It’s Monday afternoon, and I haven’t taken these pyjamas off since Saturday evening.
As I think I mentioned, I vowed not to take a single day off in January, and succeeded. But my body clearly decided to get its own back, and I’ve spent most of February so far being ill. I’ve had the most horrible cold since last week, and have been taking days off left right and centre. And it really is nothing worse than a cold – I can’t pretend it’s swine flu, or even just normal flu. But it’s the kind of cold that makes my head ache, and my skin crawl, and my throat feel like I’m coughing up hedgehogs. So as well as feeling pretty bloody rotten, I’m beating myself up about being soft enough to take time off work with ‘just a cold’, and going stir-crazy cooped up in my flat, because I’m not used to being sedentary for longer than 10 hours at a stretch.
Illness is inextricably tied up with guilt for me. I start feeling guilty when I have to call my controller at 8am and explain that I’m not coming in. I always assume that they won’t believe I’m really ill, and will think I’m just having a duvet day. And last week they were really short-staffed, so even if they did believe me, they were still very sniffy about my taking time off. One of the managers phoned me up on Wednesday afternoon, to make sure I’d come in the next morning, and I hadn’t actually planned to, but I’m easily guilt-tripped, and I know hardly anyone else comes in at 8, so I said I would.
I also feel guilty about sitting around doing nothing – and somehow harbour the delusion that anything that’s wrong with me can be cured by going out on my bike and riding really fast. And it’s true – sometimes minor ailments can be flushed out of your system with a bit of vigorous exercise. But the trick is distinguishing these from the slightly more serious ailments, that will end up lasting a week if you don’t take a couple of days off right away to let them die down. And this is one of the latter. I had Wednesday off, then worked Thursday, and was feeling incredibly rough by the time I went to bed. Guilt forced me out of bed and into work on Friday, but by 10am I was getting dizzy and shaky, and had to call in sick and limp home, where I’ve been pretty much ever since.
And now it’s Monday, and I’m still too ill to work, and going stir-crazy. It’s horrible. I feel all cooped-up and stuffy, and am desperate to get out of the flat and get my heart and lungs going – but I’m also still feeling shaky and headachey, and my throat hurts so much I can barely talk, and I know that anything more than the slowest trudge around the park will just make me worse. I’ve got plenty to eat (lovely friends have been bringing me cake), but no way of burning it off, so it’s all just sitting in my stomach, and I’m longing to get back to riding around at 20mph all day, eating thousands of calories for breakfast and being hungry again by 11am.
I’m rather tempted to go for a (v e r y s l o w) swim. It’ll probably set me back a bit, but that surely has to be balanced by how much it’ll improve my mood. Hmmmmm…