put it down to having done too much and just being tired. I planned on going to bed shortly after Dr Who. The further the programme progressed, the worse I felt. I ate a few spoonfuls of dinner and felt full, but higher up, in a way that is unusual.
When the show ended, CatLady looked at me and asked if I was okay. I went upstairs to the bathroom, thinking it was just the Crohn’s. Becasue sometimes I feel faint and sweaty when I feel a bit Crohnsy. It happens.
I went to bed. And I had awful stomach cramps. Again, this is not so far out of the realm of ordinary for me to be anything but annoyed.
And then, sometime in the dark of night, it happened. I started to vomit. And I didn’t stop until sometime Sunday afternoon. I am not a vomitter. That’s L’il Sis’ department. I have Crohn’s. I do other things in the bathroom.
I knew to drink gingerale, and CatLady very kindly went out to fetch me some when she woke up (and frankly, I think she probably heard me throwing up all night so I don’t know if woke up is the precise term, but you know what I mean).
She stuck around most of the day, just in case, which was really very sweet. But the thing is, there are some specific moments in your life when what you really need is The Mom. You need someone to bring you a cold cloth, to refill your cup of water, to make chicken broth, to do things that are small and insignificant if you were well, but since you’re not they’re monumental. But they’re not really things you can reasonably ask your flatmate to do.
Sometime on Sunday evening, I managed to make it downstairs. I sat down and the cat did a double take. Now, the cat doesn’t normally acknowledge much, so when she does a double take you know something’s amiss. CatLady took one look at me and pointed to the stairs. Back to bed.
On my way upstairs, I passed through the kitchen. CatLady was encouraging. Toast, she instructed. Eat toast. I made a slice of toast. I had the taste for fruit. There was a lovely cherry and strawyberry smoothie in the fridge. I had a small glass. My theory is that if I have a taste for it, that’s good. This is how I work with the Crohn’s.
Back upstairs and desperate for sympathy, I texted my boyfriend. You got out of bed? You stay in bed, was his reply.
I drank the smoothie and went to bed. Only to be woken up later with the distinctly unpleasent need to vomit.
The next morning, I relayed the series of events to The Mom who just about jumped through the phone to wring my neck. A mere hour later, L’il Sis was writing angrily on my Facebook page about how foolish I was to have even attempted such a thing.
And therein lies the problem. I have not, since I was very little, had this kind of Evil Death Flu plus vomit. The Mom did not train me properly for this. I am good with diarrhea. If you have a bad bum (as I like to call it when I’m feeling jaunty), I can help. I know what to do. How to eat, what to eat, when to eat, what to take and what not to take.
But flu? Epic fail on my part.
But The Mom, being The Mom, did her best to nurse me back to health from across the pond. And by that I mean she listened to me moan and groan about how awful I felt, how bored I was, and how much my back hurt from being stuck in bed for days.
Then one afternoon, she perked up.
“I think you’re feeling better, dear.”
“You’re getting ranty again. You seem to be in a foul humour. It’s unnerving when you’re ill. You’re subdued. Supplicant. Submissive. You don’t complain.”
And so, with my black cloud firmly in place again, I sauntered back to work to inflict my newly revived ill-humour on my boss. Who, I’ll have you know, countered my return with the ominous words, “Oh, did I mention I had a bit of a relapse the other day?”