My Flu Hell! (It wasn’t too bad really)

I can never fully commit to a clickbaity title.

Flu
Flu virus image from AJP.com.au

I haven’t written much over the last week because I’ve had flu. It wasn’t too terrible, although I suspect this is mostly down to luck, since my flatmate has had a horrendous time. However, not having had flu before, I was surprised that it’s distinctly different from a cold in a few unexpected ways. Not all flus are the same of course, but these symptoms seem to fit fairly well with the NHS guidelines, suggesting that they’re typical. I’m posting about them in case this would be of use to some of you. Whether you need to know what to expect with your own bout of the lurgy or need to convincingly lie about symptoms to your boss, either way, I’m here to help.

Unexpected symptoms of flu

You can’t sleep. The first sign that something was really wrong was waking up about thirty times in one night, with a few hours spent just staring at the ceiling. I managed to snatch a few hours in the week by dosing up on Night Nurse, but it wasn’t until I started to get better that I had a proper night’s sleep. I couldn’t sleep in the day either, which meant the hours went really slowly.

You can’t do anything. I wasn’t so ill that I was stuck in a bed all week, instead I was stuck in a chair unable to move and very bored. Normally I don’t have the patience to watch TV, but for the past week all I’ve done is stare at Netflix like a zombie. I’ve watched Dirk Gently, Sense8, The Good Place and Community, and it’s sort of been fun. Unfortunately I was quite enjoying Sense8, but now I doubt I’ll be able to finish the series because my attention span has returned to its natural scattered state.

You feel queasy all the time. Neither me nor flatmate actually were sick, but we both struggled to eat. Usually we have fairly vegetarian diets, but neither of us could eat any vegetables. Instead he ate very little and only sausage rolls, and I ate considerably more, but only roast chicken and bread (and chocolate and ice cream, cos there is no illness that can keep me from those). I still can’t face milk.

You lose the ability to gauge temperature. The first day I got sick my teeth were chattering so hard I’d thought they’d break.  At other times I’d be boiling with fever, until the paracetamol kicked in. Then I’d become just warm, except the heating in my flat struggles when it get’s below five degrees outside, and I definitely shouldn’t have been warm. Even yesterday, when I went back to work and the sky dumped an inch of snow on me I didn’t really feel cold. I’m hoping it’s a symptom that sticks around for a few more weeks.

The cough is very annoying. And painful. It’s a dry, pathetic sounding cough (think Zoolander when he thinks he’s got black lung) but I keep getting stuck on a loop where I can’t stop coughing until I can’t breathe and my head is pounding.

The only other symptoms are: a sore throat that feels like I’ve swallowed a golf ball on fire, and shooting pains through my arms and stomach. Oh and moving reeeaally slowly, getting out of breath if I have to climb any stairs or pick anything up.

Now all I’m left with is the cough, so I think it’s fair to say I’ve been let off pretty lightly compared to many.

So over to you all, any of you had flu recently? Or have you never had it, and like a colleague of mine, suspect all flu is just colds for whingers?

 

 

Stenny Johanssen

Living in a house converted to three flats, Jacky was only slightly surprised to see on the hall table, post for a name she didn’t recognise. It was a package the size of a bag of sugar, and the name on the front said Stenny Johansson. She checked beneath it for her own post, found none, and went on her way.

The package had been there for three days when the doorbell rang early on Sunday morning. A cheerful blonde-haired, ruddy-faced Swedish man stood on the doorstep, and Jacky peered at him through her hangover,

“Hello! Hello! I am so pleased to see you here. I was hoping that you had a parcel for me, Stenny Johansson?”

“You’re Stenny Johansson?”

“Yes, I’m over here from Sweden and my wife sent my parcel to the wrong house. Do you have it?”

“Oh, sure,” said Jackie, blurrily and confused, she handed over the package.

“Oh what a relief. It is parts for my vacuum cleaner and I’m leaving in a few days, so I need those parts before I leave the country.”

“Ah,” said Jacky, wondering vaguely why anyone would have vacuum cleaner parts sent over from Sweden if they were about to leave the country, but instead she nodded sagely.

“Oh you are a doll! You’re a lifesaver!” said Stenny, exuberantly, in a noisy way that hurt her head, and Jacky was relived to shut the door.

Three days later, on Wednesday morning when Jacky was still on her first coffee,the door bell rang and Jacky trudged down the stairs to open it. In the doorway stood another blonde, cheerful man.

“Ah yes! Hello! My name is Stenny Johansson, I’m hoping that you have a package for me,” said the man.

“No, someone called Stenny Johansson picked it up a few days ago,” said Jacky, feeling befuddlement flush her face red.

“No, no. I am Stenny Johansson, that is my package. Do you have it?”

“No, I just told you, someone picked it up.”

“But it’s mine,” said the man, sweaty indignation furrowing his face. “It’s vacuum cleaner parts, I need them to fix my vacuum cleaner. Did you check he was the real Stenny Johansson?”

“No, why would I check that?” asked Jackie, she was feeling indignant now. The second Johansson stormed off, shouting,

“Well you shouldn’t have given my post away! That’s illegal, you know?”

When the third Stenny Johansson appeared at the door, Jacky knew instantly. He had the same ruddy face, tousled blonde hair and look of optimism. Before she could speak, he tried to force his way in. Jacky put her foot against the door, but it took all her strength to keep the new Stenny outside.

“But those are the parts for my vacuum cleaner!” he shouted through the letterbox. “How will I clean my house now?”

The fourth Stenny Johansson didn’t bother announcing his name as he shoved the door aside with such force that Jacky went flying against the wall and knocked her head. With her thoughts still spinning, she was only dimly aware of Stenny Johansson stomping up the stairs to her flat, and then stomping back down a few minutes later. She didn’t really register the bright red object in his hands, and it was only later when she found her Henry hoover missing that she understood that he’d taken it.

Questions and Answers

Last week I asked some questions, and got some interesting answers, for example atMilliwayswithapen and Pamela Spiro, plus plenty more in the comments below the last blog. I’m going to put forward my own answers, (but would still like to hear yours if you fancy taking part 🙂 )

First, the questions

  1. Would you rather be beautiful, an astronaut or able to walk up any surface (ie up walls and along the ceiling)? Why?
  2. Would you rather physically age, mentally age or visibly age?
  3. What was the last good deed you did?
  4. I’ve been watching the Good Place. It’s great. To give a spoiler-free description, it’s a comedy about a Heaven-like place, where you can live in your ideal house in a perfect village, eat all your favourite foods, and hang out with your soul-mate. What three things would you choose to have in your good place?
  5. You get a time machine watch that can only go up to an hour into the past or future. What would you use it for?
  6. You’re such an awesome person, that the mayor of your town has asked you to come up with a national holiday, what would you want the holiday to be for (eg Tree Day, Festival of Dreams), and when would you want it?
  7. What small something would you change right now?
  8. What are your plans for getting older? How do you want to spend your time when/if you stop working? Where do you want to be?
  9. You find out (probably from a magic floating wizard or by text or something) that nothing you do today will have consequences. What’s your itinerary for the day?
  10. When you die your ghost will be trapped in the place of your death, where do you want to die?

And my answers

  1. Would you rather be beautiful, an astronaut or able to walk up any surface (ie up walls and along the ceiling)? Why?

I’d definitely choose walking up surfaces. Being beautiful meh, seems like more trouble than it’s worth. All the focus on you would be on how you look rather than what you do or say, and I reckon you’d come to rely on the adoration and then get scared of losing it. Being an astronaut is nice in theory, but I have a feeling the reality is really hard work, with a lot of monotony in confined spaces for the most part. However, being able to walk up walls would never not be great. At the absolute least it would be useful for walking down a busy street, or walking up the side of a train, or hanging from the ceiling of a lift. Just endlessly great. And then being able to take a stroll up the outside of the Shard, or along the bottom of Waterloo Bridge would be great. I doubt I’d bother with the ground again.

  1. Would you rather physically age, mentally age or visibly age?

I’d most like to hang on to my mind and the ability of my body, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with looking old. If I can only keep one ability, it would be my mind, then I can still plug myself into virtual reality and go to beautiful places/ do amazing things there.

  1. What was the last good deed you did?

Bought some food for a young, scared man who’s started sitting outside my local Tesco.

  1. I’ve been watching the Good Place. It’s great, to give a spoiler-free description, it’s a comedy about a Heaven-like place, where you can live in your ideal house in a perfect village, eat all your favourite foods, and hang out with your soul-mate. What three things would you choose to have in your good place?

Cakes and ice cream. Warm rain. A place to walk without interruption.

  1. You get a time machine watch that can only go up to an hour into the past or future. What would you use it for? (I’m specifically not stating how this would work, if it would create lots of you, or if you’d just replay the same event, you get to decide)

I think (like Calmgrove) I’d use it for relieving anxiety, by changing all the stupid comments I make. I’m not sure about jumping forward in time, maybe if I had to wait twenty minutes in the cold for a train, but it’s like wishing a bit of my life away, I think I’d rather try to find some pleasure in the waiting.

  1. You’re such an awesome person, that the mayor of your town has asked you to come up with a national holiday, what would you want the holiday to be for (eg Tree Day, Festival of Dreams), and when would you want it?

A day of release, when people shout, scream, dance and smash things, without any judgement from others. A day to let out all suppressed emotions, bad feelings and regret, and howl, without any shame or embarrassment.

  1. What small something would you change right now?

I’ve got a migraine hovering at the back of my head, I would like to not have it, please.

  1. When you die your ghost will be trapped in the place of your death, where do you want to die?

I reckon in the ocean, that must be filled with so many wonders that most of us will never see. There’s real intelligence there too (octopuses and squid) so that would be fascinating to observe.

  1. What are your plans for getting older? How do you want to spend your time when/if you stop working? Where do you want to be?

I want to still be living with my flatmate who is also my closest friend, we plan to buy a house by the sea at some point. I want to get into computer games, so that when I’m too decrepit to do much else, I can escape into some mad world with zombies and flying kicks.

  1. You find out (probably from a magic floating wizard or by text or something) that nothing you do today will have consequences. What’s your itinerary for the day?

I think breaking into lots of important buildings to see what politicians and businessmen are up to.  Jumping off buildings, smashing up cars, setting fire to shops. Running up to strangers and hugging them. Driving a car really fast (I just sold my car, so I’ll need to pinch one, presumably the world without consequences would mean other people have no consequences either, so that’s ok). For those who didn’t understand how this would work, I suppose I’m thinking it would be like Groundhog Day, at the end of the day it all resets and nothing has changed, or maybe like many little Groundhog Days.

 

Institute of Living, Hartford CT, torture and illegal confinement in 2013

A truly important and heart-rending post. I’m proud to share it…

WAGblog: Dum Spiro Spero

Part One

4-point restrained at the Institute of Living 2013 routinely for 19 hours or more.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Pamela S. Wagner, and I was for most of my 65 years a resident of Connecticut. I have a long history diagnosed with serious mental illness and have been on disability for many years because of it. Five years ago,  I was admitted to the Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living on a 14-day PEC. I would like to tell you about some of the grotesque brutalities that transpired there and the egregious “treatment” that passes for care in that hospital.

Ever since I was discharged from the Institute of Living in February 2013, to which facility I had been committed as an involuntary patient under an order known as a Physicians Emergency Certificate. I have felt too terrified even to read the partial chart which the Connecticut…

View original post 1,837 more words

Now Tell Me About You…

Any of you familiar with this blog will know I like being nosey and asking you all questions. So here are a few more for you. If you feel inspired, then please answer below, or share and reblog. I look forward to hear what you’ve got to say. I’ll give my own answers next week.

  1. Would you rather be beautiful, an astronaut or able to walk up any surface (ie up walls and along the ceiling)? Why?
  2. Would you rather physically age, mentally age or visibly age?
  3. What was the last good deed you did?
  4. I’ve been watching the Good Place. It’s great. To give a spoiler-free description, it’s a comedy about a Heaven-like place, where you can live in your ideal house in a perfect village, eat all your favourite foods, and hang out with your soul-mate. What three things would you choose to have in your good place?
  5. You get a time machine watch that can only go up to an hour into the past or future. What would you use it for?
  6. You’re such an awesome person, that the mayor of your town has asked you to come up with a national holiday, what would you want the holiday to be for (eg Tree Day, Festival of Dreams), and when would you want it?
  7. What small something would you change right now?
  8. What are your plans for getting older? How do you want to spend your time when/if you stop working? Where do you want to be?
  9. You find out (probably from a magic floating wizard or by text or something) that nothing you do today will have consequences. What’s your itinerary for the day?
  10. When you die your ghost will be trapped in the place of your death, where do you want to die?

Now over to you blogsters!

Backwards Daffodils

daffidils

Mrs Wrench nearly tripped over her own Jimmy Choo’s in her hurry to get outside.

“Er, Matthew!” she said, voice shrill with delighted indignation.

“Yes, Mrs Wrench,” said Matthew looking up from the box hedge he was pruning, his back creaking with effort.

“I believe I told you I didn’t want any purple in the garden!”

“Purple? There isn’t any purple,” said Matthew, looking about confused.

Mrs Wrench pointed to the Agapanthus that Matthew had recently picked up from the garden centre and potted into a huge urn.

“And what do you call that?” said Mrs Wrench, triumphantly.

“Blue?” said Matthew.

“I don’t think so! Get rid of it immediately, I won’t have purple in this garden.” Without another word she turned and marched back into the house.

“Well, that told him!” she announced to her husband as she walked past where he was reading the paper, he didn’t look up. “I mean, really!” she said to no interest whatsoever. Mrs Wrench stood glaring at the back of her husband’s head for a few moments and then went to the kitchen to look out to where Matthew was throwing the Agapanthus on the compost. She looked searchingly around the garden for issues. Then, she marched outside again,

“Matthew! Matthew!” she called, Matthew ambled over, a nervous look on his face that gave her a glow of contentment. “These daffodils,” she barked.

“Yes,” said Matthew, “I thought you liked yellow.”

“I do, I do like yellow, but they’re all facing the wrong way. When I look out of the window, all the flowers are facing into the garden, and I can’t see them properly.”

“Well, yes,” said Matthew, “they’re facing towards the sun.”

“It’s simply not good enough. I want you to dig them up and turn them around, so I can see them from the window. Understand?” The look of befuddlement on Matthew’s face was a joy to behold, and Mrs Wrench walked back inside with a spring in her step. She sat in her favourite armchair, took her phone out of her pocket and set the alarm for twenty minutes. Plenty of time for Matthew to do something wrong. She leaned back in her chair and smiled.

 

Psychometric Driving Test (and maybe how to pass one)

Most people at my work have to drive a van, and in the past having a clean driving license was considered enough to show that we could do that. However, that has now changed, and this week we all got given psychometric driving tests to do. We were told these tests used clever algorithms to determine how careful and conscientious we were, how quick our reaction times were, etc. There were three possible outcomes: to be low, medium or high risk. Almost everyone came out as ‘medium risk’, which is fair enough, but the two most dangerous (reckless, rude and impatient) drivers were the ones given a ‘low risk’ status, which made me suspicious. After doing some investigation, I think I’ve figured out why this was: the test doesn’t use clever algorithms at all, it isn’t testing reaction times and conscientiousness, it’s just bollocks.

Disclaimer: no promises here, presumably there are a few tests like this around, and I only have experience of one. I’ve done my best to figure out how the tests work, but it’s all guesswork.

I took the test first. It consisted of a series of very simple questions you don’t need any knowledge to answer, such as:

When a cyclist pulls out in front of you without warning, how often do you get annoyed?

When late for an appointment, how often will you exceed the speed limit to get there on time?

There are five possible answers, things like: always, often, sometimes, rarely or never and you have to pick one.

The questions seemed so simplistic that I assumed to just put ‘never’ to every negative trait and ‘always’ to every positive trait would raise a red flag that I was lying. It being a psychometric test using a fancy algorithm, suggested that there was something complicated going on. So I didn’t completely lie, instead I put answers that were a slightly better version of me, my answers to the above questions were ‘rarely’ and ‘never’.

I came out medium risk. I discussed it with another colleague, and he had much the same approach, assuming that to claim he never got irritated with another driver or never sped up to get through the lights before they change would be unrealistic. He was also medium risk.

Then today I asked the colleague who got low risk, how he did it (I was in the van with him at the time, he was speeding through lights and cutting people up as we talked about it.)

“Well, they obviously just wanted us to put that we’d never do anything wrong, so I did that. I don’t know why they even put options other than always and never, because those were clearly the only answers they wanted. I mean they’re just idiots really.”

So there you are. As far as I can work out, there is no fancy algorithm or subliminal testing, they assume that if you say you’re a great driver who never does anything wrong, that you must be telling the truth. When asked if you’ve ever sped up to get through an amber traffic light, you should put never. Having asked around other colleagues for how they answered, backs that up also.

The frustrating thing is that the kind of personality that is comfortable and confident about lying, is not likely to be one that is a safe driver. Those who put more cautious answers (the ‘rarely’s and ‘sometimes’ answers) are penalised. I’d quite like to find out I’m wrong about this though, so if anyone has a different experience, or knows more about how the tests are designed would like to comment, that would be great.