Those of you who have read some of my earlier posts may remember my firm commitment not to moan… And I still intend to stick to it – starting again from next week. There are circumstances this week that mean that I am entitled to feel sorry for myself and that the pledge not to complain can be temporarily rescinded… In other words – I am sick. Not just a sniffle, I mean the real deal, with a temperature, doctors umm-ing and ah-ing, complicated prescriptions, and dire warnings to remain in bed or on the couch. And no, it’s not Swine Flu, I am living, shivering proof that the normal illnesses are still out there, preying on poor pregnant people.
I have glamorous ideas about being sick. I imagine myself lying on the sofa, looking pale and interesting (like a heroine in a Brontë novel), reading improving books, or more likely watching daytime telly (which in this flight of fancy is actually very good) without any guilt whatsoever. The reality, sadly, is very different, and pregnancy adds to the overall misery of the situation.
I don’t look like a Brontë heroine – more like an extra from The Bill – I have no concentration for improving books, and daytime television is truly, truly awful. From Jeremy Kyle to Homes under The Hammer, from Diagnosis Murder to Escape to the Country, there is not one single programme that is worth watching. To add to this, being pregnant I can’t take any decent drugs – I have the prescribed ones, but I suspect (probably wholly unjustly) that they are watered down affairs, without proper potency. Normally when I am unwell, I place great faith in self-medication using Day Nurse (peps you up) and Night Nurse (knocks you out), but no, they’re not allowed. Poxy Paracetemol is all I can take, which feels a bit like sticking a plaster onto a severed limb – I’m aware this is an unfair and completely exaggerated analogy but I told you I was going to moan!
Then, there is the worry – is the baby OK? Definitely, I am told – nice and safe inside… But doesn’t the constant coughing, and the very hot Mammy have some effect on it? Apparently not, I am told. And although I am complaining about the (possibly) impotent drugs – are they sure the ones I am on are alright? Yes, I am told, firmly. In spite of these reassurances, I feel guilty for catching this stupid thing. I should have eaten more garlic, or whatever it is that wards off evil viruses. And speaking of the guilt, I feel bad for sending my toddler to crèche when I am home sick – even though I am lying around like a limp lettuce and am not at all up for toddler shenanigans. And of course, I must mention my poor, long suffering husband, who has to listen to all these worries and guilt trips, interspersed with coughing fits, snorts and deep sighs. Even when I am asleep, there has been no escaping me, the spluttering and coughing reaches its crescendo in the small hours.
But, I am starting to feel better, it must be said. And convalescence is so much better than illness. With that, I can now sit back and start milking it – regaling all and sundry with the details – starting with this post as you can see. I feel that “The time I was very sick when I was pregnant – properly sick, now, not just a cold” will be a feature of many conversations in the future. So, I am sorry for complaining, I will be back to myself next week I am sure, and this becomes just another story.