November 4th, 2008


Cold comfort

I'm not blogging about the elections. I'm barely even watching the elections (though I'm listening to the BBC's live streaming video in the background). I make a lousy political commentator at the best of times, and this is not the best of times.

I've had a lousy cough and cold for several days, and last night it turned nasty; tonsils swelled up, swallowing became painful and difficult, speaking became nearly impossible. This morning it took the doctor about 2 seconds to diagnose tonsilitis. ("What's wrong?" "*croak*" "Let's have a look... oh dear. Are you allergic to penicillin? You've got tonsilitis." She'd printed out the prescription practically before I'd answered her, though the only answer I could manage anyway was a shake of the head.)

I hate coughs and colds. I hate their narrowing effect; the throat narrowing to a painful bottleneck, the nasal passages narrowing from a river of air to a stagnant trickle, the lungs tightening and wheezing. Time narrows, too: to the next dose of painkillers, or the next digit on the clock through the long sleepless hours of the night. But worst of all, the mind narrows; lights go out throughout all the buildings that make up the civilisation of the psyche, until it's left as a vast disused lot with just one single dogged but insignificant train of thought, marching like a line of ants across a pile of rubble. Every cough and sneeze jolts it off track; it struggles to get through the tangled undergrowth of pain and the sticky dust of congestion; it forever risks being washed down the cracks with the endless pourings-on of boiling water (mitigated by herbal teabags); and when it does get anywhere, the 'line' turns out to be a scurrying disconnected mass. It can only carry anything if all the parts work together; and under that sort of onslaught, they don't always manage it.

Here they come, though. Struggling through, carrying the last leaf-fragments of this post on their backs, before crawling back underground into the dark.