My wife is suffering from a severe case of Man Flu.
As any man will tell you, this is a dangerous condition which can wreak havoc on the life of even the toughest of people. It is a little understood illness, although sufferers are often to be found bravely soldiering on, putting a brave face onto their pain.
OK. I'll admit that it's a little unusual for a woman to have this illness, but after some thought, it's the unavoidable conclusion.
Symptoms first came on in a mild form early on Monday, but it was on Tuesday that it really started to take hold. I woke up to discover that C. had suffered an appalling night's sleep, had an unidentified pain in her neck and a very sore throat.
"I think I need to go to the doctor"
"Would you mention it to my dad?" This is the acid test. My dad is a doctor with a lifetime of experience, but he has something of a gruff bedside manner - with his family at least - and you know you're ill if you're prepared to risk a consultation.
"No. But I think I'll make an appointment to see my doctor."
"What do you think they will do?" I'll admit it: I don't have the best bedside manner either, and my immediate reaction when someone tells me that they have a headache/sore throat/whatever, is to ask if they've taken anything for it, and if they haven't, I'll dismiss them and tell them to come back when they have. Hmm. Maybe I do take after my dad after all. Perhaps this is borne of the fact that I don't get ill myself very often (apparently something I have MS to thank for), and when I do get ill, I have to be almost dead before I will miss a day at work. I can't help myself, but my immediate reaction to illness is not generally one of sympathy. Charming, right? After many years of living with my dad and my own experiences of taking a cold to the doctors, I think I know better than to expect a welcoming reaction and a prescription for something to take the pain away.... better to just dose up on decongestant, Nurofen Cold and Flu and just get on with it. Maybe I'm 'lucky' that I never seem to get really bad colds or flu, so I just don't relate to how awful it can make you feel.
Anyway, C. had an answer for me:
"What do I expect? I expect that he'll be able to tell me if this is viral or bacterial, and if it's bacterial, he can write me a prescription for some antibiotics"
Well, there's no arguing with that logic.
Definitely Man Flu, especially when she cycled to work on Wednesday morning and showed an interest in attending a salsa class on Wednesday night.
To be fair to my wife though, she didn't go to salsa that night and had an early night instead. She seemed better this morning, but I received a phone call this afternoon from someone -- I think it was my wife -- who had lost their voice:
"hello. it's me"
"Are you alright?"
"I've lost my voice"
"When did that happen?"
"A couple of hours ago"
"Oh. Are you okay?"
"Yes. I'm going to get a taxi home"
"Okay, see you after football"
She's spent the afternoon cuddled up with the cat, and although she's still lost her voice, she's showing an interest in the chipotle smoked sausages that I'm cooking for my tea, so all is not lost.
Poor lamb. Definitely Man Flu: every sufferer of Man Flu expects a medal for going to work, and C. is such a trooper that she's today been offered a promotion for soldiering on so bravely... or I think that's what she said it was for... she's pretty hard to make out with no voice.
I know what you're thinking, and you're right. She's lucky to have me, she really is.