You can manufacture incredible release when you are really ill, I know I’ve done it. In fact I did it every forty minutes or so for seventy two hours just by turning my head. Do you want to know how? Well, you know when you are really bunged up and the pain radiates from ear to ear and you can hardly breathe? Lie on one side until you don’t think you can stand it any more then flip over. As the never ending gunk that’s inside your sinuses slides from one side to another and before it settles there is the most amazing few seconds of relief. Absolute bliss for those few seconds before you have to start the whole cycle again.
Then of course there’s the coughing. You try to stifle it because sometimes it fades away without becoming a true cough. A true cough is one that makes you rise out of you slumber like a reanimated corpse for that is what I have been feeling like for the past five days – actually it’s what I have been looking like. It’s no wonder my children have abandoned me and no one wants to visit. Or it might be because I growled at them to all "Pugger Orf and leave me alone!" when they asked for the umpteenth time if I needed anything just, and I mean just, as I finally started to doze off into some proper sleep.
The solicitations of one’s family are hard to bear at times, especially when you are not in your own home. I have been in Yorkshire in my childhood home and the things I delight in and think of with great fondness when I am well and only staying a night or two, start to tarnish rather fast as my illness wears away my humour. The heating comes on and off rather than being on at an ambient temperature so the feeling of being very cold then suddenly coming over in a hot flush could actually have very little to do with the fluctuations in my body temperature and more to the erratic behaviour of the boiler in the outside shed.
Then there is the fact that just when you need a really hot bath, there is no hot water or worse it never quite gets hot enough to do the job properly and you know that when your Mum asks if you had a lovely one (bath that is) you have to say yes because you know that she has sacrificed her bath just so that you can have one so it would be churlish to say how awful it is. Mostly I would dip my foot in and pretend to be having a bath while secretly wrapping myself in a big warm towel while half sitting in the airing cupboard until such a time as I though would satisfy her; but that’s not so easy to accomplish when she says she’ll come into the bathroom and sit with you. I had to lie in a bath full of just above tepid water, and say how lovely and relaxing it was while she sat and chatted! It wasn’t until she commented on how blue I looked round the lips that it was deemed I had better get wrapped up and sent to bed.
Despite that, being at home rather than in my own house and being looked after, is rather special and not something that happens very often. There were no worries about what will there be to eat? Nor worries about where it will come from or who will make it. No worries about how will the boys be entertained or kept quiet or even who will let the dogs out all this was done by someone else. I could indulge myself by being really really ill. And I was.
Picture: Flaming June by Frederick Lord Leighton 1895 it can be found in the Ponce Museum of Art in Puerto Rico