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How To Survive A Life Threatening Case Of The Sniffles

Gregory HOUSE

"It's most definitely fatal. Only grapes can save you now."

I’m ill. Not so ill that anyone’s going to have to rush out and buy a new dour looking black suit but ill enough to feel thoroughly sorry for myself, as pathetic as a kitten with a dairy allergy and to have taken up residence under a duvet, clutching a bedraggled looking tissue (not in the way teenage boys do after lights out, get your mind out the gutter!). I have the sniffles.

My flatmate has had the excellent foresight to leave the country for the week and so I’m relegated to solo-moping. If I’d had the energy to lift a mascara wand then I would have dragged my sorry carcass into the office so that I could get maximum sympathy from at least one other human soul. This would have backfired, mind you, and I would have spread the lurgy to all who ventured near enough to mop my fevered brow and administer pitying words of support. If you share germs, you also have to share the sympathy as those around you fall into a similar state of mucusy disarray and then all you’re left with is resentment. Far safer to stay at home and attempt to save myself and here’s how.*

First off, I’m going to need supplies. If you have a willing nursemaid for your snot-centric confinement then send them forth with your demands while you nestle. if, like me, you’re suffering solo, you need to shuffle to the shop yourself (pitiful tissue still in hand, to indicate to all that you’re ill and don’t actually look something from The Dark Crystal under normal circumstances). What to get from the shop? Simple. All the comforting things your mother used to administer when you were a sickly child.

Lucozade, grapes, orange juice, chicken soup, Olbas Oil and Lemsip. Nothing but these substances will save you now.

Actually, science has since taught us that the magic ingredient in Lucozade is nothing but sugar so you may as well just get any fizzy sugar-laden drink, and that vitamin C only works to help build up your immune system to prevent a cold so unless you were chugging the OJ for months in advance, you may as well stick to water for it’s hydration purposes. The chicken soup thing is true, though maybe not of the cream laden cans of gelatinous goo.

Olbas Oil and Lemsip. Hmmm, well, one just smells so vile that it clears your nose and the other tastes vile because it’s a citrus flavoured paracetamol drink.

So, I leave the shop with; Diet Coke (I may be ill but that’s no reason to get fat!Look, it’s fizzy, ok?), cream of chicken soup (I may be ill but that’s no reason to diet and hey, they don’t stock Jewish mothers in Tesco!!), some bleach (nostril melting smell) and basic own-brand paracetamol (just add hot water and a squirt of lemony furniture polish). Some slight improvisations there but I’ve pretty much stuck to the rules.

Oh, and grapes. Since the dawn of time we’ve been making people eat grapes for anything from a broken leg to pneumonia and no one knows why so I daren’t muck around with alternatives, it’s just not worth the risk.

I also like to add balm-coated tissues to the list in order to avoid ending up with a nose that looks like it belongs to a clown with a cocaine problem. If you’re skiving and want to look more genuinely afflicted, stick to budget loo paper. Or a cheese grater.

The laws of lurgy now dictate that I should return to the sofa, crumple in a graceless heap and moan about how I should never have tried to be brave and walk 3 minutes down the road to the shop. Moaning to myself you understand, as all my friends and family are busy getting on with their non-sneeze related lives. In my head, they’ve all gone to a water park and are eating ice cream while The Beach Boys play in the background, or the office has had a surprise visit from Jack Nicholson and Julia Roberts asking them to be in a film for the day and are celebrating with Champagne and cake. Bastards. I’m going to need a nap to get over it.

In fact, naps are a key. As a child, if you were well enough to stay awake through an entire episode of Tom and Jerry then you were well enough to go back to school.  Frequently drifting off in front of daytime television is essential to the recovery process and even more essential in avoiding feeling like you should go to work.  Hey, it works for thousands of old people!!!

Between falling in and out of a chat show induced coma and eating so many grapes I feel sick (or could that be the home made hot lemon drink?) I get the overwhelming urge that we all get in times of crisis, to do the one thing that we know will make everything right and end our suffering; to call mother for her loving words of kindness and soothing magical advice.

“Hello dear, you’ve got a cold? Well, drink lots of water, get some rest and stop snivelling. Must dash, we’re all off to a water park with Jack Nicholson.”

What was I thinking?! This is a woman who held the basic rule that you were only allowed home from school if you’d actually projectile vomited on your teacher and at least one of your ears had fallen off!

Hmph. I’m taking my grapes to work in the morning.

*Disclaimer: It is a well documented fact that there is no medical cure for Man Flu. Well, maybe a shotgun.

About prettyfeetpoptoe

I live in London and have both my own legs so I am fortunate enough to get out and about on occasion. I form many views on the things that I see and do and love nothing better than a session of linguistic gymnastics in order to share these views.

37 responses »

  1. I curious what you’d be doing if you have (gasp!) a cold!

  2. The bleach technique really works. My favorite tactic is to clean the bathroom (heavy on the bleach) and then take a long, scalding hot shower.

    • Wow, and there was I thinking I was going to have to add a health and safety disclaimer.

      This could explain a lot about your artwork… 😉

      • Hmmm… Well you’re probably right, but I’ll have you know that those drawings are a product of an inordinate amount of alcohol and spare time and nothing else. Oh yeah, and bleach-induced hallucinations. I almost forgot about those. 😛

  3. I have never heard of this grape treatment. Is this a British thing? But you are right; there is little worse than the achy schlep to the store to buy up all things sicky and communicate to the outside world that you are a festering pool of viral infection. Hope you rebound soon.

    • You mean to tell me that no-one has ever brought a bunch of grapes to your bedside in times of ill health?! Dear god, it’s a miracle you’ve survived this long!

      I recommend a blood test. You’re probably suffering grape deficiency.

  4. Fermented grapes will do the trick!

  5. Was it a Tesco Metro you went to? Cream of Chicken soup only? My Tesco does hot chicken to take away and could probably be blended up to a soupy consistency! The other home remedy that I hear works is a shot of neat white rum with a squeeze of lime (and ditto soaked into the top of your head!). I’m sure there’s plenty of other wacky ‘cures’ out there!

  6. Ha ha this was funny!! You handle well unlike me who cries and writes and re writes her will

  7. I would have to agree with the fermented grapes technique! And I too have never heard of grapes as a cold remedy. Interesting.

    • I can’t believe you guys have never been given grapes when you’re ill?! It doesn’t have to be for a cold, it could be when you’ve had your appendix out or a broken leg. It’s almost the law here in England that you get given a bunch of grapes, as though they have some magical healing property.

      I’m feeling a little better today so I’m going to move on to the fermented grape therapy. I’m sure it’s essential to a full recovery.

  8. Blueberries have a lot of antioxidants. Might I suggest lots of rest, hottie totties (the drink with hot tea and whiskey) and “sweating it out”? You must be miserable…colds (double gasp!) are the pits!

    When are you going to write a book? I think that should be included on your bucket list dear sick one….

    • My father used to make the old hot toddy beverages when I was a wee nipper (when mother wasn’t looking, obviously) and I’m pretty sure I spent most of my sick days in a very happy boozy coma. Excellent parenting.

      A book?! You mean, like, lots of of pages of words? Crikey, I’m not sure I have one of those in me. I definitely want to be a columnist though and I have a bottle of Napa Valley’s finest Champagne on ice for the day I get my inane babble in print.

  9. I hate when I catch a cold or flu. Come to think of it, I have never heard anyone say, ” I love being ill.”

    Hope you feel better soon.

    • Being ill sucks and you know full well that no-one reeeeeally wants to look after you. It’s a very lonely occupation. I think I’m going to quit now.

      • Missy Amber

        Nooooo – me me me – I want to be ill. I’m gagging for a proper temperature/lung swamp/vomit explosion (but not a rash – gives me the heebie jeebies). It’s the only time I’ll get for the next 5 years to lie in bed eating grapes, sipping warm lucozade and watching my Buffy box set. The whole family seem to specialise in contracting mummy-proof viruses, so I just do the rounds of tending to them all until we can wash the plague Xs from the front door.

        • 5 years? Wishful thinking, Missy! You have two children, you’ve got at least 15 years before you’re allowed the self indulgence of The Sniffles. I, on the other hand, have none and thus I’m able to enjoy the benefits of grapes and box sets.

          I have also bought a re-usable stick-on plastic plague cross for the front door. You can get them from the places that sell Christmas door wreaths at the ‘other’ 8 months of the year.

  10. man flu (~_~) chuckles, and I love grapes

    • Man flu is no laughing matter. We should probably start a telethon for the poor sufferers there will be this year. (The sufferers are the wives and girlfriends).

  11. All of your posts are such enjoyable reads. Thanks!!

  12. Great grapes! This is just too too funny.

  13. Awesome sense of humor! Really enjoyed reading it. And hope you are out of it now..

  14. Great title! My wife has been sick for a month! She REALLY wishes she was a vampire now…

  15. I TOTALLY eat grapes when I’m sick! Never the purple ones…only green ones and occasionally the pink ones, but only if they’ve been in the freezer for a bit first. In dire cases of withdrawal, I turn to applesauce. But Dahling, if you have Hugh Laurie, who needs all that??!

    • Apple sauce? Now there’s a new one. And people across the pond thought I was weird with the grape thing!

      Is it wrong that I would gladly stay ill if it meant Hugh Lawrie being mean to me?

      • People on this side of the pond think I’m weird all the time! It’s great 🙂

        I think “Hugh Laurie” and “wrong” are synonymous…hence the puddle-drooling love.


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