12 Dec 2014

Man Flu

I used to joke about man flu. Like many women, I considered it to be a simple cold or similar virus with symptoms exacerbated by the imagination and the desire to be pampered. I was wrong.


04.00 (ish): Woken by poorly child coming into our bed. This was kind of expected. Yesterday when he got in from school he complained of a headache and being cold, then took himself off to bed before tea and fell asleep immediately. He informs me he still has a headache. I had a headache yesterday too but repressed it all day with paracetamol, working, cutting the grass, making pancakes with the kids and generally pretending I was fine. I apply 4head to both him and me and and we snuggle down and sleep.

07.45: Woken by well child who needs cheese grating for her packed lunch. Keith gets up to do sandwich and school run. Thankyouiloveyou.

08.00: Eldest child enters bedroom to say goodbye. I'm not always dressed when he leaves the house but I am usually vertical. Ah well. Good bye mate- have a good day. Snuggle back down with poorly child.

10.15: I have now been in bed for 13 hours straight. This has not happened since the summer of 2007 when the boys were on holiday with their grandparents and Madi had chickenpox and slept 18 hours  a day. I still have a headache. Annoying. Also, I normally don't have to think about regulating body temperature- it just happens, but this has suddenly and curiously become problematic. Get up for paracetamol, 4head and a cup of tea which I drink half of. Do some work on lap top, then read Harry Potter to poorly child while he soaks in the bath. I would love a bath but the naked bits either side of the soaking part would be too much hassle with a dodgy thermostat.

12.00: Have a lie down on couch. Poorly child watching pop junior. I am half working, half fantasising about returning to bed. But I'm in denial. This is a mere cold. I am fine. Besides we have 2 extra children to look after this afternoon so I'll just have to be functional.

14.00: Take more paracetamol. This can't be good. I am clock watching in order to take tablets. I am one step away from those little medication dispensers with days and times on to stop the elderly and confused overdosing.

15.30: Keith returns home with well child and another 2 borrowed ones whose mum is working today. They are told to help themselves to snacks and drinks. They refuse both and disappear upstairs to play.

16.30: I really want to go to bed. I lie on couch with poorly child and hot water bag instead and pretend to work.

17.00: Borrowed children go home. Eldest child has made tea (reheated leftovers, pasta & garlic bread) for himself and well child. No one else is hungry.

18.00: I tidy up the kitchen as my token act of motherly love for the whole of today. Then I make Madi and Jackson hot chocolate as I'm on a bit of a roll. Hmm, maybe not. I brush my teeth and go to bed because I'm freezing cold. I've clearly overdone the mothering thing.

18.45: Keith leaves house with Ethan for a carol service rehearsal at church. Poorly child and well child come into my room for more Harry Potter. Poorly child has been in jammies all day. Well child gets ready for bed while I'm reading to them.

19.00: After final story and prayers I put well child and poorly child to bed. Poorly child still feels poorly. We've run out of Calpol and he refuses tablets so I apply more 4head instead. I refill hot water bag, take paracetamol, apply 4head and return to bed. I am very tired but can't get warm. Then I am too warm. Then I'm having a hot flush so I discard hot water bottle completely. Within 5 minutes I retrieve it from the floor because I am cold again.

21.00: I am dozing when eldest child enters room to say he is home. Can he have supper? Yes. Then I'll have a shower, ok? Thank you mate- yes go ahead. I love you. Night night.

23.50: And that's the time now as I type this. I still haven't managed to sleep, my headache hasn't shifted all day and I can feel my pulse pounding behind my ears after the slightest exertion- like getting up for a pee or even reaching over for a drink. And I'm freezing. No wait- now I'm too warm. Uncomfortably hot actually. So let's just move the duvet a teeny bit and... Oops too far, too far- now I'm cold again. Move it up to HERE that's kind of half way between where it was before and when it all went wrong.... and... Yes I believe we have equilibrium Houston!

I am grateful for a functioning hypothalamus and wish to repent of the many times I have taken this for granted. I am also deeply sorry for my previous refusal to acknowledge the existence of man flu and wish to apologise to all the men in my life I have ever ridiculed for claiming to have suffered from it.

I'm a believer now. Thank you. (You may leave).