‘Oi, Half-Shift, you here or what?’
‘Oh, er. Yes, that colour scheme looks great. White looks fab with, um, everything don’t you think?’
‘Nice, but we’re talking about the roof plans?’
I tuned back in from wherever I was. I felt … wrong.
I left work early with, ‘ta-ra Quarter-Shift’ ringing in my white-noise ears.
At home, I collapsed onto the sofa (a recurring theme) and lay there, dazed (another recurring theme).
Strangely though, I didn’t feel like eating any chocolate. It was probably then that I knew something fairly serious was up.
That night, I crawled into bed and spent hours tossing and turning, covered in sweat and having the strangest dreams. I woke up long enough to cancel two appointments and went back to bed.
When I woke again, I couldn’t get out of bed. I tried. Then tried again. Eventually, I tumbled downstairs and collapsed again on to the sofa. I was feverish and aching.
Hours later, I dressed in yesterday’s clothes and dragged myself off to a chemist. He noted my long list of symptoms and finally told me I was one of the unlucky, ‘Had the flu jab, got the flu’ peeps.
I questioned him closely:
‘And that would explain the aching joints? The insomnia? The nausea? The headaches?’
‘And also the feverish dreams?’
‘What about the complete lack of appetite? And do you think this might be a lasting symptom (ever hopeful)?’
‘Yes. And, ah, no.’
Right. Panic stations.
I haven’t felt this ill in a long, long time. I can always somehow truck on, but this, this was on a different level. I was reduced to a gibbering wreck. No longer could I hide these symptoms from The Teenager when he found me on the sofa staring at ‘Judge Rinder’ with glassy eyes.
‘Hi! I don’t seem to be able to get up off the sofa. Not MS, just the flu. Nothing to worry about.’
The Teenager patted me on my head.
‘Mum. You know, you’ve always been kinda brave by keeping your MS symptoms away from me. I know that. I’m not like, stupid. But, like, let me help.’
It was hard, but I did. He cleared away glasses and cups, put out the rubbish, tidied up the kitchen and got me juice. He fetched my unread book-club book from upstairs, fed the cat, closed the curtains.
The next two days were a blur of willing myself to get better. Flu seems to exacerbate all manner of MS symptoms, so along with the aching and feeling of being run over, I was coping with more foot drop, bonkers balance and an interesting speech slur.
And now, five days on, I’m getting slowly back to normality. Or something like it.
One thing’s for sure. This has been a terrible year so far – surely I’m due some good news?