This week I have been broken by illness. And let me tell you, as a French (okay former French) this means a lot. Members of the French family do not get ‘ill’. They feel slightly less awesome, take some Tyelenol and move on. They do not let something as silly as an illness affect them. This would be weak. We are not weak. We are strong. During my five years of teaching in England (yes Grandma, it has been five years instead of the promised one, something I am forever being reminded of) I have taken one day off work for illness. One day. This week I completely shattered my almost perfect attendance record. I have not left the house since Tuesday. This is Saturday. It turns out the French mantra of “You’re not ACTUALLY sick” doesn’t always apply.
This is the progression of my illness (another thing the French family loves is a good, detailed description of anything less than nice, the more disgusting the better).
Saturday: “Hmm, my skin feels weird. I must drink more water, drinking more water fixes everything.”
Sunday: “Andrew if you come near my skin I will kill you. Literally kill you. Don’t even think of touching my skin. Everything hurts!! I must drink more water, that will help.”
Monday: “Weird, red patches. Nothing a French can’t handle! And those feelings of wanting to puke every 20 minutes are easy to ignore. To distract myself I will pretend I am a frog and play frog tag with the children.”
Tuesday: “Awesome, the patches have grown and now stretch around my body. Lovely, I have just woken up and I already feeling like garbage. That’s fine, there is only a week and 4 days left of work, only a weak person would admit defeat. Today I shall just walk slightly less like a drill sergeant to work to let my body have quiet time before I roll on the ground, jump through hoops (literally) and then teach long division.” 2 hours later…. “Okay, feeling dizzy. And pukey. Will. Not. Admit. Defeat. I can teach division from a sitting position! It’s all about compromising with your body!”
Tuesday afternoon: Call my Grandma for sympathy, “Alicia, it sounds like you have shingles. Go to the clinic.” “No, we Frenches don’t go to the clinic. We are tough.” Call my mother for sympathy, “Alicia, stop being like your father. Go to the clinic. Go now. GO. NOW.” Clinic nurse, “You have shingles. It’s going to get worse. No treatment for such tough, Navy Seal French family members like you! You can suffer through it using all of your experience of suffering!” (Okay, that may have been a slight exaggeration).
Wednesday: “BAHHHHHHH!! LOOK AT MY BODY! I AM A HUMAN SNAKE!!” Andrew- “You’re not going to work.”
Alicia- “It’s fine, as long as I take a taxi, move slowly, sit all day, nap at lunch and no one touches me all day long I’ll be totally fine!”
Andrew- “You’re not going to work.”
Alicia- Pouty face.
Andrew- “If you go to work you’re going to end up looking like a human snake on our honeymoon.”
Alicia- “I’m not going to work.”
Thursday: “THE PAINNNNNNNN! It can’t possibly get worse!! The blisters can’t possibly grow any larger! Now I look like a zombie snake!!!!”
Friday: “ARGHHHHH!! It hurts ten bazillion times worse! The blisters are growing!!!!! Now I look like a zombie snake with a sunburn!!!”
Saturday: “AHHHHHHHHHHH!! They have turned PURPLE!! Purple hurts more!!!! Purple is the colour of pain!!!!! Now I look like a nasty blistered Barney/Teletubby zombie snake!!”
Conclusion: I thought I was tough. I am not. Shingles are stronger than me. Shingles can break even the strongest of the Frenches!
Note: I would have attached photos as I think the blisters are incredibly awesomely nasty but for some reason I have a feeling that everyone else may not feel the same way. However, I have been updating my nearest and dearest with daily blister updates photos. How lucky are they?!?!?!?