I’ve been sick recently. It sneaked up slowly, like a virus that warns you with aches and pains before finally hitting you with the real stuff. About a week ago I was completely bedridden for 4 days, and I’m still rundown from it. Now I’ve caught a cold as well, possibly because my immunity was low or more likely because my life sucks and these things always happen to me, and my husband was determined to give it to me so he did things like sleep in my bed and breathe in my house.
Mostly I bring it up because illness annoys me. I always feel personally offended by it. Sure, you can say “But Gen, everyone catches a cold in winter” and I will wholeheartedly agree that this is a universal phenomenon. But why the fuck does it happen to ME?? I’m not everyone! I don’t deserve this! I don’t want to drink plenty of fluid and take it easy – I want to do everything I normally do without feeling like I’m dying.
And that’s another thing: I’m always convinced that I am dying from it. My head aches. I can’t read or write without feeling worse. I don’t want to get up or clean or go to work or move at all. If it isn’t the illness that will take me, it’s the boredom of something so mundane happening to me – AGAIN! I was sick LAST year! Surely that was enough?
When I’m well, I’m all “I can’t even remember the last time I was sick” but when I’m sick I’m all, “My God – I’m sick all the time!!”
I think the worst illness I can remember started as a tiny cough. Like when Zoolander works in the mines for 20 minutes and gets “the Black Lung” “cough cough” But the damn cough didn’t go away. I made pathetic little sounds all morning at work and pitied myself for sounding so lame. Then I couldn’t eat my lunch because the stupid cough didn’t let up long enough for me to take a bite, so I cheerfully told my boss “I’m gonna go home and get some cough syrup. See you tomorrow!” and off I went.
By the time I was crossing the Pyrmont Bridge, the cough had moved into my chest. While on the train, the fever began and all my limbs turned to heavy, aching lead. By the time I dragged myself home from the train station, I was so weak I could barely walk.
The most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do in my life was pull the sheets back and climb into bed that day. It required the most monumental effort imaginable. I didn’t even have the energy to take off my shoes. Then I slipped into the fever dreams and stayed there for a week.
I guess this time isn’t as bad as that. I mean… It isn’t as severe. But it has knocked me down for weeks. So maybe duration is almost as bad as intensity? I don’t want to think about it. The question makes my brain hurt.
What I do want is for everyone to sympathise with me. Bring me flowers and boiled eggs and pat my head and tell me about your worst ever illness. And try not to judge my petty flu when yours is a story of near death and double pneumonia.