Uninvited guests

Well that week didn’t quite pan out as expected.

Friends came round for dinner on Tuesday evening and I did my best to play the genial host but I was struggling with a throat that was so painful that even drinking wine was an effort. Now that’s painful! I assumed that I had ulcers in my throat, something I do suffer from occasionally, but it turned out that while Gill and I had invited two friends for dinner, my body was entertaining a whole crowd of uninvited guests of the streptococci bacterial variety. In other words, I had tonsillitis. It was an interesting if unpleasant week so I thought I would document it.

At some indeterminate moment I had been attacked by the beastly and seriously unfriendly bacteria and as it made its way into my mouth and attempted to breach my defences, alarms bells had sounded calling my body’s immune system to arms. In my mind my throat was the defensive drawbridge and portcullis of a splendid English castle with my immune system mustering bravely inside the walls while the invading army threw everything it had at the barricades. From what I have read of these situations there is always a lot of fire, boiling oil, flying rocks and multitudes of arrows involved which explains why my throat felt like it did since it was bearing the brunt of both attack and defence. It should have been a straightforward skirmish in which the brave armies of my immune system despatched the enemy clinically and quickly, leaving me with no more than a sore throat and the benefit of being able to play the sympathy card for a day or two and maybe get out of the washing up.

The problem with war is that it never sticks to the program and it only takes one unexpected flap of the butterfly’s wings to turn the outcome on its head. In this case the course of events was probably disrupted by a rogue mercenary army that entered the battlefield a little while after our dinner party. You see I was still under the illusion that the pain in my throat was caused by ulcers so I cleverly adopted a strategy of numbing the offending area with copious amounts of red wine. Of course, when that didn’t work my wine fuddled brain simply came up with the unimaginative solution of simply drinking more quickly. Eventually, I didn’t know, or care, if the strategy was working or not as we abandoned the dishes to the morning and collapsed into bed and blissful sleep. Or so I thought.

Meanwhile: back at the scene of the main battle. The immune system has called up every able bodied man woman and child in the land to fight the evil invaders when a message reaches the commanders that a second army of drunken, venomous mercenaries is approaching the liver, hell bent on death and destruction. Several divisions are quickly despatched to deal with this new threat which, it turns out, I had stupidly invited in thinking they would help the situation. (Part of the army was even made up of the highly respected Chateauneuf brigade no less) Back at the gates of the castle, the now struggling defences are crumbling and despite heavy losses those evil Streptococcus bugs are just using the bodies of their dead colleagues to build a bridge over the walls. It’s a scene straight out of hell with pain and suffering everywhere you look and that is the point at which I woke up.

I thought I was dying. My throat was so swollen I was having difficulty breathing normally and the pain was terrible. It was as if I had swallowed a toasted cactus plant that had somehow developed the ability to samba dance. The remainder of the night was like some kind of taster evening for those considering a future in hell and it turned out to be a telling introduction to how the next six days would go. I’m sure it wasn’t really that bad but things always seem worse at night don’t they?

I’m better now. After six days of torture I gave in and went to the doctor. She prescribed the anti-bacterial equivalent of the SAS which just marched right in there and destroyed everything in its path. The evil bugs are gone, along with most of the friendly ones too I suspect, but at least I can get back to enjoying the basics in life now. You know; things like swallowing, eating and talking without wincing and winging all the time. Oh and sleeping at night, that turns out to be under-rated too, until you haven’t been able to do it for a few days.

Spot the correct medication

Spot the correct medication

There was half a bottle of red wine left over from the dinner party and it’s been sitting on the shelf mocking me for my stupidity all week. I poured it down the sink last night (it was off, don’ t worry I haven’t gone mad) and as it disappeared down the plughole I was reminded to pay a bit more attention to my body next time something like this happens. Red wine, in its many forms, is a truly wonderful thing but as a cure for tonsillitis it’s rubbish.

Red wine, snow and a conundrum

Dear UK government, I would like to apologise but I appear to have used up about two weeks of my allotted alcohol allowance in one evening. I’m very sorry.

Our good friend J came round for dinner last night and whilst we were eating Gill’s rich but still healthy chicken and squash cacciatore; decreasing stress hormones and increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies by laughing hysterically and generally having a very wonderful evening, we drank an awful lot of wine. Oh well, rules wouldn’t be rules if they didn’t get broken now and again would they?

Anyway, notwithstanding any long term damage, I appear to have got off quite lightly and a bacon butty and a good walk in the snow have restored something close to a feeling of general wellbeing.

While we were out on our walk a car slowed down alongside us and the driver made arm waving motions which I took to mean “do you want a lift?” I made arm waving motions back that could easily be interpreted as, “No thanks we are just having a stroll on this lovely snowy winter’s morning to blow away the cobwebs which have formed due to an over indulgence of red wine last night.” He didn’t seem to understand so he stopped, wound down his window and said, “Do you want a lift somewhere?” How nice is that? I’m sure he was genuine because he didn’t offer us sweets or anything. Anyway I declined, explaining that we were just having a walk without bothering to go into the details about the cobwebs and the wine. As he drove off we were infused by a warm glow induced by that ‘kindness of strangers’ thing that reminds you that the world is actually quite a nice place.

That’s all I have for today apart from the need to share something with you that has been bothering me for quite a while now. I generally love the English language for its complexity, versatility and occasionally downright quirkiness but can somebody please explain this for me:

If cannot becomes can’t and does not becomes doesn’t, if is not is isn’t and did not is didn’t, if could not becomes couldn’t and would not wouldn’t, had not hadn’t and has not hasn’t then why oh why is will not not willn’t?

And here’s picture of a very chilly Ribble Estuary from this morning’s walk.

WinterRibble1

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