Alone, and in silence (except for the coughs)


I’ve been feeling a bit rough the past few days. It’s nothing complicated, just a cold, and I’m used to coping with those, but this is the kind of cold that doesn’t fit in very well with my everyday life in a call centre. The feeling of being washed out I can handle, I’ve done that before, and as long as I can just stick to sitting at my desk, the occasional bout of light-headedness is also manageable.

Unfortunately, this one has got me in the throat. Since late Friday, I’ve been suffering one of those dry, barking coughs that are extremely annoying. I used to be more vulnerable to these little throat bugs than I seem to be now, when they used to manifest themselves rather as dry and sore throats, kept at bay by chainsucking Cherry Tunes.

But Tunes disappeared a couple of years ago, leaving me dependent at such times on Hall’s Soothers, of which the cherry tastes unpleasant so I have to rely on the blackcurrant flavour.

Not that that is making more than temporary headway against my throat, nor are the Wild Berry and Rose Lem-Sips – also not the world’s most edifying taste, I can assure you. It made for rather a restricted weekend, since the whole thing was doing nothing for my powers of concentration, I can tell you.

Unfortunately, I was back at work yesterday, logging in for a ten hour shift, uncertain as to whether or not this was a good idea. It took about forty-five minutes to conclusively prove that it was not a good idea, during which I had spoken to five people and had to apologise for coughing down the ears of all of them, and it was only getting worse. Talking only exacerbates the cough, and that only happens to be the core of my job.

So here I am at home, for a second day. The cough is showing signs of diminishing, at times, but it keeps on coming back,and it’s now reached the point where the cough has been so persistent that it’s painful to more than just the throat: my ribs ache from the battering every time it gets the better of me.

And this is without me talking to anyone. Which is the rub: how do I know when I’m properly over this nasty little throat-thing? I’m not keen on the idea of reporting for work tomorrow and being driven home after less than an hour again: that’s a bit too farcical.

On the other hand, like all employers these days, the people who pay my wages don’t like sickness absence, of any kind. I’ve already been asked if I’ve been to see the doctor, which is a bit laughable when you can only get appointments on a fortnight’s notice, so if you’ve got a three-to-five day illness, you know not to bother: it’s their equivalent of the excess on a car insurance policy.

So, in the absence of medical advice, I’ve invested in a cough syrup, and that truly is vile, and it’s not having any noticeable effect yet.

So I don’t like being off sick at any time, but this one is going to be tricky to judge: how can I know when I’m going to be fit to go back and talk to people all day when I live alone and talk to no-one?

Around here, I live without the sound of the human voice. Except for the coughing, of course.

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2 thoughts on “Alone, and in silence (except for the coughs)

  1. Sorry to hear you’re poorly Martin, this sort of illness is a nightmare for me and something I try to avoid or keep at bay. Here’s some of the things I do, chew garlic clove, steam inhalations, Sandersons Throat Specific for sore throat, Olbas Oil on a handkerchief at night, vocal rest two days. My Dad swears by Day Nurse and Night Nurse for coughs.

  2. Thanks for the suggestions, Charlotte. I’ve very definitely had a relapse tonight (that cough syrup is absolutely vile. Seriously). and I’ll have a look at some of those ideas tomorrow.

    I like the new gravatar photo.

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