All winter I've been expecting to get some illness - some kind of cold virus-type-thing - and all winter I've been worrying about it, because of my mother.
Because my Mum is having chemotherapy for peritoneal cancer, this makes her more vulnerable to infections.
I work with student doctors of course and they work with ILL PEOPLE! Also, because they are young and working in lots of new environments, they tend to pick up lots of infections.
So all winter I've been in front of groups of students who have been coughing and sneezing. There's usually one in the corner, deathly pale and huddled up in a coat, shivering.
"Emma, are you okay?"
"I've just got a cold. ATISHOO! I don't feel very well."
Anyway, I had triumphed! All the Autumn term, all the Christmas holidays, all the Spring term and no nasty germs had got me! I was beginning to feel rather proud, and remembering my Grandma, my mother's mother, who simply never got a cold no matter how much you sneezed over her.
"Don't worry, I won't get it. I don't ever get colds." And she never did, ever, and she died age 93. (I'm convinced she only died when she did as a gesture of defiance against the old people's home where she lived, where they were trying to make her eat salad, which she had always regarded as entirely pointless.)
Anyway. I think I managed to resist all these student germs because of having built up a good immune system during years of teaching sniffling adolescents who were infected with vile germs.
Now then, colds with me usually start with either sneezing a lot or a sore throat. The sneezing type of cold tends to progress very fast into the runny-nosed type, but at least it doesn't last long. The sore throat type, however, makes me feel dreadful for days before exploding into the twenty-tissues-an-hour kind and then turning into a hideous cough and bunging up my ears. Bah.
So there I was, in the Easter holidays, feeling rather smug at having avoided all these infections - - and then I started coughing. This virus is a whole new and exciting thing. No sore throat or sneezing for me, oh no. It went from a standing start into "hey, I think I'm going to COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH" - - - and so on.
It makes it very hard to sleep and also makes my stomach hurt from all the coughing. Worst of all - and I know everyone will be VERY sorry to hear this - I am losing my voice. Heartrending!
Of course, I'm worried that my mother will get it and so have tried to keep some distance from her, but she's not having any of it. Every time I go near her house (and she lives next door) I explain and ask her to keep back, but she won't. She's too worried about me. When I didn't go over to see her, she simply came over to see me. "Anything I can do? Can I make you something to eat?" I keep telling her that it sounds a lot worse than it is, but she's not having it.
She's making ten times more fuss about my cough than she ever did about her cancer. The over-eighties are made of stern stuff.