Friday, January 25, 2013

Flu face

Mr Migraine had decided to pay me an extra long visit.  This was an idea that had clearly occurred him during our 38 hour, door-to-door return journey from Australia to Switzerland.  Why not pop in to Kath's cranium when she's wedged into an economy seat and unable to breathe in the smell of aeroplane catering without an involuntary heave?  A quick vomit seconds before we landed was official confirmation of his calling.  

In fact, he then decided to stay with me another four days, twitching the 'Vomit NOW' nerve endings, punching the 'Diarrhoea A-Go-Go' dials and stamping on the 'Crushing Pain Behind Left Eye Ball' buttons like a river-dancing epileptic on espresso.

Love Chunks was supposed to leave for his much-anticipated skiing trip the day after we landed, but the dear bloke stayed with me for those four dreadful days until he was sure that I could keep food down and have the energy to take Milly downstairs for a whizzer before he drove off towards the alps.

A week later, he walked through the door, red-faced and sweaty but with chattering teeth. "I think I've caught the flu," he said, dropping his bags and falling into my hug.  "I caught it from Robyn who said she'd got it from Dave who blamed Kirsty, the new girl at work, who said that a fat guy had coughed all over her on the tram...."

Never mind, it was MY time to shine; to fufill the long-held potential of being a work-from-home Trailing Spouse who would not only expertly tend to the sick but also keep the home fires burning, nourishing hot soup on simmer, the infirm entertained, bills paid online and .... the dog from eating the used tissues.  

As Sapphire succumbed, my mothering skills intensified.  Vitamin C, sugar-free Strepsils and a blankie on the couch with her favourite movie on standby.  A hand wiping her sweaty brow and a comforting arm around her shoulders. "Let me slice some apple for you."

Flu, for me? Nah, mine was merely a scratchy throat and a few sniffles. I was made of stronger stuff.  My role was to soldier on, be vigilant and protect my dear, sweet family.  

In fact, it was time to test out the 'ol Achilles; see if my careful ministrations and months of rest had paid off.

It had. Six kilometres with no twinge at all!  I was so proud, my phone took a photo to commemorate the achievement.  LC and Sapphire weakly congratulated me as I skipped back into the living room, droplets of sweat pooling on the floor whilst blocking their view of the telly.  "I feel GREAT," I said, somewhat insensitively as my favourite boy and favourite girl trumpeted into their tissues and curled up into even tighter balls of misery.  "I'm so lucky that all I've got is a COLD!"

Until last Friday.  "Who allowed an elephant to sit on me in the middle of last night and why does it feel like a camel has taken up residence inside my chest?"

Since then, it's been a full-on flu infestation.  Unpredictable sneezes, phlegm-laden coughing, aching joints, toilet sweats, the occasional chuck up and a listlessness so pervading I need a lie down after getting dressed.  

There was a bonus, however.  My voice keeps disappearing, so LC and Sapphire enjoy a relatively peaceful home life, albeit with increasingly dusty floors and a Trailing Spouse likely to erupt with a moan that is impossible to stop if accidentally disturbed.

Milly was puzzled. Sure, it was nice to have everyone home, but instead of activity, socialising and walks it was a closed house, stillness and silence. Boooorrrrring!  Now with just the two of us, having a low-based IKEA bed means that she can leap up next to me and place herself just so along my side so that if my hand flops, it will kinda sorta be in the right position to give her a tummy rub.

After Sapphire returned to school and LC to work, I made sure that Milly's long morning walk still occurred. Even if it killed me.  My voice always escapes in the -6C temperatures, so furry face makes a split second decision. With those triangle ears, it's obvious that she can hear my attempts to call her, but she's decided to pretend that it's not the right voice I'm using and she can therefore enjoy some extra time making yellow snow and sniffing for squirrels. It is only when the frozen ground starts to hurt her feet that she decides that yes, she can hear me calling.  It's impossible not to smile at her reasoning.

Just as the indefatigable Flu kept on keeping on, Mr Migraine looked away from his other clients and back towards me with interest.  Why the hell not, he giggled.  When she coughs up snot, why not make sure that Gina Rinehardt's drilling inside her head for minerals?  Have a chuckle by flinging in a sly chunder and blurred vision just when she has a writing assignment due and solder the muscles at the base of her skull so that they fuse every time she stands?  Stomach pains and teeth that feel as though they're being boiled in water?  Matching the pain in her bones with ones in her jaw and forehead!  Yeah, go for it! 

And thus, I find myself still feebly fighting the two foes of flu and migraine, unable to give my attention to the TV, computer or book for longer than fifteen minutes at a time but thoroughly sick of lying in bed and feeling just how badly my toenails need cutting.  In my mostly-horizontal state I've mentally finished the novel; planned a second, placed unbeatable bids for three separate editing jobs, figured out how to make lamingtons for Saturday and researched three separate trips to Spain, Ireland and New York.  It's amazing what you can do with your nostrils plugged.


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Kath:
oh dear how horribly and accurately detailed this all sounds to us for whom the flu has also come and never really gone. We can certainly empathise with you but have no real advice apart from to grin [no, silly, totally impossible] and bear it.

Still, you do seem very adept at taking self portraits whilst sneezing which is mightily creative of you. Perhaps this new foundskill can be put to some other , happier use when you are fully fit?

In the meantime, we wish you all good health...bless you all!!!

Kath Lockett said...

Thank you Jane and Lance. Snotty self portraiture, you say? A potential career, you think?

Plastic Mancunian said...

Aw Kath,

Poor you.

I never get migraine or flu.

What the hell have I said THAT for ...

Hope you feel better soon.




wilbo43 said...

Must be terrible to get flu in - temperture, it's bad enough getting it here in Queensland. Get well soon, Kath!

diane b said...

Its amazing what you can write when you feel so lousy. Your descriptions are so vivid that they verge on the gross at times. Really sorry to hear that you suffer from migraines. I heard on the news that there is a new treatment out for migraine sufferers but I didn't take a lot of notice because I rarely get them. Having the flu too must be awful, poor thing. Get well soon.
May all your imaginations come true.

Hannah said...

I really need to start remembering to forego by usual habit and never be eating when I read your blog. Just in case.

You know what? For all the evils and pain and awfulness, you almost manage to make the flue sound worth it if it allows for novel-plan-finishing and trip dreaming...

Ann O'Dyne said...

First of all LC is a treasure, second, great comiseration from me on all your trials, but thirdly - jeeprs you look better in the photo, despite all that, than I do on my best days.
I won't say happy australia day. I am pro-Traditional Owners, who I think by now, should have sent England an invoice for the theft of one country, payable in full within 7 days.

What do the Swiss celebrate?
have you seen Tina Turner yet? she live en genevre aussi.
x x

Windsmoke. said...

My, my you certainly are in a pickle.

JahTeh said...

OMG, I'm holding my breath while commenting in case it invades the interwebs.
I tell you this happens to my cuz the scientist every year when he's off to a conference with two of his collegues. One of them gets the bug and generously gives it to the others and always the minute they walk off the plane in Melbourne. I blame them for the flu epidemic every year.

River said...

Oh dear! Your troubles make my recent bout of screaming back pain seem like nothing. A 12 on a scale of 1-10, but at least I could still breathe and there was no vomiting involved.
I wish we could send Mr Migraine to a distant planet in a galaxy far, far away.
I hope you are all fully well again now.
Lamingtons you say?

FruitCake said...

Poor Kath. Poor LC and poor Sapphire. Poor Milly.
Get well soon :)

Andrew said...

I think it was quite selfish of you for preventing via a guilt attack on LC and stopping him from going skiing. Like, weren't actually dying, you only thought you were. You know, he wasn't going to be too far away. He could've easily be back in time for the funeral. And now you tell us you have run six kilometres. Are your tying to mentally destroy we sloths? I liked you better when you couldn't run.

Anonymous said...

It is all uphill from now.

Anji said...

It's very noble of you to blog with all of that going on inside your head.

I hope that you're better soon.

We've had flu shots for years - they work for us.

Kath Lockett said...

PlasMan, you're Lucky. LUCKY!

Thanks Wilbo43. The flu is just about gone now but the migraine is lingering on.

dianeb, a friend sent me that article too. Now that I'm able to look at the computer for longer than five minutes, I'm going to track it down as I think it mentioned a pretty simple vitamin mix...?

Hannah, the novel completion is next on my 'to do' list. Out of the brain and onto a document.

Ann, LC is indeed a keeper. Swiss celebrate on the 1st of August and mostly with fireworks going off in all directions. Haven't seen Tina or Sophia Loren, who also lives here. Presumably not in our neighbourhood... :P

Pickle yes, Windsmoke, but chutney is what I'm craving.

JahTeh, I always blame the international travels. Germ spreaders all!

River, lamingtons were forgotten. They were supposed to be my contribution to Australia Day, but proved too much. Sapphire did a pretty decent batch of vegemite scrolls though.

Thanks Fruitcake. LC, Sapphire and Milly are all good and deserve a medal for putting up with my droopy sickness for so long.

Rest assured, Andrew, that the running occurred *before* the flu and Mr Migraine. Since then, the treadmill has been used only as an apparatus to drape damp washing over.

Anon, uphill or downhill? I'm hoping it's downhill!

Anji, friends had the flu shots and still got the flu this year. Obviously sometimes they're playing 'catch up' with what circulated around last year and can't predict what awful version is going to be felling us all in the next year.

Lyndylou said...

This made me laugh...I feel your pain...but still I chortled!!! Hope you feel better soon :)

Jilly said...

You poor thing - but I am very happy to hear the running was successful (Yah!). Take care xxx

Kath Lockett said...

Lindylou, all you can *do* is laugh sometimes!

Running was a relief, Jilly, so I hope I can recreate it again post-flu and migraine.

nuttynoton said...

The positive you are running again, the negative the suffering, my 3 have had this virus that gives a horrible cough and lasts for 3 weeks, I have managed to avoid, probably because they all watch the same TV programmes?
Hope you are feeling better, your descriptions would make a wonderful children's TV horror show!

Kath Lockett said...

nuttynoton, there's a tiny handful of people who *have* survived this terrible flu season - clearly you are one of them.

Seeing as LC doesn't necessarily share my TV viewing habits, I'm not sure that your theory holds water. Any other ideas?

Anji said...

Our old Dr always told us that the vaccine was made from the flu that had been circulating in New Zealand and I suppose it goes the other way at the end of the year.

I think you might be right about the vaccine being the wrong one this year.I feel dreadful this morning, hot and cold and coughing my lungs up. Can you catch flu from blogging I wonder....

Kath Lockett said...

Oh Anji, I sincerely hope not! And if so, please accept my humblest apologies!

Helen Balcony said...

Oh!... OH!!!!!
YOUR dog does that too? I thought Ollie was the only DISGUSTING creature who eats USED TISSUES. ERK!!!!!
I never want to be reincarnated as a dog. Much as I love em!
Hope you all feel better soon Kath.

Kath Lockett said...

See, I disagree, Ms Balcony; I'd love to come back as a dog. With a few non-negotiables including a dog who lives with a loving family.

ropcorn said...

Never fun being sick. :( Looks like Milly was not too happy about that fact either. Hope you feel better now.

Kath Lockett said...

Ropcorn, I think Milly found it all bit too quiet and very, very boring. Why wasn't Mum taking her on those very long walks or singing silly songs with her name inserted into the lyrics?