Sooo sick. It’s been like a series of four or five different diseases, each with different symptoms. At the moment, a cough – throat raw and painful, and that tickle that precedes a coughing bout, and worst of all, for some reason the particular spot where I am feeling the itch to cough isn’t scratched by the coughing. Everything else is beat to shit, flaps of tender, irritated pharyngeal flesh flayed freshly raw with each bout of helpless hacking, but that one spot somewhere in my throat, that one complaining nerve untouched.
Tonsils hurt. Hurt, hurt, hurt. For a week now. I imagine them half full of blood and pus, ready to burst. I dread swallowing. Hot coffee seems to soothe them, but never for long. Yeah, I’ve gargled with salt water. Yeah, I’ve taken zinc. Went to the chemist – just about every painkiller is ibuprofen based, which is exactly what I don’t want, the tissue in my throat more relaxed to flap around painfully when I cough. I found some paracetamol and some asprin. Asprin – the first wonder drug. Sadly underrated, but I’m a fan. When I was a child, I knew a woman who was addicted, “taking a powder” a few times a day. Way to get bleeding stomach ulcers.
Nights are the worst, of course. Cold, cold, cold. It’s snowing at the ANU, and I live in a shitty uninsulated flat. So cheap! No shit it’s cheap. Can’t sleep. The air is icy razors, and when I relax to sleep, it’s cough time. I’m pulling the sheet over my head to rebreathe warm, humidified air. I’m wearing layers of clothing. I’m running a ceramic blow heater, freshly bought. I have had an oil column heater for ages. It does nothing. Cold runs down the walls, it cascades in a torrent from the window, an invisible, icy cataract. I have fitted a layer of plastic inside the window, making my place look like a drug den, to try to hold back the cold. It does nothing.
Mum died around this time of year.
I suppose a lot of people living alone must do. I lie in bed, waiting for the next coughing fit, my feet still cold in socks under the blankets and wonder if I am going to die like a homeless person, sick and killed by exposure while laying in my own bed in a flat that I rent. If not this year, maybe next year. I’ll be fifty, you know.
It’s been shit, guys.