On sick

I come from a family where sickness was something you got on with. You stayed in bed, out of everyone’s way, or if you could get up, then you went to school or work or whatever was normal. So I don’t really do being off sick – the migraine day a couple of weeks ago was a rare exception. This week I’ve had flu; for four days I had a bad sore throat and felt as if I’d been hit by a truck; then followed an upset tummy, and now I’ve got the cold symptoms.

But – I had stuff to do, and so I did it. Probably stupid, but I would have felt worse if I haven’t, and modern cold and flu remedies are pretty good (although not as good as Contac 400 – remember that? Why can’t you get it any more? It was like magic. )

On Sunday and Monday I was fine. The rehearsal went well, although it was a bit disappointing that my new actor couldn’t make it; he has promised to come today. Monday was the last day at the school in Wolverhampton – hooray all round, except that a lorry on fire had closed two lanes of the M5 and my journey took two hours longer than usual, so I missed all of the first class. They split the kids between my remaining two classes, which was a great relief – I thought they might ask me to come in again. The two other writers on the project and I celebrated with some fish and chips, and jolly nice they were too. This has not been the best school project I’ve been involved in, and to be honest I’m glad it’s over.

Tuesday was catch-up day. Theoretically. Unfortunately, it was also car MOT day, and when it failed that delayed everything; and having to go to bed twice because I felt so ill delayed things a bit too.

But the next day I had to go to the prison, however bad I felt, because of a review meeting – me, my line manager, my buddy, a rep from the Arts Council and one of the directors of the Writers in Prison network. It was all fine, although I didn’t say as much as I would normally have done – probably not a bad thing. And the newsletter was printed and sent out (with the mistake in it that of course I only spotted after all the printing was done). And then I started a new group. The week before 5 names were down for this group. Two were released last week, and one didn’t turn up; but the two that were left were terrific, really putting everything into their writing and saying how much they had learned straight away. I came out of the session feeling pleased, only to find that one of the two was being shipped to a different prison the next day. Rats! One isn’t much of a group.

And then the really daft part of the week started. I had to be in Liverpool on Thursday, so planned to stay with my mum on the Wirral; but first was the Ledbury Poetry Festival AGM in, er,  Ledbury. So – I drove all the way down to Ledbury, then all the way to my mum’s. Thursday was a Steering Group meeting in Halewood (which was fine except that the M53 was closed, and I had to take a long detour), and then a meeting with my Blackpool rep for the North West project. In Blackpool. And then home. I stopped for little naps fairly often, but I was still pretty tired when I got home.

And on Friday, finally, I gave in and didn’t go to work. I would have done, but Friday was supposed to be with cancer patients and carers. People who are having treatment for cancer typically have greatly reduced resistance to infection, and to work with them while suffereing from a nasty bout of flu would not be showing reliability or conscientiousness; it would be stupid. So I had a day at home, still not catching up much because I still felt bad. But I did answer loads of emails and real mails too, and finished putting together a book of prison poetry.

Other people’s illnesses are boring, so I apologise for this week’s blog; but I’m bored with feeling ill, and I want it to go away. I’ve got another stupidly busy week next week, and I can do without sickness. Be off with you, I say, foul flu!

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