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Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Feeling under the weather...

It is awful having a cold. Your nose runs constantly, your eyes water, a sneeze feels wonderful after you have been walking around like an imbecile attempting to let it out, (when you finally do, and your insides seem to leave your body, there is a brief moment of rejoice, then inevitable despair as you try and clean your face up).

Everybody gets sick in their own way. By sick, I mean just the basic cold. Ah, but my friends, the cold can manifest itself in several ways in different people.

There are those that will not acknowledge the cold. They ignore Mrs. Cold. They say, "do do do, I am dot sick...atchoooooo!....I am fiiiide...reeely..." These are the martyrs. They say don't give me pity, but we all know what they really want.

Then there are man colds. You know when your father, boyfriend, guy friends, any male acquaintance gets sick, and they come sniffling towards you, and say "what do I do? How many of these should I take?" Why is it that some men don't understand that it is two, you take two paracetamols, two Tylenol, two Sudafed...TWO! It also says on the box! Maybe it is because women have periods, and we are used to at some point taking some pain killer for that, but many men exaggerate a cold to such an extent you would think there were suffering the bubonic plague. Women have to shed their uterine lining once a month, squeeze a baby out of their vagina..... yet we are at times accused of not tolerating pain as a man. Yet when a man (not all men) has a cold? the world ends. Why? they have a genetically different variable of a is called man flu. He he...

Then you have those who genuinely ignore the cold. They cover it up extremely well, and feel no self pity, nor want any pit whatsoever. A cold is a cold. Ja, dat iz de vey it iz. Shape up or ship out mentality. Good for those who manage that, I on the other hand prefer love, comfort and yes some pity.

I remember when I was at school there was no better feeling then being allowed to stay home because I was sick. I would wake up, tired, feeling congested, feverish, and would look at my father who would wake me up, smearing on the thickest 'sick' accent I could manage I'd whisper faintly, "papa, I am so sick. I just CANNOT go to school today". I hated when this was met by, "Ay Jenny, get up, have a shower. You will feel better. You will see". The thing was I didn't want to see! I didn't want to feel better! This was at a time when I was doing my International Baccalaureate, the most work I have ever done. I would stay up until about two every day, doing all sorts of essays, projects, homework, attempting to be a normal sixteen year old at the same time, (not easy...) and so at six when I was awoken by my alarm clock father, I was rarely in the mood to remove myself from bed. There was a time when I would attempt to feel better, and would in fact get up, shower and trudge sulkily off to school, however, this quickly fizzled and I started to know that when the sick feeling was there, I was staying home, that was that. (It didn't happen that often, so I don't feel bad about it).

When you have decided to stay home, from school, work, anything you were meant to do, but you just don't feel up to, there is nothing better than laying your head back down on the pillow. The bed almost hugs you saying "it's okay. No guilty feelings, you deserve to rest...." Ah, it is heavenly. I used to love sleeping in when I knew all my friends were at school. I indulged in this sensation, and when I finally did get up, I would savour a delicious breakfast and watch one of my favourite films, imagining what people were doing as I sat there squealing with happiness on my sofa. Ha ha ha! Those were the days ey?

My mother used to come home with treats for me, a "boller", which are Norwegian sweet breads with raisins, and cardamom (scrumptious), or "kanelboller" which are buns with cinnamon, and my father would rent me a film. Oh it was bliss! I suppose I love attention (who doesn't?) and the love and consolation you get when you are ill is just sublime.

Sadly, there are those people who like to throw around the word "hypochondriac". I have grown to hate this word. Yes, you guessed why, I have been named such a thing a few times in my lifetime. I think my reputation as a hypochondriac may have been shed slightly when I was stung by a scorpion. Let me tell you about it...

One summer, my parents and I on our usual visit to my God parents ranch in Mexico, I woke up smelling the gorgeous wave of bacon, freshly squeezed orange juice, freshly made tortillas, and scrambled eggs. There is no better place in the world to wake up in. I got up, and meandered in my bare feet and pyjamas to the living room. I joined my Godparents, and parents, and stared out at the table, sipping on my scrumptious orange juice. "What oh what shall I begin with", my greedy little eyes and belly thought to themselves. It was at this moment, however, that I realized I had no feeling in my left arm. "Strange..." I thought, but the food looked so good, so I was almost distracted enough, when, "ah! I have lost all feeling in my arm". Not even food could distract me from this eerie fact. I panicked slightly. "Mama, I can't feel my arm" I muttered with now watery eyes. "Jenny, go have a shower, and you'll feel better, come on now". Reluctantly, I got up, and begrudgingly I locked myself in the bathroom, turned on the shower, and started to undress. But my left arm was just not working. It felt as thought it had fallen into a deep sleep, without the pins and needles. It was just a heavy limb hanging from my side! At this point fear hit me. I dived back into my clothes and ran into the living room, at this point quite hysterical. "Mama, Papa, really! I cannot feel my arm....and feels is...closing up!!"

Now my parents realized this was serious. In what can only be described as a mess of a situation, they all attempted to decide what to do with me. My God mother suggested taking me to the vet. The closest doctor for humans was a thirty minute car ride away, and in the words of my God mother "she may not make it there...." With the thought of me dying, and having to go see a vet to save my life, you can imagine I was not feeling tremendously happy. At this point, I believe I was crying. Perhaps even sobbing. My right arm had by this point lost feeling, so I remember standing in front of everybody manically attempting to make a plan to save their little jenny, whilst i stood before them, head hung, slobbering and sobbing, without use of my arms. It was ridiculous. Finally, my parents guided me to the car, and off we went to the doctor for humans. We decided we would make it.

Half way there, my throat was closing tightly. I remember trying to breathe calmly, but when your throat is constricting, staying calm is quite difficult. When we finally arrived at the doctors, who was waiting for us with family friends who happened to have three sons, all standing there looking at the poor maiden (me)...I fell into the doctors arms, and I believe said something along the lines of "thank God you are here....thank God". You must understand the relief was enormous. I thought my days were up!

I was given intravenous...everything. Antidotes, drugs galore. I was so dizzy, I felt as if everyone was talking in slow motion. Sound was reverberating in my head. The doctor and my father started talking about bullfighting, the three boys stood over me, making sure I didn't die. At one point they attempted to feed me yogurt. I almost threw up, so they removed it from my face. My mother sat by my side, worrying, and finally made the doctor clarify what he was giving me. "How many drugs are you giving my daughter!" When he tried to tell her it was alright in a pedantic tone, I think she just pointed at me and said "this (as in my gaga face) is not alright....I want you to list what you have given her and why". He stopped pumping me with drugs, and I lifted my arm to say yay to my mother. Blood flowed down my intravenous tube, and I remember that it made me queasy. I had to go to the bathroom, and my mother had to walk me there. It was as if I was extremely drunk. I had no control over my legs, and as I kept on lifting my arm, I kept getting disgusted by seeing blood in my was a mess. I just remember laughing drunkenly with my mother, and thinking how bizarre the whole situation was.

Finally I was disconnected from tubes, and sort of carried home. I lay down two hours, and when I got up I felt fit as a fiddle. Si fit I was out playing football with the guys that evening. I suppose that is why people say I overreacted. I say, "no!", I am just incredibly brave, and a quick at recuperating. Ha. It is true.

The baby scorpion was found. In my room. the doctor thought I had been bitten in my sleep, or my a young scorpion, as I didn't feel the bite, and that numbness is a common result of a young insect who doesn't know how to inject the poison yet. But these are boring details, the fact is, I was bitten, it was dramatic, and a scorpion was involved. I was brave. Not a hypochondriac. In the slightest. End of story.

Now for all of you who are sick, as it is cold season, try some chamomile tea (te de manzanilla), with a teeny bit of honey, and lemon. Or just boiled water with honey and lemon (I prefer lime). Also if you have to drink, have some brandy it warms you up. Whiskey is said to be very good. I prefer tequila. Sleep lots, and change your tooth brush. Most importantly have some Jewish Penicillin (Chicken soup.....)



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