Sucking Helium.

I have lost my voice.  It followed a week of constantly blowing my nose, then coughing so hard, I had to hold onto the carpet. This is Day Four of speaking like Minnie Mouse.  Or, for those of us raised on kids’ TV in the 1980s, Baron Greenback from “Dangermouse.”

This is the second bout of a viral infection that I have had in 3 months.  Both after I failed to get my annual flu jab in February, because I really should have got it in October, and anyway, the “season is over.”  Even though I got my last flu jab LAST February, because it came with my asthma check.  Anyway.

The last two weeks at work have thus followed the following pattern: 3 days at work, two days in bed, a weekend upright again as “fun Mum”, back to work with no voice, then struggling again two days later to stay upright. All of which does my absence record at work a power of good.

As a viral infection, the only cures would appear to be drinking warm liquids and rest.  Which is easier said than done, when your body is exhausted but your brain is still ticking over and over.  God bless Alphabear. Rest is further complicated by the  feelings of guilt, and anxiety, which are always attendant with my being ill. Guilt that others are losing non-contact time to cover my classes; guilt that my absence slows up the schedule of learning that my senior kids have to complete in a year; guilt that my husband, just recovering from a bout of some bug himself, has to do more than half the parenting and household duties.  Anxiety about my absence from work, and the impact it will have on my workload when I return.

I don’t need any psychologist to tell me that these are control issues, and a fear of not being considered sufficiently indispensable.  Fortunately, my anxieties are palpably less strong than they would have been on previous occasions of illness,  thanks to the anti-anxiety medication that I have been taking; but they are still there, the “bad thoughts.”

What this has lead me to consider properly for the first time, is the daily experience of people with debilitating conditions – especially those which have peaks and troughs, like fibromyalgia, or chronic fatigue syndrome, or rheumatoid arthritis.  The frustration of feeling useless, waiting for my body to sort itself and get back to normal – that is a daily occurrence for people with these conditions, not something which will go away and stay away (if I remember to get my jab.)  Having your brain going batshit while your body cries foul…looking the same as you did the day before, but being unable to operate at anything like the same level…fuck that.  Fuck all of that.

I am on holiday for 6 weeks as of Saturday.  I have plenty of time to get well, recover, get back to being a “useful” member of society.  If there was a possibility that I wouldn’t completely recover, or that my feeling ill, sore or exhausted would return in – one week? Two weeks? Three days? I think that I might go out of my mind. Big, big kudos to those who don’t fully recover and get on with it anyway.




About Speff

Scottish; pro-independence; a veteran teacher; a fairly new mum; facing the menopause and gradual deafness. So - here to grump a lot. And occasionally post about food and sci-fi.
This entry was posted in anxiety, flu, illness, mental health. Bookmark the permalink.

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