August 30, 2012 by benmblackman
After the lovely long bank holiday weekend just gone I felt great returning to work on Tuesday morning but at 2.30pm disaster struck. I began to develop what can only be described as a sore throat. Coffee and water didn’t shift it. I battled on through the working day.
I walked the grueling 10 minute walk to the train station and tried to keep my, by now, severe infection under control. Somebody less brave than I could easily have spread this – epidemics have started from less – but selflessly, I stood by the door on my own, careful not to make eye contact with anyone, let alone physical or verbal.
The train doors opened and at last I was back out in to fresh air, my savior, but not for long. I still had the tightrope to walk of picking up my daughter from nursery. For a man in my weak position, already ridden with one of the strongest superbugs known to mankind going in to the nursery was obviously a risk. Not for them – those little tykes harbor more bugs than a new Microsoft Windows Operating System – for me from them.
I made it in and out alive, just, so only had the 10 minute walk home to contend with before I could reach the sanctuary of my sofa. It’s usually only a 5 minute walk but by this stage my bones were weary, my muscles aching.
I stumbled in to the house, helped by my 3.5 year old Carer who asked in sympathy, ‘Daddy, shall I get us some biscuits?’ The dastardly kid was preying on a weak man and I couldn’t hold out for long. Resilience was low and it was only a matter of time before we hit the Party Rings and Chocolate Malted Milks. It’s what the doctor would have ordered.
My wife arrived home and assessed the situation. I awaited frenzied cries of ‘man down, man down, emergency, emergency’ but instead all I got was a look of condemnation. The biscuit jar was empty, the kid was high, I was low.
I bathed the kid and got her into her pajamas, read her some bedtime stories (sacrificing what little strength I had left in my voice) before finally I could relax. I didn’t feel much like eating but managed 2 large helpings of home made chicken biryani – for strength mainly, I knew I would need it in the coming days. What with my wife working late tomorrow night, I realised that I needed to stock up whilst the chance was there, who knew how weak I would be by tomorrow evening when I would be left to fend for myself.
After disturbed sleep I hauled myself out of bed. The world was still turning but, unless I could get in to work, it would be sure to stop at any moment. I (air) kissed my wife and daughter and left them behind, wondering if I would ever see them again. ‘Remember we’re meeting you at 12.30pm?’ my wife reminded me. Well at least that gave me a target to aim for.
The rain lashed down but I made the arduous journey to the bus stop around the corner. Each of the 72 steps I had to take hurt like hell. I had forgotten my umbrella. Don’t call me a hero.
By the time I arrived in work half an hour later things weren’t looking good. I was in constant need of tissues and my speech was more gravelly than a Hollywood film voice over man. To make matters worse, the electric meter was being replaced which meant my worst fears had come true – no coffee.
With focus and determination I made my goal – the café at 12.30pm. There I met my wife and daughter who were so pleased to see me they both pushed me away when I came to embrace them. ‘Mummy said don’t touch you, you’ve got worms,’ my daughter said. We had the pick of the tables after that, it’s amazing how quickly people finish their drinks after such a revelation. By the time I could muster my response ‘germs, not worms’ they were long gone.
My wife had to go to work so, as planned, I would be looking after the child for the afternoon and evening. Luckily she had been swimming so was showing signs of fatigue which could be mistaken for my dastardly illness if I didn’t know better. Like her, I pepped myself up with a packet of crisps and several percy pig sweets before leaving for home, it was all I could manage.
I wasn’t much use to the poor child by now and experienced many surreal visions over the next 2 hours on the sofa (the Wizard of Oz). After the film she tucked me in a blanket and nursed me with orange juice and (what a surprise) more biscuits.
As I bathed her and got her to bed I was just glad that she would never have to suffer this dreadful flu. Luckily, mother nature realised only men are strong enough to survive it so women are immune.
As I write, the main symptoms have subsided and I’m hoping to be allowed out of my quarantine on day 4. It’s been a long road but I thank all the females in my life for the endless sympathy they have offered, and for the biscuits.