This week has seen me poorly, after having contracted a horrible bout of whatever it is that’s going around this month. According to the higher generations (much like the oracle) of my family, it was gastric flu, but I can only describe it as hell on earth. The normal stomach upset type symptoms (how unusual for me to not go into minute detail!) shakes and shivers, and the sweats. Wow. Especially as I was in the house on my own, and was too scared to go down the stairs to get water in case I fell. I felt a little sorry for myself, had a day off work, and generally got on with sleeping.
So imagine my horror this afternoon, after a chat with my man friend, who has a small cold. “I feel so ill, I’ve got the flu” was the pathetic line I got. Ill?! Yesterday, when dying, he quickly told me he hoped I felt better soon, and then changed the subject. So when I mentioned today that im sure it’s not flu, as he seems to be at work, and walking about, I was met with derision. When I told him that my sympathy would be as warm as his yesterday, he replied (and I quote, as not to lose the gentlemanly tone) “but that was yesterday. And im dyyyying!”
Oh, the poor mite. I didn’t realise he was actually dying, there I was thinking he had a cold. And this brings me to my point. Why do men think their illnesses are genuinely worse than ours? Why is a cold for a woman simply a cold, but in a man it is the signalling of the end of the world, complete with death dance and mourning cry? I really cannot understand the difference here. When said man flu began, I gave him pretty much every cold and flu remedy I had in my medicine box, to try to kill the cold off before the moaning became terminal. The instructions were strict; he was to please take one of each until he felt right as rain again, and not whine. Easy enough steps to follow, I thought. Not so.
I honestly don’t think it is an intentional belittling of our sickness. My dad, when hung over, is often the same. A favourite conversation of mine with him, when he was suffering, went like this:
Me: “Oh poor you, is there anything I can get for you?” My meaning here was a glass of water, or possibly, if my kindness extended, a cup of tea.
Him (not joking): “yes please, some lucozade? I’m dying”.
Lucozade?! This involved me getting out of my pyjamas on a Sunday, walking to the nearest shop, purchasing a lucozade with my own hard-earned cash, getting jeered by pikey youths, and returning, windswept and having missed half of hollyoaks. Had I asked the same thing, I can imagine I would have been met with amused giggles.
The moral of the story is, now not only will I stock up on every sort of medication known to man, plus tissues and lucozade, but I will also stock up on some lovely earplugs, to save my hearing.