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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.

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