Friday, 20 January 2017

three steps forward, two back

Alas, whatever bug I have had has lodged in my chest.  I have been hacking away since the New Year with what is rather disgustingly known as a productive cough, and by yesterday afternoon it was letting me know that there was still an underlying infection associated with that cough.  Cue lassitude, tight chest, prickling face, sore throat, and the sinking realisation that there was nothing to be done except rest indoors in front of the Aga or the stove with a regular supply of warm drinks. And there was me actually daring to arrange to meet some friends next week for coffee. Fortunately I probably can't go too far wrong sitting in the cafe at the Acorn Village for an hour, drinking coffee and maybe eating a cake if everybody isn't on a New Year diet, but it is getting very demoralising.  Today was a beautiful, calm, sunny day, the garden is full of jobs that need doing, and I didn't do any of them except check the mousetrap by the hyacinths in the greenhouse.  It had another mouse in it, and the hyacinth leaves had been chewed.

This is the stage at which in the good old days one would have gone to the doctor, demanding a prescription for antibiotics 'in case there was a secondary bacterial infection' and the GP would probably have acquiesced, in case there was and to get one out of the surgery.  Nowadays with doctors acutely aware of the looming threat of widespread antibiotic resistance, and health boards monitoring practice's prescribing habits, there is little point.  The NHS does not want to see people who have had a mild chest infection for a few weeks following flu, in the absence of other exciting symptoms like unexplained weight loss.  There is no evidence to say that I have any bacterial infection.  And antibiotics are fierce things.

I have been to see my GP a couple of times in the past decade requesting antibiotics, once when I'd been bitten on the wrist by a stray cat and again when I lodged a thorn deep in my knuckles while weeding around a rose.  I didn't like the look of the rose wound as soon as I'd done it, and nor did the doctor.  I was sent on my way with a week's supply of pills big enough for a horse, and a warning to seek medical attention immediately if red streaks started appearing up my arm.  I took the full course of pills, and red streaks did not appear up my arm, and I was very grateful to have escaped a series of progressively higher amputations before dying of blood poisoning anyway, but the pills made me feel rotten.  Really, really down.  It's a bad idea to start randomly killing off bits of your gut flora unless you have to, since it is intimately linked to your mental state as well as your digestion.  And while I have a weak chest my digestion is absolutely splendid.

So there is nothing to be done except drink tea and take things very easy until I feel better or the weather warms up, and the weather is not going to warm up any time soon.  I was going to take a turn with the cooking, instead of which the Systems Administrator volunteered to carry on until next week and set off to the supermarket while I sat in the kitchen reading gardening magazines and playing with Mr Fluffy.  Meanwhile I am painfully aware of all the things outside that need pruning, weeding, tying up and cutting back, and that I still haven't dosed the bees for varroa.  It is all very, very dull.

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