Plaguey plague upon you

My digestion is feeling a little fragile. I am writing quite euphemistically here. It is Friday morning. It is early, and I cannot cope with too much biological detail. I doubt you can either.

It started last night. I took a bowl to bed and made sure the exit routes to the bathroom were clear.

Much to my surprise, given the Vesuvian rumbling of my bowel region, everything held together in the night and I woke from a reasonably refreshing sleep.

I am somewhat battered however, and have approached the prospect of breakfast with caution.

My stomach does not entirely approve, and it will be a miracle if I make it through today in one piece.

As I was growling away, feeling rather sorry for myself it led me to ponder these kinds of illness.

I work in a school. People are always coming down with something. It is the law of school. The persistent ills are primarily stomach bugs, conjunctivitis, and nits. I doubt there is ever a time when one or indeed all three of these things are not prowling the hallways of the school waiting to pounce on an unwary victim. Pity the person who succumbs to all three simultaneously.

Mostly, and I say this with crossed fingers, we are lucky here at Boo Towers. My children, apart from an alarming propensity to attract nits from several miles away (I believe Tilly may have been The Nit Whisperer in a previous life) are pretty healthy. They rarely have time off for illness, and when they do it’s usually only a couple of days before they’re bounding around, bursting with vigour. I think I am the lodestone for all illness in the house. It is my job to suck all the evil vapours from the air, suffer them, and allow everyone else in the family to be perfect specimens. I am a kind of mini Jesus, taking on the sufferings of those I love so that they can be saved.

Or something.

Despite this, I am always rather alarmed when one of us succumbs to something – JUST IN CASE.

Yesterday, for example, I had two trains of thought going. One was that I may have poisoned us all with tea. This would be bad, as we all ate the same thing, so we were all going down. I started mentally taking inventory of the number of towels, bowls and bedsheets in the house, and then panicked. The other train of thought was that I had probably picked up a bug from school. This is slightly less alarming, as I have always been fairly blessed with these matters, in that my children have never all gone down with the same thing at the same time. They may be fairly close on each other’s heels, but it has always been the case that there has been a small amount of time to regroup before having to hoist the yellow plague flag again and start sterilising everything. But then I started panicking anyway. Can that sort of luck actually hold? There is bound to be a time when they’re all dropping like flies simultaneously? Ye gods.

I don’t know which is best. If they’re all ill together it must be absolutely hideous, and I suspect you spend a lot of time worrying in case the washing machine blows up, or you are all reduced to sleeping on coats because there simply isn’t enough clean linen to go round. I imagine something like the spirit of the Blitz.

One good thing about this is that although it is intense, it is also over very quickly.

If you have three of them coming down with something sequentially it tends to drag on and on and on for weeks, and then you have the alarming prospect that given the high number of horrible things floating around school at any given time, your first child could feasibly, by the time you are nursing the third child, already be incubating something else gruesome, ready for another round.

And what if you get it as well? It is terrible to be the first man down, because then you are weak and feeble when it hits the others. It is terrible to be the last man down, because you are already knackered from having nursed everyone else. It is worse if you all get something at the same time, because that means that Derek has to be in charge, and carnage ensues.

Basically, I think what I am saying here is that being ill when you have children is evil. Children being ill is evil. The two things together are evil squared, and really it’s best not to send them anywhere they might catch things in case you all die in a welter of vomit and snot. It’s probably best either to:

Not bother having children at all and just raise guinea pigs.
Laminate your children from the get go so that they are germ resistant.
Never set foot in a school. It is a harbinger of sure and certain death.
Ditto hospitals.

So there you have it.

You are welcome.

In the meantime I am off to school to spread the love. We are having a late World Book Day celebration. I am going as Jo March from Little Women. Nobody but me will know who it is, and nobody else will care. Tant pis. I am wearing a nice skirt, and that is all that counts.

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