The stages of the ill
September 19, 2007
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No matter what particular strain of cold is going around, whether its origins are Islington or Italy, I always end up reacting in the same way.
1. That Burning Feeling
No, not cystitis. This time. A sore throat. Didn’t doctors whip everyone’s tonsils out when we were all four years old? Why do I still have mine? Anyway, they flame up as soon as I come within 800 metres of any stupid virus and anyone with shares in Strepsils can rest easy on their investment for a while.
1a. 24 Hour Flu
This one doesn’t always happen, hence the (a). Sometimes I get what I call ’24 hour flu’ – this is not, I hasten to add, anything like man flu. Man flu is your basic sniffle elevated to the status of the deathbed. I’ve been to seminars and out drinking with 24 hour flu. It’s the classic achy joints combined with a raging fever, that I tend not to notice even though I’m simultaneously shivering and stripping off layers of clothing in the middle of winter. This is because I’m a moron.
2. The Runny Nose
Where does snot come from? Is there a snot factory hidden behind the forehead that springs into action during a cold? How is it possible to clear one’s nose with the assistance of four Kleenex Balsam tissues only to need to blow it again five minutes later? Incidentally, is there any elegant or dignified way known to humanity of blowing one’s nose on public transport? No? OK.
3. The Consumptive Phase
By this stage, I’m fine. Really. I feel absolutely fine. But the cold’s moved down to my chest and I’m rasping out coughs that could rival a Victorian workhouse inmate. My voice is a little hoarse. I no longer need the sympathy, but everyone within earshot will be making concerned faces and asking if I’m alright. (Really, I’m fine.) This stage will last about two fucking weeks and trips to the cinema or theatre (both of which I will, inevitably, do during this phase) will be agonising in the attempts to stifle the coughing.
I’m currently in stage 3. I have a virtual sign around my neck that reads "diseased". I’m keeping my neighbours awake at night. But hey, at least I get space on public transport.