Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Benefits of Being Ill

Seemingly weeks after I last caught the non-life-threatening, yet terribly annoying 'plague', my immune system has once again been attacked by violent pathogens who seem hellbent on giving me an awful start to the new year. Cut a long story short, I've got a cold - and I hate everything about it.

Is it really that surprising that I reserve more hatred for the sniffles than football which, unlike a seasonal cold, affects my day-to-day life for nine months at a time, or do I have go into extremely yucky detail to prove my point? Colds turn you into red-faced, weakened babies whose lives revolve around the next dose of Calpol and bowls of chicken noodle soup: like a watch running out of battery, my world comes to an abrupt halt because routine is suddenly disrupted. Disruption is one of my definite pet hates and, as I've learnt this week, you are never immune from it - regardless of the circumstances.

On Monday, my symptoms - blocked nose, painfully burning throat and the like - were beginning to show themselves in their true colours which, sadly for me, were in the form of a high temperature and a lack of sleep. I'd been tossing and turning in bed the night before, whilst burning up like an overheated glass of milk. There was no doubt that I didn't feel well at all, but I'd promised myself the day before that I'd go to school. Too often in the past, I've dismissed learning whenever I felt myself coming down with a slight cold, and would spend the day feeling sorry for myself, swimming in a miserable sea of self-pity. Not exactly the best way to cheer yourself up, is it?

Now I'm a bit older and wiser, I really didn't want to waste a precious day of learning for the sake of boasting about how under the weather I was at home; as many people find, keeping myself occupied usually works wonders. Therefore, as pain sliced through me like a knife chopping a vegetable when I woke up on Monday morning, I managed to slip into my school uniform and somewhat stick to my normal routine - just about. Within minutes, I was fighting to sit down and close my eyes because the fatigue was more overpowering than I'd ever remembered: even when I've only managed an hour or two's sleep in the past, I had never felt so sickened or weak in my life. All the strength that I regularly took for granted had slipped through my fingers, escaping like a criminal on the run: I couldn't do anything.

As time wore on, I found it harder to walk up the stairs and even remain standing, which would be a massive challenge when walking to and from classes at school in a few hours' time. It finally came to a head when I couldn't - and really could not bring myself to do it - dry and style my wet hair, falling onto my bed in an exhausted heap. Losing track of time, I stayed there for over an hour - and didn't go to school. When I woke up a while later, my heart pounded with relief, grateful to not face a day in which I would've stalked the school grounds like a brainless zombie - how could my ghostly self have used her brains?

Then, having slept brilliantly, I went back to school the following day - just as my blocked nose was beginning to establish its new home. My lessons were defined by the noise of my sniffling, a sound which revolted me as I felt so unhygienic: could there be a more obvious way of advertising your illness? Still, I stuck it out, hoping that the worst would be over, and had no doubts over returning yesterday.

Well, let's spare you the most unpleasant details and cut to the chase: yesterday didn't live up to the dreams that I'd had in store for it. From literally the onset, my throat was having its final bonfire while the cold wrecked havoc in my nose, which kept streaming like the River Thames. Wanting to be the strong one, I tried my hardest to ignore it - preferring denial to dealing with the problem - but I found it harder and harder to do so as the day wore on at school.

When I struggled to write anything other than gibberish in English, I knew that I'd had the final straw. If this stupid illness was getting in the way of my work, I had to face it head on - even if it meant giving it the attention that it selfishly craved. Devastatingly, I made an on-the-spot decision to go home halfway through the day. Maybe I might have had the courage to stick it out for a few more hours if I hung around for lunch, but I had grown sick of fighting - I needed a break.

Since then, I've been having a break at home which, one day in, I'm already tired of. Despite not fancying any work, I don't like the thought of doing very little either - ugh, the curse of being caught in between! Personally, I wish that I could fall into a deep sleep and remain so until all these mean-hearted pathogens leave my immune system: time goes by very slowly before you reach that point, by then you will have had enough. End of. I'm both mentally and physically tired of dealing with this cold, which first presented itself last Saturday - WHEN will it leave me alone?

Although illness presents more issues than you can bear to think of, there are one or two benefits of being a bit poorly which, as a smart-thinking teenager, I've already discovered the advantages of. If I don't feel like watching TV or reading a book, all that I can do is think... of ways to make me happier, such as...

1. Persuading your parents for practically anything
No parent likes to hear their precious princess moaning about her reddened nose, so they are eager to wash away the teenage blues at any cost - which certainly comes in handy when you really need a pick-me-up. From DVDs to Oreo cheesecake, very little is off limits when you're ill!

2. Nobody else will hog the TV
Ever wanted to watch TV in the evening but couldn't because of your WWE-obsessed brother? While he is struggling through gruelling tests at school, you have the honour of catching up with your favourite programmes during daylight hours, where you can slouch on the sofa like a proper queen! And, if your parents are still in the mood to cheer you up, they might even let you bring some food and drink into the living room...

3. Sleep is your best friend 
Say goodbye to ridiculously early starts and pleas from your parents to get out of bed on time - in fact, you'll be encouraged to stay in bed for much longer than usual! If only I had the pleasure of sleeping under the covers until 10am every school morning!

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