Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Weather, and illness.

I went to bed last night with an annoying chesty cough. I took some tablets, and retired early. I had been feeling cold for two days, after a change in the weather from twenty degrees and sunny, to thirteen degrees and showery. I woke up not feeling that much better, even though I had slept soundly for over ten hours. That got me thinking about the connection between illness, and weather.

When I was young, many forms of illness were blamed on the weather. Coming home in wet clothes, I would be told, “Get out of those wet things, or you will catch your death of cold”.
During some of the famous London smogs, we were issued with cloth ‘smog masks’ at school, and told that we must not breathe the air outside without wearing them. Apparently, the air would affect our breathing, and leave us with long-term lung problems. They seemed to forget that I was returning home to a house heated by smoky coal fires, and to parents who chain-smoked cigarettes.

Sitting too long in the sun was never considered to be a health hazard though. I never knew that sun cream existed, until I was in my mid twenties. But when I started to get severe hay fever in my teens, I was told it was ‘the hot air’, and that I should shut my bedroom window as I slept, so as not to breathe too much in. Visiting sick relatives or friends was never an issue either, as long as they put their hand over their mouths when they coughed or sneezed, I was reliably informed. Once they had finished coughing or sneezing, we were of course expected to hug them, and kiss them goodbye as we left.

It wasn’t long before the government became involved with trying to tell us all that it was nothing to do with the weather. It was ‘viruses’, and they were spread by close contact, especially among families, and on public transport. Information films began to appear, with catchy titles like, ‘Coughs and Sneezes spread Diseases’. They showed people using handkerchiefs, and covering their mouths when they coughed. But despite this new information, my Mum still insisted that the weather was mostly to blame, and that I should always take a jumper or coat when I went out, “Just in case”.

Now I am older, I have discovered that I am more susceptible to illness. A long life has weakened my immune system, making things like cuts take longer to heal, and other medical conditions much harder to shake off, once established. But I socialise rarely, and use public transport even less. Other than walking around with Ollie, I am inside most of the time, and always dressed appropriately for any conditions. But having gone from walking in warm and pleasant sunshine, to having to dress up in warm clothes to take my dog out, in the space of three days, something has got into my system and has left me with a cough that seems difficult to shift.

I blame the weather.

A Viral Delay

For the last few days, I have been revisited by the body-crushing virus that I have christened ‘The Boomerang Virus’.
(Because it keeps coming back of course)

It has a distinct combination of symptoms, and once they appear, there is no mistake that it has returned.

Hot, painful, and watery eyes.
High temperature followed by feeling ice cold.
Weakness, tiredness, and lethargy.
A sore throat that feels like broken glass.
Random coughing fits that can last for up to fifteen minutes.

Yesterday, I was in bed for almost 20 of the available 24 hours. And for 16 of those 20 hours, I was asleep, in something akin to a feverish coma. I only emerged to take Ollie for a 90-minute walk, and later to eat dinner. I am taking the usual shop-bought medications to reduce the effects of a runny nose, and a headache that feels like an Eagle’s claw around my skull. They are helping a little, but I suspect it must be left to run its course, like the last time I had it. Meanwhile, much of my normal life has been put on hold, not unlike waiting for a delayed train, on a windy station platform.

So many people now have this here, that I am beginning to wonder if it is biological warfare, gone wrong.

I am unable to concentrate on anything for too long. So no reading, very little TV, and no long sessions on the blogs. Sitting in my office chair for more than an hour is too uncomfortable, and lack of enthusiasm and energy means that nothing else gets done at all.

To everyone who is awaiting the next part of my current fiction serial, I apologise. I haven’t been up to writing it, sorry to say.

If I feel better later tonight, which seems unlikely at the moment, I will try to get it done.

Fever Dreams

As whatever has me in its grip continues, something new has appeared. Spending much of each day in bed can be tiring in itself, but despite that, I am still managing to sleep at night. I have been waking up around 5 am, after deep sleeps lasting almost seven hours. Sometimes, I feel overwhelmingly hot as I wake, and freezing cold at other times, even though I am under a thick duvet.

That feverish condition brings with it some very unusual dreams.

Recent weird and wonderful dreams have been bizarre, and sometimes upsetting. I had one where Ollie ran across a busy road, and was hit by a huge tractor that was towing a trailer full of turnips. The turnips were all over the road surface, and I scooped Ollie up and put him in my car, driving over the crunchy turnips as I left. I drove the twelve miles to the Vet at breakneck speed, where I was told that nothing could be done for him. It was so vivid, that I woke up believing that Ollie was dead, and was very relieved to find him asleep on his bed in the kitchen.

One afternoon, I dropped off to sleep after coming home from taking Ollie out. Although still early, it was dark and cold, so bed seemed to be the best place for me. During that sleep, my brain transported me into a different life, one where I was married to someone I didn’t know at all. The woman looked something like a young Elizabeth Taylor, and had a Scottish accent. In the dream, she was acting just like we were married, and I was wondering who she was. The weird part (even weirder part) is that at one stage, she told me we had to “get into the cage”. I followed her into a large strong cage, made from black metal bars, and she closed the door of it with a sliding bolt. She then looked at her watch, and closed her eyes. Immediately, lots of bricks and rubble fell down around us, banging and clattering against the roof of the cage. When that had stopped, she opened the door, and began to clear away the debris, acting as if the event was completely normal.

When I woke up, I was genuinely surprised that I was no longer inside a large metal cage.

The last ‘fever dream’ took me to somewhere quite exotic. Palm trees, stormy skies, and a beach with white sand and blue seas. I was younger than I am now, around thirty years old. I could feel the humidity of the place (probably transferring the heat of my body) and smell the sea. Other people walked around, but seemed not to notice me. Some of them were dressed in heavy winter clothes, others in swimwear. A small boy wearing something like German Lederhosen approached me, and gave me a pineapple. His mother ran over and grabbed his hand, leading him away along the beach.
I was still eating that pineapple, when I suddenly woke up.

I still feel absolutely awful. But at least the dreams are interesting.

Talk To Type

I know some bloggers who use speech-to-text software. They can talk into a microphone connected to their computer, and it translates their words into text on the screen. It often makes some very amusing assumptions about what they might have said, so probably requires careful proof-reading.

I don’t have anything like that. I am not sure it could cope with my London accent, or the colloquialisms I would use when speaking. I type on a conventional keyboard instead, and I don’t have to think too hard when it comes down to correcting typos, or using words that are not the slang I actually hear in my head as I write.

It is just as well that I don’t rely on those innovative programmes, as this morning I have woken up with little or no voice. My throat has closed up, and I sound as if I am using the voice of a dark entity that is possessing me, if I even bother to try to speak at all. It seems that I was wrong, when I posted the other day about exaggerating a heavy cold.

Whatever it is I have got at the moment, it is certainly much nastier than a cold, and getting progressively worse with each hour that passes.

Unfit for duty

After posting about being too hot or too cold yesterday, last night saw me having to retire to bed when it was still light outside. I had felt a little strange all day, with aches and pains around my hips and back, and had already taken some pain-killers, to be able to take Ollie for a walk. The unrelenting damp had affected the joints in my hands, and I couldn’t seem to get comfortable, in any position.

By early evening, I also had a splitting headache. I couldn’t concentrate on my nightly news fix on TV, and after cooking and eating the evening meal, I was soon checking the clock, to see if it was too early to call it a day, and collapse into bed. Just before 9 pm, I took some more tablets, apologised to Julie, and went to bed, securing the chinks in the curtains against the light from the garden. I must have had something wrong with me, as I slept right through, without any disturbance, until 8.30 this morning.

I woke up feeling as if tiny evil goblins had spent all night hitting me with their little hammers. Every bone and joint aches, and I am walking like a 100 year-old lady. There is something lurking inside me, some unnamed virus, only staved off by nearly twelve hours of sleep. My head feels wobbly, and barely attached to my body. If it had nuts and bolts securing it, Frankenstein monster-style, I would definitely be tightening them up by a few turns. One thing is certain, I won’t be getting much done today.

In 2013, I wrote this post, about how it feels to be ‘off sick’, when you are not actually working.
https://beetleypete.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/reporting-sick/ After a lifetime of having to call in a sick report, to a manager or company, it feels very different when you only have yourself to answer to. There will be no ‘phone calls from someone supposedly ‘checking on my welfare.’ No callers at the door, to ensure that I am actually at home, and nobody to have to see afterwards, for the ‘back to work interview.’ With no more six-monthly appraisals to endure, I will not have to listen to a list of all my days taken off sick, and whether they were certificated or not. There will be no dire warnings about exceeding acceptable sick time, or perhaps not being paid on the next occasion.

Despite being free of all this, I still feel absolutely awful, so it doesn’t help that much. I will still have to take Ollie out, though for a shorter time than usual. I then have to drive him over to the Vet in Swaffham, for a review of his skin problems. I have also just cancelled my shift at the windmill tomorrow, as I can’t face the stairs, feeling like this. The first time I haven’t turned up in six months, so not bad.

I’ll just have to take more tablets.