Millennial Sickness, Hypochondria and Snot Levels


There is something vaguely ironic about the recent discovery that Kurt is allergic to grass. After years of watching his eyes stream and his chest heave at certain times of the year – symptoms I originally put down to Karma for abusing his body, (because I’m compassionate like that), and the sad reality that none of the five fruit and vegetables make up Aldi’s Chocolate Pillows breakfast cereal – it turns out that the culprit is hay fever.


Those of you that have kids on the Spectrum might not know that it makes them much more susceptible to allergies for some reason.


Inevitably, the old man passed has down the man-flu gene to our son, but what not even I realized until today, is just how difficult it is to persuade a Millennial that what they have is a just a case of the common cold, which doesn’t entitle them to a sick day.


When you come from a one-parent family background that relies on that one salary to put food on the table, a day off work is not really an option. You dose yourself up, shove a loo roll in your handbag, and you muddle through. That is what we were taught in the UK, where an inherent toughness is vital to survive the possibility of invasion at any time or a colder summer than winter. The cold is an accepted part of life over there, almost a badge of honor, the natural order of things – a bit like how trains stop running when it snows.


If everyone took a day off each time they had a sniffle, unemployment levels would skyrocket and the country would face a much greater national disaster than Brexit.


Australians are somewhat less resilient, I’ve discovered. While we Brits know that if you have the flu, you can’t actually get out of bed without losing control of your bodily functions and scaring people away, Aussies turn up to work, sneeze in your face and use “the flu” as an excuse.


Now, I’m not going to tell my son to ‘man the fuck up’, because I believe that sort of sexist comment encourages male toxicity and misandry, however, I do believe that I may need to introduce my children to my mother’s snot level guide, the way she distinguished how sick we really were as kids.


You see, back in the day, before we had modern gadgets such as thermometers, Neurofen and Dr Google, our mums decided if we had a temperature, usually by feeling our foreheads or by watching how much we ate. Another means – and one that my Mum was quite partial to for sniffing out the hypochondriac, was the snot test – and I can still remember those terrifying moments during her lengthy examination of my snotty tissue that I knew would determine my fate.


If the snot was at the clear end of the scale, we were fine; yellow and stringy – leaning towards green – it was a cold; I imagine that red snot would have made my mother’s brow crease with… could that be worry? Fortunately, one ever had red snot from memory, because that might have involved a trip to the doctor and woe betides anyone who was sick enough to see the doctor.

Woman Flu And Spreading The Love

Flu Warning
Flu Warning

I know you’re all sick to death of hearing about my flu. But it is now day 12.

Just sayin.

So I’m wondering if it’s time for THE blood test?

You see my body still feels like it has done the Tour de France, drug-free and with no training.

Twice, at least.

And I know that’s not normal.

And I’m feeling a tad guilty because I do believe that I successfully spread my little virus fairly successfully around the whole of the south-west of England during our Mince Pie Tour of Europe over Christmas. With the commitments we had, feeling sorry for myself in bed and watching back to back repeats of British ‘XFactor’ on such a socially heavily scheduled trip was never really an option, no matter how appealing it sounded.

You can’t let people down when you see them every three years, so you share your germs as well as your stories.

The Tour took us on an emotional roller coaster via Brittany in France and around the south west of England. The winds were obviously blowing in the right direction and when the flu virus spotted the easy target of my pathetically inadequate, newly-acquired Aussie defense system, it jumped at the chance to create some real physical havoc.

Seriously, who gets the flu and THEN a grade 9 cold all in the same seven days?

The most frustrating aspect of my illness was that due to the extremely painful symptom of what felt like a lacerated throat, I couldn’t even moan audibly about how terrible I felt. I certainly couldn’t protect myself from the unsympathetic verbal assaults shot in my direction by CLOSE family, every time I dared to mention how f*cking awful I was feeling.

Which was ALL the time.

You see, when you’re ill on holiday, no-one wants to know or really cares about how miserable you are feeling for fear of spoiling their own holiday expectations. Sympathy certainly wasn’t on offer and with our packed schedule of meetings with family and old friends to rival a Royal tour, there was no opt-out clause. Which mean’t I had no choice but to spread my germs, really.

Of course I felt bad about spreading my disease so blatantly to friends who had come to see us with the best intentions; particularly when my dastardliness involved children. At one point I did consider wearing one of those medical masks favoured by Asians to avoid contamination but the old man outrightly refused to let me, fearing that the onus would then be on him to take responsibility for all communication. So instead, I sewed my germs, croaking and snuffling my way around Europe, with only REALLY old people and babies let off the hook.

Fortunately, I did have some obvious symptoms to prove my malaise (like my pathetically croaky voice and fugly pallid skin), beyond the ‘faking it’ shaky limbs and headaches ordinarily associated with a serious bout of the flu, otherwise everyone might have come to the conclusion that I’d just aged horribly over the past few years and simply looked sh*t.

‘Attractive’ is not exactly how I’d describe my look over the past ten days, which was unfortunate when I obviously wanted to look younger or at least thinner than the last time we visited the homeland.

As I mentioned in my previous post, in fairness the extra kilos were due in part to MY rare strain of flu which uncharacteristically induced hunger rather than starvation, and with decent Chinese, Indian and Doner kebabs to catch up on, I made the most of my need to feed my illness.

After twelve days of sickness, I had unfortunately gained four kilos and was forced to request special help from the Virgin air hostess to help lever my new Kardashionesque ass into my economy seat home; although luckily (and FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER) we were upgraded to ‘extra leg-room’ seats, (which gave us a whole extra 4” at least), meaning we could cross AND un-cross our legs, although we did then require glasses to watch the miniscule tv monitors.

Anyway, according to the old man, I’m finally beginning to look better; the implication being that I’m well enough to cook, resume my domestic responsibilities and stop boring the pants off my readers about my woman flu.

Flu Warning courtesy of mrofiq at