All this talk of staying at home and people being ill because of Covid-19 has made me think of those times in my life when I have been ill enough to have to take a lot of time off work or school. It is often tempting to take a sick day when you are not that ill, or to extend that to four or five days when you are enjoying being at home. But when you are genuinely ill, all that time trapped in the house unwillingly can feel like being imprisoned whilst being tortured at the same time.
The most recent episode of that was during the Swine Flu outbreak in London, when I was unlucky enough to catch it very quickly. What I thought was a heavy cold rapidly turned into the worst flu I had ever experienced. In no time at all, that became full-on Swine Flu, and I know that I have never been so close to dying in my life as during that time. Raging with fever, in and out of consciousness, and delirious at times. I confess I really expected to die. And Julie thought I would die too. Then they started to distribute a tablet that cured it, and once I had been given that I started to feel much better within twenty-four hours.
I had three weeks or more off sick from work, but that was one of the occasions where I was unable to enjoy a moment of it.
Many years earlier, I had my second and more severe bout of Shingles. This time the spots and inflammation spread aound my entire torso, from just under my shoulders, to the edge of my hips. The itching is incredible, and the condition is also painful. Scratching makes it worse of course, but not scratching at all can make you almost crazily suicidal. My doctor gave me tablets and creams to apply, though they had little effect at first. I couldn’t stand to have any clothing touching the affected area, and no bedding over me when trying to sleep at night. So I dozed sitting up on the sofa instead, even resorting to wearing gloves to minimise the damage done by scratching.
Because it was potentially infectious too, I was unable to go to work. Not that I could have fucntioned wearing my EMT uniform, and trying to do that job between scratching fits.
Almost a month at home being unable to concentrate on anything because of the itching. Unable to go out because I could not tolerate even the lightest thinnest clothing, it all soon drove me to distraction. Every day felt like a week, every week like a month. When it finally subsided, and I went back to work, it felt as if I was going on holiday.
So when you are bored to tears of being in lockdown, and if you don’t have to go to work so miss that social interaction, just be grateful that you are not ill as well.