This is Not the Post I Thought I’d Write

I’ve had a post written and almost ready to publish for a few weeks now. Obviously, this is isn’t it.

I wanted to tell you that travel had gone a little on the backburner, but how finally finding the fun in getting fit (seriously), along with a serious new passion for home cooking thanks to my recently purchased must have gadget – the Instant Pot, has filled a void left by a lack of flight funds. Instead I find I’m telling you about the worst couple of weeks I’ve had in years.

Current representation of mealtimes.

There are always bugs going about at this time of year, and those of us with small, sticky children who attend some form of daycare are usually better acquainted with them than most. And so I tell you, whatever I got infected with in this round has been a corker. For weeks the cough has been bothering me (and everyone else who happens to have been in earshot of me), but last week, the germs went next level.

I had some work commitments I really didn’t want to drop out of, so I cracked on, coughing and feeling like shit. By the weekend I was crying over the counter at the kindness of the lovely Irish pharmacist in Tesco who called me darlin’ and gave me the easy to swallow painkillers before telling me to get some good ice cream on my way out. She was my antibiotics angel.

The evil tonsilitis that haunted my childhood and uni days had crept in via the back door of my weakened immune system and all but closed up my throat. But still the coughs came. And so did the phlegm (nice). And so did the vomit (great). I honestly don’t care if it sounds dramatic to say I thought I might die. To top it off, I broke out in the kind of cold sore cluster that leaves you looking like you forgot to take off your Halloween mask.

“Mummy, is that sick on your face?” asked my son when he saw the scabs. And I cried a bit more.

But the prescription drugs do work, kids, and slowly things got a little better. Until yesterday.

Ten years ago I had four months off work because of severe back pain caused by bulging discs and muscle spasms. Today, when caught by a fit of coughing, I felt the familiar pain I’ve tried so hard to forget. I dropped to my knees, and now I am terrified and in complete spasm. My recent efforts to finally shake off the fear of exercise that has followed me through ten years of chronic pain feel like they have been in vain.

A few weeks ago I was lamenting how Pilates had helped me be painkiller free for longer than I could remember, and now a simple, bloody cough has put me on a cocktail of co-codamol and diazepam so I can at least shuffle to the toilet. I got through pregnancy and childbirth without this much pain, so how could this happen from coughing?

I am upset, I am angry and I am in agony. My husband says I shouldn’t read too much into it – these things happen. But I’ve always had an unhealthy habit of catastrophising. It feels like fate is somewhere laughing at me.

“You with the little kid? You think you can be a full-time working, bread winning mum who cooks from scratch every night and goes the gym to try and “better yourself”? Have it all, eh? Let’s take you down.”

I’m left thinking maybe I’ve brought this on myself by trying too hard to do everything. Is that possible? I don’t know. All I know is that ten years after the worst few months I ever had, I feel like I’m back where I started. Only this time, I feel old and there’s a toddler trying to sit on my head.

Husband says those few months recently spent hitting the gym will have left me much better prepared to deal with this. I hope he’s right. Because I really want to go back. I was getting so much better at planking! And at my last spin class, the lovely instructer patted me on the shoulder and said “brilliant”. I was made up. I felt invincible for a moment. Now I’m back to being totally vincible again.

Normal service will resume here at some point. But God knows when. At the moment, fantasising about flying away to Berlin in February is all I’ve got. Well, that and the good drugs. And the bit of posh ice cream that’s left in the freezer.

So happy December, y’all. Will someone, somewhere have a large drink for me? And does anyone fancy putting my Christmas decs up?

Speak soon.

Clare x


  • Maddy Enoch says:

    Oh sweetie as a mum of 3 and a travel fanatic- I feel your pain ! I was in a car accident last week and hip and back pain that I worked so hard to get rid of that stopped me for 2 summers has come back ! All the money I worked extra jobs to save for travel ( I’m also a primary school teacher!) has now got to be spent replacing a perfectly good car . I’m low – BUT I know in time things WILL get better! Focus on the good stuff – don’t worry about your Xmas tree , order presents online , get support from your friends and count every little improvement as an achievement, just like the spinning class at the gym! Hold on to your trip dreams ( I am!)
    Don’t think of it as ‘I can’t ‘ just as a ‘I can’t yet’…chin up ! Wishing you a speedy recovery and use your immobile times to plan and rest xxx

    • Clare says:

      Oh Maddy, thank you. And it’s so awful to hear what you’ve been through. You are absolutely right about the “I can’t yet”. Really lovely to read your comment and much love to you. I hope you’ll let me know when you’re feeling better and can finally put some plans of yours into action. X

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