I'm almost never ill. Well, I say that, but what I actually mean is that I am very rarely struck down by any of those vicious little bugs that sweep their way across the country every few months. Oh sure, from time to time I'll wake up with a slightly sore throat or perhaps a bit of a runny nose, but they never seem to last all that long and in the main I seem to get away with it. A touch smugly, I like to put this down to a happy combination of the vast quantities of fruit and vegetables that I eat every day and all of the exercise that I get. I fondly imagine that this lifestyle gives me some kind of immunity to the types of passing nasty that lesser immune systems are unable to fend of.
Well, maybe there's some truth in that, but I'm certainly not feeling the usual sense of smug self-satisfaction this year. There's a cold going round, you see, but this time I've caught it. Worse still - not only have I finally succombed, but it has knocked me for six. Other people seem to have had this cold and recovered in a couple of days, but I've had it now for something like ten days and at the moment it's showing little sign of shifting any time soon.
I'm not a great believer in the phenomenon of "Man Flu", where the version of a cold suffered by the male of the species seems to be so much more severe than the one suffered by the females. Oh no, this is definitely only a cold, and I know full well that a cold is nothing much to grumble about in the grand scheme of things. After all, I don't really feel all that dreadful and I have been dragging myself into work as usual every day and being just as (un)productive as I always am.
It grinds you down though, doesn't it? All those slightly wishy-washy symptoms are nothing much on their own, but together they gang up with each other and make it their business to make you feel decidedly iffy. Not ill. Ill is serious. Just iffy.
First it's the slightly sore throat. Then the blocked nose that becomes a neverending river of mucous. Then it descends into the lungs, becoming a nasty, rattly cough that somehow never quite rattles anything loose. Then the voice goes hoarse. Then the nose goes all red and sore because those balsam soaked tissues are surprisingly coarse. The congestion makes sleep difficult, and napping whilst propped up on several pillows is no real subsitute for proper rest. Breathing through the mouth irritates the throat and sleep is further chased away by incessant coughing and blowing. All that stupid, ineffective cough linctus and those all those lozenges fur the tongue and loosen the gums. Prolonged coughing sooner or later ruptures something important on the inside that makes coughing even more of a trial than it was before. The Doctor says there's no infection, that all those remedies are of no real use and that it will work its way out in its own time.... but when? when?
Still, mustn't grumble, eh? It's only a cold and far Worse things happen at sea.
Patience and fortitude, that's what's required. Patience and fortitude.
Actually, patience and fortitude haven't really worked for me thus far, and although it's still only a cold, I fear I may be in danger of losing my sense of perspective. So tonight, instead of patience and fortitude (and a certain amount of grumpiness), I think I might try alcohol instead and I'm off to the pub.
Can't hurt, eh?