The Carousel of Illness / Bed Friends

cream british shorthair cat

Sorry for the radio silence; I’ve been laid up with yet another ailment, this time one of the many unnamed viruses that comes under the “could be flu” umbrella. Oooh, it’s a contentious issue, flu – never say you have flu to someone who has actually had flu. (I have actually had flu in the past, but still enjoy winding up people who get cross about the misuse of the word flu. I mean, there are bigger things to get cross about.)

But where does a head cold end and a flu begin? Or are there a myriad of other cough/cold viruses in between that make you feel as though you’re going to die? And a lonely, sweat-soaked death at that – probably nobody would even notice, because once you have kids you’re basically less important than the dog when it comes to pecking order.

cockapoo on bed

Anyway, I’d only just got over the cold/sore throat/headache/cystitis onslaught when Mr AMR went and got bronchitis, Ted got an ear infection and – like the cherry on the illness cake – I got some horrendous cough and a headache that would fell a moose. I’m limping about because my whole body aches and I have one of my eyes shut because it hurts so much – I’m like a consumptive pirate.

cream british shorthair cat

And, quite honestly, I’d have thought that it would be quite the boon to have a few days in bed – to reset, to reboost, to re- whatever it is that you have to do to correct three and a half years of exhaustion, but it’s no fun being in bed when you are, in fact, properly ill. It’s uncomfortable (I almost have bed sores), it’s frustrating (I have so much to do, so much) and it makes me feel guilty because I can hear my little imps running about and singing (badly) to the Moana soundtrack and generally being edible.

cream british shorthair cat

It’s also put the frighteners on me – both adults being ill at once. You can start to see why people choose to stay close to their families! Although I’ve never lived close to mine, we’re pretty spread out, being poorly does make you yearn for your parents on your doorstep – the sort of life that sees your Mum pop in for tea after the school run, or your siblings piling on over at the weekend for an impromptu movie night. Does that exist? Do many families have that? Or is it the “modern thing” to spread yourselves far and wide? I wonder whether it’ll ever go full circle…

cream british shorthair cat

The worst thing about this Carousel of Illness that we seem to be on (pretty sure it’s down to Angelica being at pre-school; she’s turned us into germ magnets) is that I had so much to do this month and I’ve lost about three weeks’ worth of work time. It’s terrible to bring everything back to work, I suppose, but when you’re freelance there’s no support if you’re ill – the work doesn’t get done and you simply don’t get paid. And it isn’t even that. because luckily I’ve managed to stay on top of things, just about, it’s more that every time I have ambitions for greater things (like The Night Feed app, which is to launch in about five weeks’ time), something comes along and fells me.

cream british shorthair cat

Although last year it was much more serious, the felling, because my Dad died, but I can’t go into that now because I really don’t have the emotional capacity. I’ve decided to put my grief on ice as a survival tactic. I know that it’s actually a very bad way of dealing with grief, but I feel as though it will absolutely consume me if I let it in. We had such a complicated relationship that I find it hard to disentangle my emotions – it would be a full time job. But now and then I see him in other people – strangers – and it absolutely knocks me for six; a delivery man the other week was so like him that I cried on the spot and had to turn away. So it’s there, the grief, dangerously simmering away beneath the surface. I just have to keep it that way for – how long? When is the right time to confront it? Or is there ever a good time?

cream british shorthair cat

For now, please enjoy the many photos of my animals I took the first time I enjoyed a ride on the Carousel of Illness – they decided to bombard me all day every day, bringing me various presents (slippers, used knickers, baby wipes, twigs) and lying on my chest.

pets on bed

On this second ride of the carousel I’ve banned them from the upstairs, mainly because I didn’t want them to try and eat me if I died and nobody noticed. Mr Bear I’d trust to leave me well alone but that dog, he’s a right old gannet.

cream british shorthair cat

Ted has been my bed friend this time around, mainly because I haven’t wanted to leave him on his own when his temperature has been going up and down like a yoyo. It’s easier just to have him beside me than keep running up the stairs all night, but now I have to say I am slightly worried as to what I might have started. I didn’t co-sleep with either baby (because I just couldn’t relax enough to get any sleep myself) but Ted seems to be very at home lying on my chest and playing with my hair…

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27 Comments

  1. March 29, 2019 / 12:24 pm

    Oh get well soon! Also a side note, those moody cat photos are great!

  2. Rosie
    March 4, 2019 / 11:54 am

    I feel I can relate to your post as a mother running my own business in the midst of health issues alongside the usual general coughs/bugs/colds/flu’s etc this time of year. It is a lot to take on! But also re the greiving – I also ‘decided’ (if it was ever so calculated) to put my grief on ice for fear it would destroy me when my dad died. He bought me up single-handedly and his death had always been my most biggest fear. I sometimes think that over the past 8 years it has ‘leaked’ out in relatively manageable dribs and drabs instead of the almightly crushing deluge I’d always feared was to come. Maybe it is still to come who knows… I’m not saying this is the right way by any means. In fact I still cannot bring myself to look at photos of him fully, maybe out of the corner of my eye, or squinted, but not fully and I feel that is a shame. I am robbing myself and doing him a misjustice so I know I have work to do still so that I can look and enjoy the memories without fearing them. That said I have survived the thing I dreaded the very most so there is that. I also remember so well in the early aftermath seeing older men who reminded me of him and being utterly compelled by them. I once followed a man and stood next to him just to be close. I can admire from afar now the odd man who wears his similar jacket with his similar hairline or walk and it is all so much less sad fortunately :-)

    • Rosie
      March 4, 2019 / 12:01 pm

      Saying that I did see a grief counsellor at the time and she was uttely amazing – I couldn’t have coped without her!

  3. March 3, 2019 / 8:04 pm

    Oh boy, I feel for you. I’m also self-employed and I’m dreading the 2 weeks off I have to take soon (when??? NHS is 50 weeks’ wait for it…) post surgery…I know exactly what you mean about real flu. In France, we only use the French word for flu ‘grippe’ when we have the real one, not for a cold. Cultural differences…I loved the pictures. I guessed you took them before being ill?! Good luck with the Night feed last weeks’ of work before the launch.

  4. Jen
    March 2, 2019 / 6:55 pm

    3 years in I still ‘see’ my dad in crowds. Worst time was a bloke on the train who smelt of cirgarettes masked with chewing gum, a smell I’d never realised I associated with my dad until I had the desperate urge to turn to this stranger on the train and envelope him in a bear hug. Grief does weird stuff to us, and has such a long half life I’m not sure it’s possible to stop and ‘deal’ with it with any finality x

  5. Louiba
    March 2, 2019 / 12:31 pm

    Grief: the club you never understand until you join it. I lost my partner. We had a business together and I spent the next year holding that together, to the point of complete exhaustion. Just didn’t know what else to do and in my head, I was managing. Until a friend told me I hadn’t processed his death and whilst had no idea what that meant, it prompted me to try counselling and properly let it all out. She was right and it helped. I’d left it over a year and felt by then people believed I shouldn’t feel the raw grief I blatantly still did. The suppression of feelings and grief itself – also exhausting, and I too suffered endless viruses. Rest, time out and kindness to yourself are so important. Take care x

  6. louise knechtli
    March 1, 2019 / 11:33 am

    Hope you are soon feeling much better.
    I lost a dear friend last year & found that acupuncture allowed my body to release some of the stress & grief I was holding onto.
    Sending a hug.

  7. Claire
    February 28, 2019 / 8:27 pm

    I read this post and then came back to comment because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I hope you get well soon. You have my deepest sympathies. Had to come home from work today with a headache that can only be described as pulsing to the beat of my heart. Coupled with an over heated office I was either going to barf or fall down so I decided home, and bed, was the best bet.

    Your comments about grief were the primary reason for me not being able to stop thinking about this post. I was by my best friend’s side as she lost both her parents, several years apart. Everyone experiences grief in such different ways but I honestly believe the thing that helps the most (and I am 100% sure you have this) is the support network to truly be yourself no matter how you are feeling. The people you can laugh, cry, sob, rail at the world in total rage, get incoherently drunk, laugh until your sides ache, there through everything people. They’re not the answer…but are definitely a big help.

    Your blog is my favourite place on the internet, not only for you but also for your lovely readers who leave such fab and insightful comments.

    Sending get well wishes once again, as well as a big hug x

  8. Lindsey
    February 28, 2019 / 3:08 pm

    I’m so sorry you’re on the carousel! Been there, and I’m also currently riding the grief train- my mom died 21 months ago. I’m still in the stage where I count months like you do for babies and toddlers. So here are the two things that worked for our family for illness and cut illness by about 80%; have your kids wash their hands when they leave preschool or a play date. You too. Before you get to the car. They are covered with germs! Don’t wait til you get home. They will lick their fingers or touch their faces about 18,000 times before you get home and by Then it’s too late! And second: if you are out and about, the second you get home, everyone wash hands when you walk in the door. No snacks first. I know. This is a tough one but I’ve held
    firm once I realized it made a humongous differencs. I walk in through the garage door and right to our utility sink. Daughter is now 13 and trained to do that about half the time which is a big help. Also super important when you are on public transport – wear gloves or don’t touch anything. I noticed years back that the family was getting sick when I went back to work and was taking the bus. Now if I have to touch any surface on the bus I walk straight go the bathroom at work or home on the return and wash hands. I know by now you’re thinking I’m some sort of Howard Hughes like nut…. but these strategies HAVE reduced carousel time for us. Hang in there Ruth and I’m so sorry about your dad. Lots of good comments here.

  9. Susanamantha
    February 28, 2019 / 2:19 pm

    My father passed away 35 years ago when I was about your age. I still miss him greatly. He had a jaunty way of walking that I will occasionally spot in a total stranger’s walk and that will give me a momentary pang of grief. I see that walk in my sister sometimes and wonder if I too have the jaunty step. That thought makes me smile. I hope you can find contented happiness after some time has passed and your memories have settled down into peace.

  10. Gillian Pidler
    February 28, 2019 / 1:55 pm

    Being ill sucks but when you have two little ones it double (and more) sucks. I remember my Mum one year having all 4 of us sick at once. I remember her bringing us up a tray with tea and some sweets for being good and staying in bed. Dad put a tv in our rooms and I’ll never forget the love that we felt while they looked after us. My poor collapsed at one point with exhaustion.
    Talking of Mum, and you talking of grief, I lost my beautiful Mum 9 years ago and still the tears come at the most unexpected of times. I say let them, let them flow because holding grief in is so not good for us. My dad did that when he lost his Mum and it made him really ill when it finally hit.
    Anyway I hope that you’ll feel much better, all of you, really soon xxx

  11. Kat
    February 28, 2019 / 11:38 am

    I read this recently after reading your post about losing your Dad and it made me think of you. I think sometimes when we’re grieving it helps just to read our feelings in someone else’s words, so I thought I’d share this link here in case it helps you https://rockandrollmother.com/2019/02/10/422/

    Also, after experiencing my own devastating loss a few years ago, I read a couple of books that helped articulate my grief. The best of them was Wild by Cheryl Strayed. A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis was also good, though a bit religious in places. Also H is for Hawk – can’t remember the author.

    Hope you’re all better soon – we have the same here with chicken pox and colds that never end and conjunctivitis and and and. It feels never ending!! The sunshine has helped :)

  12. Jo.C.
    February 28, 2019 / 11:22 am

    Oh Ruth, you really have been through the mill. This may be the thing that’s telling you to chill for a bit, maybe another holiday in the sun.
    My grandad died 21 years ago and I saw a man in the supermarket a few weeks back which could have been him, my blood ran cold, and it goes to show that even though he died a long time ago, it still jumps out on you unexpected. I had a chat with myself saying ‘ya daft cow’ and carried on picking out my carrots lol.
    Hope you feel better soon, I find having a hot shower and drinking lemon & ginger in hot water does wonders xx

  13. February 28, 2019 / 10:45 am

    I am very sorry to hear that you are feeling poorly. It just isn´t the same with kids to look after! Usually I am pretty good at not catching the kids bugs, but the few times I did it was a horrible experience. I can´t wait for the time they are old enough to make me chicken soup, or to at least leave me alone for more than five minutes.

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

  14. Julie
    February 28, 2019 / 10:04 am

    ❤️Ruth, you bring such good cheer to us all, may it come bouncing back to you doubly so❤️

  15. Becks
    February 28, 2019 / 9:48 am

    Poor poor poor you. Sending you virtual chicken soup and much love xo

  16. Katy
    February 28, 2019 / 9:33 am

    Sorry you’re poorly Ruth, it’s really hard being ill when you’ve got children to look after too. So stressful! And feeling low and fighting off viruses seems to bring all your emotions to the surface too… so, as you say, double whammy : -( Keep on keeping on, and hope you feel better soon xx

  17. Kim
    February 28, 2019 / 8:27 am

    Hi Ruth

    Poor you. It’s tough when you have little ones who keep sharing their newly acquired nursery germs. I remember it well. We went through exactly the same with our boys when the eldest started nursery. I can honestly say that once we got over the germ-fest after a few winters our immune systems were much stronger and we’ve all only had a cold over the winter each year. Our boys are 12 and 14 now…

    Re the grief, Im really sorry about your dad. I think it’s so hard to lose a parent. I’m with you on that one too. My mother died 18 months ago and I wanted to keep a lid on things too as I couldn’t fall apart whilst keeping the family going. I too saw women who looked like my mum which was a bit unnerving. I think you go through many phases of grief. I think mine were sadness, anger, loss, exhaustion, walking through treacle for ages and now some kind of peace but I still can’t believe she’s gone 18 months on. I still miss her but am coming to terms with her not being here. I’m not sure what the next stage is?!! It’s probably different for everyone. But be kind to yourself. I think that’s really, really important.

  18. Marjorie
    February 28, 2019 / 4:41 am

    The worst is when little ones bring home conjunctivitis. They recover in no time, but leave you to suffer the grossest of infections for ages. Actually, there is another equally horrible thing. I once received this text message from my daughter … she couldn’t get up the nerve to call … “The girls have lice. It’s running rampant through their school. Check yourself. If you think you need to be deloused go to Pediatric Hair Solutions in Cornelius for their series of hot oil treatments. Bleach everything.” Hope you feel better soon.

  19. Sandie
    February 28, 2019 / 2:47 am

    Get well soon Ruth! I know that’s a silly thing to say as viruses will stay around as long as they like and there is only so much vitamin C, Chicken soup, grapes and cups of tea you can have to a faster recovery! But I hope you’re back on track soon. Thank you for your latest post too when you’re feeling so blah!

  20. Marie
    February 27, 2019 / 8:25 pm

    I was suffering from some nasty virus at weekend. I had to stay in bed for two days whilst hubby looked after the kids. You dream of these opportunities to spend two whole days lying in bed doing nothing but then you are so poorly, you cannot enjoy it, plus I also missed out on the lovely weather. Can’t wait to feel better and get back to my 5k training (this is also another dream which never happens). Get well soon.

  21. Moo
    February 27, 2019 / 8:23 pm

    Get well soon Ruth! I think these viruses not only knock you for six but also hammer your emotions and dampen whatever joie de vivre you had prior, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Grief visits when you least expect it. Like an unwelcome guest you can acknowledge it and send it in its way. If it keeps coming back do go talk to a grief counsellor, they will welcome you with open arms. Wishing you a speedy recovery x

  22. Becky
    February 27, 2019 / 6:23 pm

    Hi Ruth!

    It’s a bit off-topic but would you do a post about how cutting down on alcohol has changed your skin? I know you mentioned it briefly in a video not too long ago and it was in a post about the pregnancy skin care habit you’d be keep. But it would be great to have an in depth one about it! As it something i have noticed a lot with my skin care, but i could use some motivation haha!

    Thanks so much and i love your content.

    • February 27, 2019 / 7:14 pm

      Yes, OK! I mean, I think that not drinking much has had an effect on all aspects of my health and appearance… I probably only have one or two units a week, if that, and I’m overall less dehydrated and my dark circles aren’t half as bad as they used to be in my twenties… x

      • Becky
        February 27, 2019 / 8:03 pm

        Thank you, it would be really interesting to read your take on it.

        Also, i got into writing after i reading your posts for years, so thank you for that as well :) xx

        • February 27, 2019 / 10:04 pm

          Oh that’s so good to hear! x

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