Monday, July 13, 2009

A Touch of Flu

It’s R’s idea on Friday to see a harrowing Wajda film about a massacre. When I start coughing I assume it’s a reaction to some cleaning product in the cinema. Afterwards, I put the feeling of general malaise down to the depressing film.

Next morning, though, I wake up with full-blown flu symptoms: headache, sore throat and aching limbs. Too bad I’ve chosen the weekend to get sick; the doctor’s surgery is closed and the phone message is quite strict – don’t go to the hospital or use an emergency number unless you are at death’s door. As I had the antiflu jab last October it must be the latest strain – swine flu. I check it out on the Internet and the only symptom I don’t have is a high temperature.

‘No, Mum, you haven’t got swine flu’, says my daughter on the phone. ‘You have to be under 60 to catch it’.

Meantime my head feels as if it’s clamped in a vice, my throat’s been rasped with a cheese-grater and I’m coughing every few minutes. The slightest effort makes me feel exhausted.

By this time the only way to ease the ache in my legs is performing a horizontal St Vitus dance. Sitting in a hot bath has the same effect, and means I can doze for a while. My chest emits a kind of high-pitched whistle.

I spend the night in the spare room so R can get some sleep. Reading makes the headache worse but I listen to a radio play and an audio book.

R contacted the surgery today and the doctor rings at noon. She tells me if I want an antiviral medicine I can have one, but they do affect the stomach and as mine is already dodgy that’s not such a good idea. Besides, I’m over the worst.

I ask how long I’ll be contagious – I'm planning to drive to the North next week. The doctor says it’s only the first few days that are infectious. So that’s a relief. Now all I need is to get my strength back.

Symptoms of Swine flu:

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