40schick is sick. Not that well-deserved sick that comes from a riotous night on the vino with the besties or the body meltdown that comes from a marathon of consecutive school-night social festivities. On the contrary, it actually occurred on the first day of Dry July which I suspect was my body’s way of protesting against its very own human rights violation.
Just your average, someone-sneezed-near-you-on-the-tram kinda sick – but it packed a punch. Quarantined from work and banned from running (surely the coach could get a defibrillator into a backpack and we could just wing it?), I was left with waaaay too much time on my hands.
By Day 3, it was very clear that I had some real sick-girl quirks. This prompted some codeine-fuelled musing about just another of those dating-in-your-40s rituals like meeting the parents for the first time – being super-sick in front of your new significant other for the first time. To avoid anyone experiencing that horror unprepared, here’s what it looks like.
Although you wouldn’t know it from my ill-advised propensity to belt out a karaoke tune, my lungs aren’t up to much. (actually, you WOULD know that if you had heard me try to nail Sweet Home Alabama or Dancing Queen) These lungs will latch onto a single stray atom of cold germ and draw it deep into lung tissue with the enthusiasm normally demonstrated by an 80s Wall St type with a line of cocaine.
Once there, the germ finds an ideal haven in some lung tissue that has been decidedly dicey since my birth – given this birth took place in an era where smoking during pregnancy only warranted a single eyebrow-raise rather than a blaring cigarette-packet warning and the engagement of Child Protection Services.
This culminates in a hacky cough that will convince anyone sharing a couch with 40schick to half expect to find themselves suddenly seated next to a glob of forcibly expelled lung tissue.
Never happens in The Notebook.
Tendency to over-dramatise
Just as there should be a breathalyser app on the iphone to prevent drunk-texting, there should be a thermometer on the keyboard to prevent you invoking Dr Google if your temperature is even a mili-degree higher than rock-solid normal (which is 37 degrees as I learned this week from Doc G)
No good can ever come of this. Do this and you’ll know that coughing is not designed to cleanse your lungs of germs but is in fact evolutionarily favourable to the bacteria by spreading it far and wide. I will naturally skip past the entry that suggests coughing is favourable, to the bit where it suggests malignant lung tumours may be to blame.
I even found myself doubting the highly trained staff at Epworth Hospital this week and began staring intently at my chest X-rays sticky-taped to a window, looking for sneaky shadows, applying everything I’d ever learned from weekly instalments of ER.
No one likes a drama queen. Romance over – faster than you can say acute interstitial pneumonitis.
There’s no glamour
No one looks glamorous when sick. Some of us however, are able pull off a pallor with the skill of Cate Blanchett. I am not this person.
By day 5, my unwashed hair had taken on additional thickness by virtual of a few feverish night sweats and now had a touch of the 80s Bon Jovi about it. And not in a good way.
I had also taken to schlepping round in a bathrobe. Not a classy Egyptian cotton waffle-weave, but a 10 year old beige concoction in a fabric not found in nature but now favoured as a foundation for animal-print onesies. Said bathrobe has long since lost its belt to the bottom of the wardrobe (where a seething morass of shoes have devoured it in that cannibalistic way they regard rival accessories) and is now held closed with a clothespeg.
Weird food habits
Being unwell makes me contemplate everything I may have done to contribute to this state, most notably inattention to a balanced diet.
It is at this point that overcompensation kicks in ie I
- subscribe to Gwyneth Paltrow’s food blog
- codeine-drunk-dial myself up a Nutri Bullet (anyone who watches daytime TV knows what I mean)
- make my famous vegie-lentil-all-in broth known affectionately as poop soup (so-named given the colour of the lentils conquers all the greenery)
None of this maketh a Nigella-style domestic goddess.
In short, it’s best that you grow up together in your 20s, experiencing gradual and well-spaced shared episodes of sickness generated by great nights out with multi-coloured cocktails, when the only help you needed was a scrunchie to keep your hair out of the action and youthful enthusiasm to do it all next weekend. Somewhere in this journey you sign up for ‘in sickness and in health.’
Far easier than coping with your new 40-something girlfriend turning into a barking, tatty-fleece-clad hypochondriac overnight.
At least I’ll never be ill enough to think I can rock a onesie.