Monday, 19 November 2012

Screwy Thinking: The Upside to Norovirus...

So.  There we all are.  Fluffhead, the nearly 3 year old now, has been transformed into the scary and baneful Tetchyhead for over a week.  The poor thing already had a bad cold when he lucked into a lovely dose of stomach flu.  Apparently, Norovirus is one of many viruses you and I would have called gastroenteritis once upon a time.  You know, the all ends open free for all virus.  Whoever gets to the toilet first claims it virus.

All last Monday night was the poor bean being mind bogglingly ill and refusing a bucket, so it was very messy.  No one else had much of a chance to not catch it.  And 2 days later we did.  Ah, parents: do you remember those brilliant days when you got sick and could take a Sick Day?  Lay down on the sofa, have tissues, whatever, veg before the TV?  Or just sleep, be quiet?  When a Sick Day basically meant you were allowed to just be sick and get about recovering?!  Sigh...

So, just for the record, and for anyone out there with a sick virused-up child (heartbreaking), and then dealing with the same lergi yourself after many nights of hardly a moment of sleep, here are just 3 things that may make you feel one tiny wincy touch better about it...As in, you may smile a bit.  A bit:

(a) The totally unintentional (and no doubt temporary) loss, on my part, of half a stone.  I saw myself in the mirror and actually wanted to put on a bikini.  (I don't have one, because of the usual appearance of my stomach, since the birth of Fry, 22 years hasn't improved since then, and squashing out Fluffhead aka Tetchyhead did not help matters.  Its not huge; its just wobbly and a bit too big.)  Suddenly - I had a FLAT stomach.  Stanley suggests maybe we all retain tons of water and this virus just sucks it off, one way and another.  I dunno...But for however long - I am almost a Bond Girl.  Imagine!

(b)  The complete and utter lack of food bill this last week.  (Balance this with the massive upsurge in toilet paper buying.)  All we have been living on is water, crackers and toasted white bread.  Someone brilliant told me to boil white rice  with a little salt and to drink the *rice water* - apparently this is home made rehydration salts.  I checked the info online, and it is so - I found some sites where doctors said this was an ok thing to do; apparently the rice releases starch as it boils which counts as the sugars part of the rehydration salts.  I got told it a bit too late though, and had already successfully and proudly held down several crackers, so was beyond that.  I can try it next time and see if it helps.

(c) Technically, after catching Norovirus, you are immune for 14 weeks; yes, only 14 weeks.  (You are also still infectious for up to 2 weeks after; you must wash your hands A LOT, and the virus can live on surfaces for 3 weeks, maybe more - so don't go inviting people over to your house unless you hate them and wish them ill, for that period.)  So, unless you are fatally unlucky, get it now, lateish November, and you will NOT be one of the poor sods who ends up having it over Yule/Christmas/New Year.  You might not love that whole period, but it would be a tonnage worse having to deal with that whole schebang and all the associated people if you felt horribly nauseous or were post viral and wiped out and deathly (thats where we are now).

So there you go.  Some cold comfort for any sick people out there right now.  And its taken it out of me to bother to write this little postage of inconsequential poo (no pun intended, really), so I am going to go and spend the rest of Tetchyhead's nap feeling grumpy on the sofa or something.  I'm feeling very sorry for myself today, even though I'm getting slowly better.  I just wish Tetchyhead would get better too.  He's over the worst; but still the damn cold, the coughing.  Children.  What a hoopla.  Right - off to go and be grumpy.

Oh - And use Anti VIRAL Hand Sanitizer when you can.  Forget Anti Bacterial, you want Anti Viral - Boots does one, go find it.  Its helpful as a precaution against re-infection with a different strain of the bleedin' Noro.  Which would be all you need, right?  But be paranoid about it, cleanse frequently.  And try to keep washing the children too - they will insist on licking everything and constantly putting their hands in their mouths.  You can't hope to clean every surface; all you can hope is to clean your hands enough - and if you ever saw Contagion, remember the golden rule: Don't Keep Touching Your Face!!  (I found that film terrifying; but then, I am a germ freak.)

Be well, everyone! 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Navelgazing for 3 minutes

For Troubadour in particular – who worried I had been a bit silent recently.  I’m ok, just thinking!

The truth is that I’ve been wondering for ages, really, whether I’m still meant to be a writer.  I have no doubt I WAS meant to be a writer, before boys, before too many hormones got underway.  Rollicking through me and rearranging my brain in a way that made me think doing was more important than imagining, being, recording, singing associations and words together. 

Suddenly it was all about…what my nipples might feel like one day.  And that mad day when I looked in a mirror (like a thousand girls before me) and wondered if I looked any different now I’d had sex.  Now my little personal energy field, that essential BlackberyJuniperness had been so literally pricked and entered by someone else.  Did I glow a different colour?

It’s weird to think that doing things, and having experiences could be ‘wrong’ ever, when chosen, and not harming others (for the most part – how far do you want to Domino Effect your actions?  How much responsibility for others is yours – an argument I had many a time with Troubadour).

Maybe I don’t mean wrong.  It’s just that in all the doing, I lost the much needed equilibrium of being, seeing, recording, revising, sifting, understanding.

It’s like I cut off an arm, and ever since, I’ve been puzzled as to why I can’t hold the proverbial Cup of Life in two hands.  Why am I surprised?!

I think my writing was a link between my left and right brain.  By storyfying things I understood better objectively.  Subjective helped the appearance of objective.

Without the writing, I’m left in the land of the subjective only.  The (sometimes) horrible endless present moment that I can make no sense of, no larger picture, no point of any kind.

In that sense, I NEED to still be a writer.  I need to have these times, sitting at my desk, pen humming, or keyboard puttputting.  I need to bring me out and objectify, validify[1].  Get rid of, or make a cake of.  It’s all a scary unfinished soup otherwise.

And if I made some ‘art’ or money along the way, wouldn’t that be splendid?  Otherwise, I will sink in what Raymond Carver called ‘this position of unrelieved responsibility and permanent distraction […] every waking hour subject to the needs and caprices of [his] children.’[2]

I will sink.  I have been sinking.  (Fluffhead has been unwell again, a while.)

I have to open my mouth and blow the bubbles that will save me; make the hand gestures that will enable me to float.  Maybe even gain some direction, some momentum.

Apparently I’m a writer if I write or not.  More to the point:  I get a bit headsick and ill and unsteady at life if I don’t.  Can’t have that.  Only get to be this BlackberryJuniper once.

[1] Some of my best conversations with Fry and Alias True do exactly this: help us to understand what the hell we think and mean, a lot better than before.
[2] Fires, by Raymond Carver, London: Picador, 1986, pp.32-3.  I recommend this book to anyone who wants to write – he had an ordinary life to fight against, it will ring bells.  A grand struggle consisting of family, low paid jobs, drinking and such a need to write stuff down.  Brilliant book.