A plague is upon our house. Put a black cross above the door, board up the windows and turn away all callers; the humble cough has entered.
It arrived with my husband. It briefly visited our son. And then it struck me down. On Christmas day. There’s only the dog who’s remained free from the epidemic and, in all honesty, she’s been rubbish at nursing us back to health. Although, back to health I am, thankfully, my illness has abated and all that remains is a husky voice, which would serve me well as a singer in a jazz club if I’m ever in need of a career change.
However, my husband is still afflicted.
As the days have gone by the sound of a human, barking, has become the soundtrack to our life. Every meal is interrupted, conversations are halted mid-way and don’t even talk to me about sleep.
Oh, okay then, you’ve twisted my arm; let’s talk about sleep.
Or lack thereof.
I like to think I’m a considerate infirm and spent a good few nights sleeping on around seventy pillows, okay that’s a slight exaggeration, it was actually four, whilst I dosed myself up with all kinds of old and new-fangled remedies, some of which were a LOT nicer than others. I even resorted to shots of, that well-known brand of, green liquid, which is supposed to help one sleep.
And I don’t mean absinthe.
Now I say “supposed to” because, quite frankly, it just didn’t do it for me. As our cough became a team event we realised that we had the ‘other one’ to think about too, so in an attempt to be responsible parents, and caring spouses, we decided that we would take it in turns to medicate ourselves for a good night of sleep. As “carrier and chief infector” of the household, it was, somehow, agreed that my husband would be entitled to that first night of blissful slumber. Shot taken, thirty minutes later and off to sleep went he. For a full eight hours, whilst his cough, and a lot of extra pillows, kept me awake.
However, all hope was not lost and, twenty-four hours later, it was my go. Hurrah! Bottoms up and down the hatch, went the liquid, and off to snoozeville went I. Here it was, my turn had come, bring on the eight hour knock out.
But no. Alas, it wasn’t to be. In a cruel twist of fate, my husband’s cough broke through the wall of medicated sleep and there I was, awake. And uncomfortable, did I mention the pillows? Yet, what makes this even worse, for me, is that he slept through it.
How on earth could that even happen?
I’m trying to have patience, I really am. I keep reminding myself of our wedding vows and repeating a mantra that this really can’t last for much longer; can it? But we’re now on to day twenty-five and I swear when Sam says “Daddy got cough” even he rolls his eyes. As does the dog. Who is still no better at making a steam inhalation.
At least when we were in it together there was a comradeship, an understanding, a shared look over the table when the uncontrollable hacking began. There were communal vapour rubs, knowledge sharing, on which combinations of drugs worked best at which time, there were two of us feeling bad and a friend to chat to in the wee hours when the pillows just weren’t working and the cough was winning. Yes, life was tough but, life was also full of sympathy, and I felt like a good person tending to my ailing man.
We’ve since discovered my sympathy has a time limit.
However, you’ll be pleased to hear it’s not all doom and gloom, oh no, because, indeed, something incredibly great has come out of this situation… In a house with only showers and a constantly coughing consort, my husband has finally agreed to get a bath put in! Huzzah! I’ve been campaigning for this since we first moved and here it is. You see, apparently (according to me) baths very much help with coughs and my husband is now prepared to try anything to get rid of his. Thank goodness I could be on hand to offer my wisdom, is all I can say.
And so, I suppose, for the promise of a nice long soak, I can, selflessly, find it within myself to muster up a bit more sympathy for a barking human, right?
Honey and lemon anyone whilst I wallow for a while? Yep, I think I can just about manage that!