This weekend both the boy and I have been grounded by a pretty nasty bout of tonsilitis. I used to get it quite a bit when I was a student, most notably during my first year exams. Having to miss one because my throat went an illuminous shade of yellow meant I needed to drag myself down to UCLH A&E department. The triage and doctor both made a physical repulsion after having examined my throat. It seemed that I had left the tonsilitis festering for so long that it had developed into something else.
I didn’t even know tonsilitis could develop into something else. But there I was, sitting behind a curtain being told I would have to stay in over night on a drip because my throat was so bad. My friends, who had kindly accompanied me on the trip, were waiting patiently on the other side, presumably hoping they’d steered clear of my room for long enough to not have caught the virus themselves.
My natural response to a hospital stay was to burst into a fit of tears and proclaim a fear of needles. My trypanophobia was put in its place some years later by a very no nonsense midwife at the Whittington, when I was in labour: “Don’t be ridiculous. No one actually likes needles.” I liked that midwife.
However, back when I was 19 and living on my own in London, the option was 10 giant pills a day or a drip. I chose the pills. I have never had a virus quite that viscious again but this weekend felt almost as enduring with my son suffering his second bout at the same time.
He was in bed with us for two nights, something guaranteed to bring about exhaustion and a black eye. My husband declared himself too ill to get up at 6am on the first morning of my illness so I took on the dressing and breakfasting of a very grumpy toddler in the knowledge I would get two lie-ins on the following days. Alas, my husband’s illness was of the temporary, self-inflicted type from watching the England game the night before. Not realising that when I said “I feel like crap, my throat wants to cave in”, I actually meant ‘I am ill so get up and do the parenting today’, he did feel more than a little guilty later on when he emerged from the bedroom to find me shivering on the sofa to ill to turn off the infuriating kids programmes.
Two days of sleep seems to have sorted it out and the boy has recovered back to his normal cheery self. I still felt guilty for being ill, as thought I am no longer allowed to be but thankfully this time someone was here to offer sympathy and help.
Although I would like to point out my Mother’s take on both these events.
When I was 19 and living in London for the first time: “You’ve been in hospital? For tonsilitis? Well maybe if you went to Sheffield University instead of London and came on the family holiday this week, you wouldn’t have caught tonsilitis. And I am sure it wasn’t really necessary to go to the hospital, the doctors can sort that sort of thing out, you know.”
Then this week: “Poor love (directed at my son). Well you do get ill a lot (directed at me).”