Tuesday, 17 November 2009

When Polly Gets Flu

Polly has had flu. Now whether this was the infamous Swine flu or your common or garden flu flu we are not sure. In fact no one is sure, not the NHS helpline, our doctor or indeed, the several other people who have suffered similarly.

Now I love Polly. She is wonderful in so many ways I do not have time to list them all. She (and by extrapolation the children) is absolutely the best thing ever to have happened to me. She is kind, clever, caring and funny. But she is rubbish at being sick. Firstly she believes she is completely indispensable to the running of the universe and that the whole of creation will fall apart if she takes any time off. If she is enforced to go to bed for a while she gets annoyed if the world manages to continue orbiting the sun without her personal assistance and guidance. If, however, the universe somehow manages to struggle on without her, she gets incredibly annoyed if it doesn't tidy the living room in exactly the way she would have done.

Polly has to feel really ill before she relinquishes control of the cosmos. On this occasion she was ill enough to go to bed during the day which is something she begrudges deeply because she 'should be doing other things'. 'Doing other things' means doing all the things that mummies do, children's entertainers do, clown doctors do and rulers of the universe do.

Polly being ill is nothing compared to Polly feeling a little bit better. Polly very reluctantly cancelled a gig at the Royal Marsden but only because flu, cancer, chemotherapy and sick children are a volatile combination. However, Polly feeling a little bit better essentially means Polly catching up with all the things she feels she hasn't done as well as continuing to do all the things she would normally be doing and perhaps a few other things in case anyone suspects her of idleness. Lesser mortals, such as myself, are left wallowing in her wake as she bakes cakes for cub fund-raisers, manages my sisters house restoration, entertains at 4 year-old boys parties, makes Christmas cards and oversees the middle-east peace process. Suddenly she will complain of being tired and look at me as if it is entirely my fault.

At night, my usually delightful bedtime companion becomes an irritable, tetchy, scratchy sleepless nightmare. I cannot move, breathe or mumble sweet nothings without bringing about the kind of reaction that is usually a precursor to all out war. Every creek, every variation in light, every child's nightmare, is my fault. Will no one let her sleep? Don't I realise that she is sick?

The problem for Polly, and no doubt mothers everywhere, is that just because she is ill does not mean that life stops to compensate and allow her time to catch up. I do my best to help make things run smoothly but honestly, is it too much to ask that we don't run out of proper coffee? I've had to drink instant. Yes, when Polly is sick we all suffer. Thank God it's only woman flu.

Until next time.