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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
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Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The way to Hell... can be surprisingly comfortable

Illness prevented me (with VR) from attending film festival movies on three consecutive days. So, thirty quid down the drain.

But I don't want to write about illness, rather the response to it. On the first day I was so groggy VR said "Don't get dressed. Put on your dressing gown and stay in the warm." It was kindly meant but I think it was wrong for me, temperamentally.

My new dressing gown (see pic) is fleece-based. It not only insulates it is utterly lightweight - a very seductive garment. On my feet I wore Pop Socks, thickish knitted material with rubber bumps on the sole to ensure I can tackle steep gradients. I didn't shave and this was perhaps the most significant sign I had temporarily moved into a different world; I always shave; I hate the bristliness otherwise.

Strong wind had partially knocked over the bird table in the garden; I observed this through the French windows and let it be. Later the Wine Society delivered £250-worth of wine and I let that be too, didn't put it away. I downloaded a popular thriller - on offer at 99 p - to my Kindle and sluffed around the whole of the day. "I need this sluffing," I told myself. I tried rewriting my novel and a page took over two hours, my mind dog-paddling through porridge.

Let me repeat: this post is about the reduced standards, self-pity and defeat that arrive with invalidism. Next day I wasn't much better but I dressed and shaved. Put away the wine. Did the washing up. Became a slightly stooped but recognisable version of my rackety self. Told VR horror stories about my youth when my parents broke up.

Moral: Put your faith - if you have any - in antibiotics


  1. I'm all for a bit of raging.

    Wouldn't a long hot bath have been beneficial?

  2. Now my comment is enigmatic.

    I find self pity usually leads me to indulgence rather than defeatism and reduction of standards.

  3. Sir Hugh: A hot bath did help but was too mundane to mention and would have interfered with the theme I was developing. I realised by deleting the DT quote (Far too obvious.) I was endowing you with unearned mystery. Briefly I considered apologising but finally decided you could use more of this quality anyway.

  4. As I sit before the computer at work, my nose alternately dripping and clogging up, my voice sounding more and more like an oceanside fog horn, while my chest feels on fire from lungs trying to expel their buckets of yuckiness in one spasmodic symphony, I thank modern science for the azithromycin coursing through my body, waging holy war against the germs/bacteria/viruses trying to do me in...all the while feeling deep empathy, sympathy and comradeship with you in your battles with the Bugs of Death.

    Get well, dear friend!

    (PS: I need a robe like yours, but in royal purple plaid instead of blue.)

  5. The Crow: In my case something similar: clarithomycin. My GP had given me an "open" prescription, valid for six months and renewable thereafter but my snottering (A West Riding word) had driven that fact from my mind. It was VR who reminded me and she who went out and got the drugs. I'll swear, within two hours of taking the first capsule on the second day I sensed beneficial changes. A long course of 24 pills, and you have to take every one to avoid relapses, but I'll be there.

    Incidentally there have been scare stories about antibiotics, that they shouldn't be prescribed for minor ailments such as we are suffering (Ha-bloody-ha) Because there may come a day when we need their effects for something far worse and we may have used up their efficacy. My answer to that is at 77 I've lived longer than I deserve and I'll wrestle with that problem when and if it arrives. In the meantime I'll use the stuff as if it were aspirin.

    The robe. I'd send you one but it would be summer before it arrives. Are you familiar with the term "fleece" - a furry material made out of receycled 2-litre pop bottles. The point is I have a very expensive dressing gown in conventional material but it weighs a ton. It's the lightness (together with its thermal efficiency) of fleece that makes it so charming. But I suspect it won't be called "fleece" in the USA. Given its origins it's quite cheap too.

    Sorry that you're having work through all of this. For me that would have been a killer. At one point unproductive coughing spasms were occurring at 2-min intervals and they left the inside of my chest cavity feeling quite reamed out.

    Glad we could commiserate.

  6. Fleece and antibiotics, two of the many Devil's bargains of our time one is heartily grateful for.

    Don't kid yourself about the plastic bottles; the only fleece made from those is to be found at exorbitant cost, purely as a gesture, in charity catalogues for those with eco-sensibilities and deep pockets and a commensurate queasy conscience. All the rest comes straight from petro-chemical source from factories in vast dystopic mega-cities where the sun no longer shines through the pollutant fog in the PRC.

    My knowledge of this does not in any way diminish my pleasure in the blue fleece robe I have,the very shade of that of the Virgin in la Belle Verriere in Chartres cathedral. As well as the colour, the superiority of this garment lies in the fact it has no central opening, but pulls on over the head, with a hood and a large pouch pocket on the front. Something about having to bunch one's dressing gown up and hold it closed with a belt or cord can just tip one from snuggle to squalor, I find. And the pouch pocket is just the right size for the Kindle, as well as abundant tissues if required. In fact I bought two before Leclerc discontinued them so I could have one on one off.

    I'm inclined to think stuffing farm animals full of 'preventative' antibiotics to make up for sub-standard hygiene, and the consequent leaching of these into the water table is probably more blameworthy than taking them for bronchitis.

    Glad to her you're on the mend, thanks for gallant communication in the face of your indisposition!

  7. We know fleece over here. I especially like Polar Fleece, but it costs a lot more. The lighter weight, less-costly type works just fine.

    Looking on-line for a robe like yours.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  8. Lucy: Good grief, I thought I packed my post with detail (and opinion) but I'm several versts behind. Almost like having a private descant service, singing at a higher, more intense level.

    And there's a forsooth coming up. Seems you've not only made your pact with the devil but you're backing those at the other end of the Cerulean line too - prepared even to go the Roman Candle route. Leaving you moving sinisterly round the house like a hoodie, whom David Cameron (admittedly at the beginning of his primeministership) urged us all to hug. Do people hug you, dressed like this? I don't mean Tom and Mol but le facteur and the man who empties the fosse septique.

    With your pocket suitable for carrying a Kindle plus tissues you have brought invalidism out of squalor and raised it to professional level. It will be stained glass for you at Chartres when, proof against all pulmonary affliction, you choke on a Belon Supérieur and are immediately beatified.

    With a motto: Illness shouldn't mean losing one's style.

    Crow: My dressing gown, a gift from Occasional Speeder, cost about £30 - £40, I think. And the pound's being going down against the dollar. Go to your doctor and ask him to prescribe one for you.

  9. Sorry you have been unwell and hope things are now improving.

    At present the blood pressure tablets I am taking reduce me to a feeling of being under a chemical cosh, but Mrs Avus continues to bully me into them (you know all about ex-nurses, of course).

    I almost thought that your dressing gown description would continue' "Mine has a hood, and I lay in bed/and I pull the hood right over my head............"

  10. Avus: The AA Milne quote was beautifully picked up. I am sure Lucy will appreciate it as much as I did.