The House of Disease and Pestilence

What is it with children and their damned germs?  Most of us can manage to put up a hand while coughing and aim snotty tissues in the vague direction of the bin, but apparently that skill doesn’t materialize until you hit your twenties.

What I’m trying to say is that I have a houseful of coughing, sneezing, moaning teenagers and as the healthy adult in the scenario it’s not much fun.

My son, who started the whole rotten business has been playing host to the everlasting cough.  Night after night he has been lying in bed hacking his guts up, to the point where he  finally announced that he seemed to have broken a rib or something.  And for him to mention the rib at all it must be pretty bad – like his father he seems to have an impressively macho tolerance for pain.  In fact last time he had a broken rib it was the result of a rugby injury that he didn’t even mention for a week, and then only fairly casually.  When I finally took him to the doctor the poor man almost choked on his dentures and announced that “there’s no way this boy should be playing rugby!”   Apparently callouses like that don’t come along every day, suggesting that he had seriously broken at least three ribs.

As far as the old stiff upper lip goes, he and his Dad couldn’t be less like the rest of us; pansy-arses to a man.

And so when my daughter started to come down with the dreaded lurgy we all knew it heralded days of high drama.  In fact her performance has been worthy of the finest dairymaid.  Actually I already feel guilty for even writing that because she really is very ill, and we’ve been forced to resort to anti-biotics.  Which were, incidentally, dispensed without any of the gravity or agonizing warranted by the situation.  Have doctors started prescribing anti-biotics just because they think it gives the impression they’re doing something helpful?

The youngest one has so far avoided any of this, but is still struggling with a skin condition something akin to cradle cap.  I must say his head was a lot more appealing before a rogue hairdresser subjected it to an army cut, exposing a bunch of crusty, flaky patches all over his scalp.  I’m guessing he’ll be careful to give more explicit instructions next time he goes for a haircut.

My husband, of course doesn’t have time to get sick now that we’re in the thick of landscaping season, but he did manage to slice open his finger the other day and need 9 stitches.  Clearly a sorry play for attention.

I just hope that I can either avoid succumbing, or at least put it off until everyone else is suitably recovered.  After all, if I’m going to get ill, there had better be some serious ministering going on by all those around me.


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