Monday, 25 April 2011

My name's Shelly and - achoo! - I have a summer cold...

So, my winter coat has retired for the next six months, daffodils are now widely available in most supermarkets for 99p, and I have felt the need to replace last year's sunglasses with a pair of oversized shades that I think even Victoria Beckham would envy. Hell, I have even got over my jetlag from the clocks going forward last month. All is well with the world.

Or… maybe NOT. You see, two weeks ago, I came down with a cold. And not even a little sniffle either. A full-blown head-bunging, limb-aching, mucus-infested blinder. The kind of cold with which a lot of people would call in sick, pleading swine/bird/man flu before cocooning themselves in their duvet and demanding Lemsip and chicken soup from their sceptical other halves.

I didn’t have this luxurious option, though. Because two weeks ago I started a new job, in a new service, with a new boss. Calling in sick on day three with anything less than the loss of a limb or pneumonia did not seem appropriate. So I soldiered on, drugged up to the eyeballs on Sudafed, Sinex and whatever else I could lay my hands on.

Then the weekend came. A chance for me to re-cooperate? Not a chance. Not only had my cold hit me A) when I had just started a new job and B) when the weather had finally become acceptable, but it also hit me on my parents' Ruby Wedding Anniversary. Which meant a party. And cake making. And cleaning. And food preparation. And not showing your parents up in front of their old college friends by being unsociable/falling asleep/sneezing and hacking in their faces. Needless to say, by Sunday evening and two sleepless nights spent trying not to drown in my own snot, the thought of work the next day did not exactly fill me with joy.

Of course, the other problem with having a cold when the sun is shining and when you feel (and look) like one of the extras from Dawn of the Dead is that, whilst everyone else is stripping off to their sandals and sun tops, you are alternating between feeling like you have been locked inside an industrial freezer and coming over so hot that you are starting to think you’ve started the menopause a few decades early. Not helpful, especially when you are sharing an office with a lot of people who don’t know you and don’t realise that your constant stripping off is due to a physical ailment rather than a lack of social etiquette and/or sanity.

Two weeks on, I am still snivelling at my desk, snorting my nasal spray every half hour and blowing my nose even more frequently. Luckily my nose has now recovered from the obligatory red rawness and flaking that accompanies over-zealous blowing. Unfortunately my mucus has now moved onto my chest, providing me with a really attractive, phlegmy cough that makes me sound like an old man. Beautiful.

So, while you are enjoying the sunshine, spare a though for those of us with unseasonal illnesses, desperate to go out and enjoy the sunshine like you but, quite honestly, avoiding as many social interactions as possible while we are looking like crap and sounding even worse. Now, if you could kindly you pass me the tissues and take cover, I feel another sneezing fit coming on… Read more by Shelly.