Since the radiotherapy days, my immune system is not as robust as it used to be and so I caught flu last week. Although, enough people coughing and spluttering over you for a few weeks to prove they’re ill will do that.
At first, it presented like Man Flu (not flu) and then turned into Woman Flu (flu, but no-one cares and you carry on), but eventually I fell over.
Towards the end of the week, I could stand to open my eyes and the curtains without worsening a banging head and knew I was getting better because I fancied that British panacea for all ills – a nice cup of tea.
Rummaging for teabags, I broke a favourite milk jug, scalded myself on the kettle and dry retched at rancid milk I hadn’t been able to go out and replace.
A sorry mess, slumped on the sofa sipping black tea, I decided to squint at a movie. Here’s what I learned: it’s not a good idea to watch a film about women trapped in the desperate loneliness of their lives and who are thinking about killing themselves when you have flu and only rancid milk for company. It’s uncertain whether I would have shot myself, but thank the Lord for UK gun laws.
Meanwhile, the cold callers singled me out for their special attention. Ripping the house phone out of its socket after the nth call, I fell backward onto already sore bones and considered contacting the cold caller who wanted to compensate me for accidents.
Between the coughing fits, fever spurts and self-inflicted mishaps, I ruminated all week on how well Bronnie used to take care of me when I was ill. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for me, bring for me or rub – albeit one of those things was always on his agenda.
I didn’t have to think about a thing except getting better when Bronnie was my husband and nursemaid.
He protected me from rancid milk, scalding kettles, and black tea. He fetched medicines and scrambled eggs and cold compresses. He ran hot baths and changed bedding as I cried into soapy bubbles. He negotiated my workplace, friends and family and shielded me from cold callers. He cooled rooms down or warmed them up on a fever whim. He found spoken word books or played my favourite recordings of the ocean. He touched my forehead when he thought I was asleep, pulled the covers up to my neck, tip-toed out of the room and closed the door quietly. He would check on me an hour later.
I got flu last week, threw a pity party, and imagined Bronnie came.