So I have recently had the Flu. So recently, in fact, that I still have it. Not a cold. Not a Flu. THE Flu. I did have plans for New Years, now I don’t. And it’s horrible.
It started about a week before Christmas, this sad little sniffle, a headache with some tiredness, I figured it was just a cold, and could be safely ignored until I could get some rest. This turned out to be not so true. By Christmas day, the first day off work, I woke up all excited. Family time, chill time, roast parsnip time. My nephews first Christmas, and I was determined that I had got him the best thing ever, everyone would be so jea…ah…aaaah…aahhhhh..CHOO. Yeah. The whole of Christmas morning, I was glugging down hot tea, cold medicine, throat pastilles’, fruit. Absolutely anything I could think off to stave off a cold, until at least boxing day. It sort of worked.
I spent Christmas day sniffley and sneezey, dizzy and out of sorts. Yes, I had gotten the best baby present, but I couldn’t appreciate how much he was enjoying them, and it was making me more miserable than the impending disease that was making me shiver and sweat. By Boxing day, it really made itself felt.
From then until now, I have been confined to bed, shivering, sweating, vomiting and being close to tears. There’s a reason it’s called The Flu, and not A Flu. A cold is horrible, it sniffles you up, gives you a sore throat and makes you grumpy and tired. A cold is a cold, The Flu is unmistakable. The Flu does everything a cold does, and more. It turns the inside of your head to a kaleidoscope of gyroscopic sickness, a ball of confusion, it makes your stomach clench and twist, occasionally rejecting the most random of things. It makes every bone in your body be convinced it’s been broken, so they ache and feel twisty and unreliable. You freeze and shiver as your body overheats and sweats out what little fluid you have left in your system. It covers your mouth, teeth and lips in a thick, hard gross, that cracks and tears your lips, giving you sore bleeding lips to add to the equation. It pushes your eyeballs out to make room for the smelly lumps of eurgh to go behind them.
By the third day of this, I wasn’t on the verge of tears anymore, I was actually crying. I couldn’t take enough pain-killers to stop everything aching, I was trying to sleep but would either get no sleep or no warning. I managed to pry myself out of my bed for long enough to try and do some washing up, aware that it had been sat there since Christmas. I managed to put a bowl in the sink and about an hour later I woke up again, still in the kitchen, just on the floor this time. I dragged myself back upstairs and woke up another 3 hours later, with a cat either side of my head.
It still felt like someone had stuffed a village fair award winning sized pumpkin in my skull and draped my face across it to make sure I blended in, but at least I was in my bed this time. I’ve spent since boxing day curled up, trying to get well, I had the cunning plan of going to work on the Saturday (27th) and made it two hours before I had to call it quits. My poor boss was left in the lurch, the day after boxing day, with no staff. In fairness, up until then, I had only three days off sick in 11 eleven years, not a bad ratio. Sadly, my sick log now stands at 7 days off, with 2 days I wasn’t meant to work anyway, so technically 9! I’m not happy about this. By the day before yesterday, it had stopped being vomit, per se, I would cough, then it would happen. “cough cough, *breathe in* cough cough *open mouth to breathe in* previously consumed matter appears”. None of that heaving or clenching, just open mouth to breathe and liquid comes out instead. Not pleasant.
However, this is not the point, the point is that it didn’t matter how often I washed my hands, or took my vitamins or anything else, someone I had contact with at some point, hadn’t washed their hands. I caught their Flu, and suffered, and am still suffering, for it. Germs, disease and infection travel by air, liquid or contact, and working with the public means I am on the front line of catching their diseases. Whether I want them or not.
On a daily basis, I get the joy of finding out the inventive places people keep money (their socks, underwear or orifices). I get to see them put it in their mouth, drop it on the floor or use it to wipe dead wasps and flies off pub tables. They use it to take drugs, to pass drugs or buy drugs, the average £20 note has more cocaine, faecal matter and other disgusting grimness on it that most public toilet seats. And people sneeze on them, put them in their pants, arseholes and mouths. And they hand them to people like me.
Thanks. No really.
Working in a fast paced shop means always being on the go, which is good, always helping new people with new questions, also good, all at 100mph, not so good. You will often see people in the retail industry with colds, sniffles, indigestion or other speed-living related problems. Please, take pity, slow down a bit, they’ll continue rushing around once they’ve helped you and you’re Bimbling your way round town for a quiet, sedated lunch. They’ll be stuffing bites of a sandwich down their throats in-between helping find a random dress for you, a random size pair of shoes for your uncle and trying to find the patience to not yell “I don’t care if you’re the Queen of bloody England, it says £20, so you’ll pay £20, it’s £20 however you pay and if you ask me again I’ll charge you £50. Now shut the hell up and make room for sensible customers. This is not Agrabah bazaar, stop asking me for discount. Wait for sales, and stop calling for my manager, I am the manager, the price is the price. NEXT!”
Oh, happy new year everybody, have a drink for me, I’m still stuck in bed.