At the moment I'm losing the fight to some kind of cold that make me ache all over. When I'm not sneezing, coughing or forcing Lemsip down my throat I'm staring at the computer screening and hoping my head might fall off.
To summarise: I feel shit.
And, really, what better week to feel like this? I'm in my first week of a new job and trying to work hard to get some good stories out of an unfamiliar readership area, while in my spare time I'm talking to my mortgage broker (Andrea, if that's not the right title I'm sorry - I'm sick you know) and trawling through houses, wondering how much it would cost to do up the kitchen and whether I could really live in a house with peeling lino on the floor for six months.
On the plus (sort of) side, I think this has given both Andy (and probably Lindsay, my new boss who has to sit next to me and listen to me snffle and complain) an insight into what being in close proximity to me when I'm at my worst can be. Because I am a bad, bad patient.
Firstly, I don't want to talk because my throat hurts but at the same time all I want to do is complain so someone can fix it. Now.
I also have the attention span of a 2-year-old kid with ADHD and a red-cordial stain around his mouth. At work I can't concentrate on a story; at home I can't concentrate on anything. But, bloody ironically, I'm constantly searching for something to distract myself from how wretched I feel.
And just this evening I have also moved onto the third stage of my inevitable decline: the belief that I have meningococcal.
Personally I blame the media (shut. up) for their scare-mongering but, every time I get an achy cold and a thick head, I start searching myself for rashes and of course, when you go looking for that kind of thing, you can pretty much be sure you'll find something.
The first time it happened I was having a hot bath in the (misguided) belief that it might soothe my sinus'. It did not, but what this super-hot bath did do was give me a weird red splotchy heat 'rash' on my leg. I saw it, freaked out and jumped out of the bath. All I could remember from news reports was that, by the time the rash appeared, you were probably beyond help anyway. Fortunately Mum was saved from the indignity of dragging her hysterical, naked and relatively healthy daughter into the emergency ward by the fact that the 'rash' had gone by the time I found the phone.
Sadly I have learned nothing and have since forced people to examine me for rashes, examined myself and generally put the fear of God into myself by googling symptoms of meningococcal numerous times.
And it's phrases like this (lifted from some website) that only fuel my paranoia:
"Because of the wide range of possible symptoms, the infection is often hard to
identify at first, and you may not realise how sick you really are. To add to
the difficulty, not everyone gets the same set of symptoms, and they don’t come
in any particular order. In fact, some of the much talked about symptoms, such
as a stiff neck or purple rash, may not appear at all."
Seriously: "you may not realise how sick you really are" is the kind of phrase that will haunt me.
In my lamest moments I get truly weird (blame the cold and flu drugs I'm taking - I sure am) daydreams and imagine myself as the character in a period drama who coughs a little blood onto a handkerchief and everyone watching knows that means he is going to die, but he doesn't know a thing.
Yes that's me: the one with the handkerchief, damnit. Who are you calling paranoid?
(Ali, you can have my clothes and Sacha you have to raise Tikki as your own.)