I have looked back to December, to see what I said about being ill and the answer is nothing. I was talking about Sprig’s wartime childhood memories and I didn’t bore you with grumbles about my health. So, with apologies for being a bore, I’m just going to jot it down now. Because I will forget the details if I don’t.
I was out for dinner with some girlfriends, at the house of one of them. We have a small book group – I never pegged myself as a bookclub person, but this is a group of friends and we take it in turns to invite everyone for dinner. Husbands make themselves scarce although they may appear for a plate of food and they might well have taken coats and drinks orders at the start of the evening.
I picked up one friend on the way and we had a good evening, as ever. It was the first Thursday in December, the 5th and we’d usually meet a week later but our host, who has a very time-consuming job, couldn’t make it then. At about 9.30, I suddenly felt exhausted and hardly knew how to sit there without keeling over. It came over me in moments, quite odd. Luckily, only a few minutes later, someone said she had to make an early start the next day and the party broke up. I got home by 10, Tim asked me if I’d like a glass of wine and I said I just needed to go to bed.
That night, I started coughing. Just a dry, persistent cough. But I didn’t feel too ill and on Sunday, as planned, Tim went off to his house for a few days. I went back to bed and called on Rose to look after things.
My cough got worse and I stayed in bed for the next couple of days, which I rarely need to. It wasn’t flu, it seemed like a bad chest infection and I was exhausted, with no energy. I didn’t initially lose my sense of taste but, oddly, I couldn’t bear food or drink that tasted of anything. I could only drink water, not even milkless tea and Rose brought me some plain boiled rice for supper and some plain porridge made with water for breakfast. I could only manage a spoonful or two but tried to eat. The cough was so sudden and explosive that I actually was concerned about incontinence, which is not normally a problem of mine. I didn’t actually wet the bed, thank goodness, but I did wear prophylactic pants, just in case.
It lasted for a couple of weeks before I started to improve and finally begin to eat normally. However, by the second week, when I couldn’t taste anything and had started to sneeze as well as cough, I’d developed a sharp pain in my chest when I did sneeze. I googled it and decided it was post-viral pleurisy and there was no need to bother the doctor. And that did improve after a week or so and I was able to get ready for Christmas. All the same, it was into the new year before I really started to feel better.
I’m not often ill. I had flu when I was about 12 and again when I was 16. 20-odd years ago, I had a bad chest infection and wheezed my way down to the doctor, who thought I’d developed asthma until he put me on an inhaler while he tended to a lad with a broken nose. As I was no better when he returned, it wasn’t asthma and I was given antibiotics instead. This was as bad as all these three, but different from all of them. The oddest things were the tiredness and that I couldn’t bear food or drink with any flavour, and that it took me so long to recover.
Anyway, darlings, my apologies for being so boring. I’ll think of something much better for next time.