Saturday, January 5
So we drove back from Cork last Saturday morning. We got into Dublin just before lunch and all was well. I dropped herself into town to meet some friends. Would she wear a coat? She would not. “I’ll be inside the whole time,” she said. My riposte – “You are meeting your friends in St. Stephen’s Green, that is a park. Outside,” – was met with withering disdain.
I went home to start clearing out the kitchen for the builders who were due to start on Monday but Mr. Waffle said, “We’re all tired after the drive, will we do it tomorrow?” This was most unlike him but very welcome at the time. Subsequently, of course, it proved to be a big mistake. I’m sure there’s a moral there somewhere.
About 6 I got a call for herself wondering whether there was any chance of a lift as she was freezing. “Aha,” said I, “the absence of coat a mistake?” “Yes,” she conceded, “I also regret the sandals.” As I had been toting a hot water bottle around with me for the past hour as I was inexplicably cold, I hopped into the car with it and brought it to her. She was suitably grateful.
Sunday, January 6 – Epiphany
I slept badly and woke up feeling terrible. I couldn’t even go to mass, for Epiphany. But you know what I had to do? Clear the kitchen for the builders, that’s what. We all helped and it wasn’t quite as awful as you might imagine but I had a raging temperature and was unutterably miserable.
About 4 I was able to limp back to bed. Mr. Waffle made dinner and I came downstairs to make an attempt at eating it but my heart wasn’t in it and I definitively took to my bed at 8 that evening.
Meanwhile, Herself began to display symptoms, shivering away.
Monday, January 7
I don’t know when I was last so sick. I had a horribly disturbed and slightly hallucinatory night. My torso was too hot and my feet were freezing. Regular doses of paracetamol seemed to make no difference though I suppose they did.
About 20 years ago when living in Brussels, I had the flu and I thought to myself this is it again. I got out of bed once to go to the bathroom and that was pretty much it.
The builders turned up at 8 in the morning and started doing building things. The noise. The misery. I can so see why flu can be lethal to babies and old people. I am rarely sick and I feel my system is wearing itself out. Prediction is, nevertheless, that I am likely to live.
Mr. Waffle tended to the builders (lots of questions), me and the Princess. When the boys got home from school, Daniel didn’t fancy eating and felt tired so he went to bed. Was this a good sign, gentle reader?
Tuesday, January 8
Yet another disturbed night and really pretty miserable. Mr. Waffle dropped me into the GP where I waited to be seen for about an hour in a room full of miserable people. The GP confirmed the flu and said cheerfully, “Watch out for pneumonia though, that’s what we worry about.” Apparently it’s all related to the colour of your phlegm. God. I pointed out that I didn’t have a runny nose, something I felt, somehow that I ought to be congratulated on, and she said, quite pleased, “Yes that’s typical for flu.”
Home and crawled back into bed with the builders doing their thing in the kitchen and Mr. Waffle tending to two children and me. So miserable.
Michael came up to me when he came home from school. He was burning hot. “I felt really dizzy and hot today and I had a headache cycling home,” said he collapsing into the bed beside me.
I’m a bit confused about what happened next but about 8 in the evening, Michael said, “I need water.” Mr. Waffle’s voice came from the floor at the end of the bed saying, “You’ll have to get it yourself and can you go to your own bed”? Apparently, Mr. Waffle started to feel sick too and decided to construct a camp bed rather than move Michael. Everyone was getting a bit confused. There was no dinner and everyone was in bed by 6 we think.
Wednesday, January 9
I woke to the sound of the cat whining at the bedroom door. I went downstairs to feed her. While I rejoiced in my ability to walk downstairs with only the occasional pause to cough up phlegm ( not green – good news on phlegm watch), I was not super delighted to be besieged by builders asking hard questions about windows, flues and other matters.
With Mr. Waffle out of commission, I dragged myself around to the children’s rooms doling out paracetemol and the limited stock of sympathy I had available to me once I had used up most of it on myself and then took myself back to bed where Mr. Waffle was hacking up a lung while wearing a fetching damp face cloth on his forehead.
It feels like I have been sick forever. 3 full days in bed is a really long time for a grown-up to be sick.
Thursday, January 10
Herself was going to a concert with her friends – tickets part of her Christmas present and had to cancel due to ill-health.
I showered in the morning and began to feel a bit more human. Was this the beginning of the end?
The main builder who is an older gent waslooking a bit under the weather. I didn’t sleep last night he tells me between coughs. This could carry him off. And, as the GP said cheerfully, “In a closed environment like a house, it is very likely to spread.”
The boys’ parent teacher meetings were that evening so I left the house of illness and went to spread my germs around the school and, on the way home, Tesco. Feedback on the boys was all grand. Apparently Michael is a born presenter and now that 10% of his State exam marks are for a class-room based presentation, all the teachers seem to have noticed. The history teacher loves Daniel. One of their teachers is super scary and even I find him a bit scary so I didn’t find a way to work into the discussion this slightly amusing factlet which the Princess shared with me: “if we watch documentaries in English, he sits in the back of the class translating them into Irish, like we can’t understand them in English.” Ah yes, “Tosnaíonn an lae in san Serengeti..” I did, inadvertently, mention something about messing in class and he looked puzzled and said, “No, there is never any messing in my class.” I bet there isn’t. Meanwhile, when I asked the art teacher whether Michael was well-behaved in class she said, “Oh yes, in fact, if it gets too noisy, he asks everyone to be quiet and they are because they know if he says something, it must be really loud.” On application to Michael, he confirmed that this is true “But,” he added, “they don’t stay quiet for as long as I would like.” What on earth is that teacher thinking? And why is it that in one teacher’s class discipline is absolute and in another’s it’s like a zoo?
In a landmark moment on our road to recovery, we all sat around the table for dinner and everyone ate something.
Friday, January 11
The builders didn’t come. The main man has the flu.
I went back to work for the morning. Couldn’t face the bike so spread my germs around public transport (should no longer be infectious, really). It was alright but I felt pretty seedy still to be honest. All the others I left coughing at home. The fact that the kitchen is basically a dust bowl and a fine layer of dust now covers almost everything in the house probably isn’t helping our recovery.
My sister rang to say that my father has the flu despite getting the jab. I rang to see how he was and he was alright. Not as whiny as me actually.
When I got home from work, it was to discover that my lovely sister-in-law had sent us a hamper of goodies to speed our recovery. It was the highlight of an otherwise miserable week.
We’ve had to feed the neighbours’ hens for the week so this has added a slightly farcical element to proceedings as poor Mr. Waffle regularly dragged himself next door to check the level of the feed bin and pick up the odd egg.
Saturday, January 12
Mr. Waffle, Daniel, Michael and I are still a bit under the weather but more or less alright. We all left the house today for non-essential purposes. Herself, however, is still miserable. “Maybe,” she said to me, “I’m getting pneumonia.” Dear God in heaven.
This is the worst start to the new year we have had in years. I suppose the only way is up?
Next year we are all getting the flu jab even if not 100% effective, it’s much better than nothing. If you haven’t already, I recommend it as flu is vile. I have learnt my lesson.