I’m hoping that the sniffles and slightly sore throat I’m feeling tonight are purely the result of the massive change in the weather we’ve had during this weekend, and not a sign of an incipient cold. Now, admittedly I haven’t had a cold since November, or a day off work due to sickness that wasn’t self-inflicted for ages, but perhaps it’s high time?
Now, I know you all think I’m a sick individual anyway (an unrepentent vegetarian who enjoys listening to Gwar?!), so I’ll emphasise that I’m referring to physical ailments here. On that basis, my sickness level has massively decreased over the past year: I used to get colds all the time, even in the summer (which is worse), and even during the 5-year period when I wasn’t travelling to work on the Tube every day with my nose stuck in someone’s armpit!
It’s probably my current health streak that’s reduced the regularity of my illnesses: my mother found the same improvement when she began exercising with a vengeance (and, it has to be said, gave up the cancer sticks), though she still caught something at Christmas, so she’s not invulnerable (yet). I still occasionally think (as I am tonight) that I might be coming down with something, which makes me worry that I might be a hypochondriac! (Oh, wait, did I already do that joke?)
Morale and enjoyment of life also seems to affect sickness rates. During one bad year of my school life, I remember “getting sick” on a very frequent basis, to the point where I think I may well have been skiving; by contrast, I only had one sick day in the following two school years (when I was at an all-boys school, without stupid girls to get in the way… hey, I was only 12-13!), and to add insult to injury, I missed out on a Drama lesson in which everyone did Thunderbirds sketches! Sickness then returned when we moved to Worthing, but that’s understandable — the sea air is not for everyone…
Since coming of age, I’ve always been worried about seeming like a skiver for taking sick days off work, but when I first became a permanent member of staff at my current employer (in a different department to today) after nearly a year as a temp, my boss said he’d seen me come in on days when he reckoned I was so ill I really shouldn’t have! It’s mostly been sniffles and minor cases of “whatever’s going around the office”, but one time in my current role, I got spoken to about my sickness level — working in the dusty file archive had made me sick during my first few months there, and then…
Oh yes, that bout of gastroenteritis in February 2010, when I’d been in my job for almost a year and was about to have my annual appraisal. I reckon it was because I’d found my old Atari Lynx at home in Worthing, and unboxed it for the first time in probably a decade; I always used to play on it in bed when I was off sick from school, so perhaps an old cold virus had mutated over the years, turning it into Pandora’s Box…
It was a Sunday night and I’d just blown a load of dust out of my computer while watching Flash Gordon on TV, when I felt the need to… okay, I’ll spare you the details, but suffice to say it was at least 24 hours before I could even drink water and keep it down for any length of time. I must have lost a stone in weight (and then quickly put it back on again, alas), and there were times I was afraid I might die… and times I was afraid I might not. It took four days before I could face going back to work, and even then, I took Friday morning off to see the quack for reassurance (on the urging of “other female best friend”, who had had the bacteriological version of the condition, and wanted me to make sure I wouldn’t get it again).
Anyway, enough gruesome discussion of morbidity — the fact is that I haven’t had a cold since November (I really should arrange to give blood some time soon, as it’s been too long), and I reckon it’s down to the improvement in my fitness… though probably also overcoming depression and general low feelings.
Wouldn’t it be depressing if I caught cold just before my holiday to the USA next month? No, no, happy thoughts, happy thoughts, rolling fields of corn basking in the glorious American sunlight, as hordes of varsity cheerleaders swarm around me and pledge their undying love… ah, that’s better.
There’s another explanation for my possible malaise: as I said, there was a seismic shift in the weather this weekend — from the dismal cold and rain we’ve endured since, er, October, to relative dryness and the presence of a strange orange-yellow globe in the sky — and I’ve sadly been getting allergic reactions to pollen and such since coming to London. So, it might just be plain old hay fever I’m getting.
Oh no, hay fever — and I’m standing in a corn field! Quick, girls, carry me to the Olympic-sized hot tub!