I am writing this reclining upon my bed like Julius Caesar, though without the laurel leaves, the toga and the grape-offering handmaidens.
It’s also probable that Caesar didn’t have a laptop.
My tale of woe began on Wednesday. I had gone to bed on Tuesday night feeling fine, but woke up that mornin’, as we blues singers say, to greet the darkness (since the clock went forward last weekend I’m getting up in the dark again) with a long, thunderous cough. The dawn chorus was silenced as the sound rumbled across north County Wicklow, scattering birds before it like field-mice fleeing a combine-harvester.
In a post about smoking a couple of weeks ago I described a smoker’s cough as “almost coughing yourself inside-out”. I’m sorry I wasted that phrase now, there would have been no better description of what happened on Wednesday morning as I was constantly bent over double by the sheer force.
Then I noisily blew my nose, with a sound like a paper-shredder with a biro caught in it. I can’t begin to describe what came out. Well actually I can, I’m an excellent writer, but you are all my friends so I choose not to.
My loving family slept through it all.
I went bravely to work from Wednesday to Friday because I am a trooper (ie, I had no choice) but was in bed by eight o’clock yesterday evening.
It is now 23 hours later, and I am still in bed. I did get up today, from 12.45 to 3.45, before the sheer physical and mental exhaustion caused by three hours watching sport on the couch got the better of me and I fled back here.
I have a varied day planned for tomorrow, the varying being between lying in bed and sitting up in bed. I am hoping to bore the germs into submission.
The thing about it is, I never get sick. Now, I can hear you thinking that a man who has written extensively about his black-outs, his depression, his derealisation and his heart problems who thinks that he never gets sick is probably delirious from the fever (or just plain mental), but I know what I mean. I never get sick in the normal way. I don’t get coughs or sniffles. Flu viruses, cold viruses, even computer viruses (well, my pacemaker means I am part machine) all leave me unscathed. Bird-flu, swine-flu and warthog-flu have all come and gone leaving me cold, in the best possible meaning of that phrase.
We have all, of course, heard of man-flu, that illness so grave and pitiable that God has spared the fairer sex from ever having to suffer it. Having had real flu just once, in about 1978, I know that I’m not suffering even from that.
That’s the worst part of it. I don’t even have a sickness I can make fun of.