Susan Morrison: Don't be a self-sacrificing virus martyr
Like just about everyone, I've been hit with the mysterious lurgy. You know the drill. Olympic-standard sneezing, stuffed-up nose and an entire sinus area that feels like some funky and fashionable young architect has just re-engineered a new atrium and entrance hall made of glass and lead on the front of your face.
Illness drives me under the duvet. I prefer to lurk upstairs like John Hurt in the Elephant Man and growl at people who invade my cave of not-wellness.
Occasionally I’ll come down, clutching my hot water bottle, because tea is vital. This is odd, because I am a queen of coffee, and a dreadful snob about the stuff. Instant coffee is desiccated devil’s dung. I have been known to turn green at the mere whiff of Mellow Birds. Coffee, strong enough to melt teaspoons, is my caffeine delivery vehicle of choice. Until, that is, I become unwell, in which case, it has to be tea, from a pot and with a little sugar, with digestive biscuits, because they sound medicinal.
Soup will be required at some point in the recovery process. Home-made soup is obviously best. My mother comes from a generation where the only two things needed to ensure survival in the face of a Scottish lurgy was soup and a wee nap. Making the soup on your own is a risky business. One unexpected sneeze and the whole thing can turn into a science experiment investigating how life started on Earth. Failing home-made soup, Heinz Cream of Tomato, in a mug.
Boxes of tissues are required. Silly wee packets are no good. Not only do they drive you mad trying to get them open, there are just not enough. You’ll work your way through the man-sized version in no time. The duvet starts to vanish under drifts of discarded hankies which lie like dandruff on a teen boy’s shoulders. These are the ones that haven’t quite made it as far as the overflowing bin.
The tissues make the end of the nose glow, but no one lets you play any reindeer games. The red-raw nose is the Scottish equivalent of the leper’s bell. Everybody sees and moves sharply out of the way.
You may have to call for help, and describe in detail just how rotten you feel. You might be feeling a bit hingy, possibly minging. You may be a bit banjaxed or even have a touch of the boak.
Medical science has yet to give this scourge it’s fancy-pants Sunday name. I suggest we go for Winter Hingy Influenza Lurgy Thingy, or WHILT for short.
Purple or yellow hot drinks with drugs in them must be taken, but don’t expect them to work. This is a Scottish cold. It sneezes in the face of neon-coloured medication.
They used to market those drinks to get you back to work sooner, as if this was a good thing. Utter bananas, as anyone who has ever worked in an office with a self-sacrificing virus martyr will tell you.
There is nothing more conducive to improving productivity than having a snuffling, snorfling snot monster shuffling about the place, houcking up great wallops of yuck, sneezing out fast-moving airborne clouds of bugs and sounding like a walrus that’s just finished a 10k run for charity.