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Volume 3, Number 12
December, 1998

Fiona Jane Speaks Out
Sick, Sick, Sick...

By Fiona Jane

I am sick.

And to put it bluntly, being sick sucks.

I've been sick for five days now, and I'm well and truly over the novelty value of it all. Sure it's nice the first day you have off work - except for the fact my eyes hurt, I couldn't stop coughing, my skin was giving me a horrible feeling that it was thinning on my back and my head ached.

Since then my symptoms have varied. I've worked my way through the sporadically blocked nose, the heavy wheezing chest and fevered night-sweats. Currently my right ear is sore but my vicious coughing attacks have briefly subsided.

I kind of liked the coughing because at least everyone else knew that I was suffering. It wasn't just your average "ah agh? I think I should have chewed that chip before I swallowed" but a deep and painful expulsion of air that made everyone who heard it either wince in sympathy or move away immediately.

It's not that I'm solely out for the sympathy vote, I'd just like a little understanding and compassion for the pain I'm going through, and symptoms that stand out are the best way to get it. Think about it, the best martyrs were the ones who suffered really publicly. Sure I'm not actually standing up for anything I believe in and won't be making the world a better place, but I think I deserve some kind of attention anyway.

I rang my boyfriend to let him know that I was dying. "Oh no," was his reply "When are you dying?" "Not immediately" I told him. He butted in with "Oh good, can I call you back then?"

Nice. What if I was going to finish my sentence with "but the doctor has advised me that this'll be the last call I ever make" or "I don't think I'll be seeing you ever again"? No, I don't think you can call me back, darling.

OK, so I don't have cancer, it's pretty unlikely that I'll die from this, and a lot of people in the world are far worse off than I am but I still feel that it's my right to dramatize my illness as much as I want to. Yes, I am a big whiner, but that's what being sick is all about.

Some people whine all the time and they don't deserve sympathy when they're sick because they've already used their portion when their plant died. And when their grandmother didn't leave them anything in the will. And when their teeth hurt. And when they got kicked out of the flat they were sharing because no one wanted to hear that fucking whale call tape anymore. I'm not one of those constant whiners (am I?), and therefore, when I'm sick I should be allowed to be a little precious.

I told my friend Col that because I was sick, I may be a little petulant, but to ignore it as a side effect of my illness. He smiled at me and asked would he notice a difference? So much for people making an effort.

My doctor didn't even believe that I was sick initially, and grudgingly gave me a medical certificate for one day only. Four days later, she actually looked surprised when I walked back in, "You're still sick??". "Cough...splutter...cough...yes" I answered. What I really wanted to say was "and if you had done an accurate consultation you would know this and would have prescribed me the correct anti-biotics instead of letting me get sicker for three days and telling me to buy medicine that did nothing but make me $30 poorer"

So I'm sick of being sick and tired of being tired. I can't imagine why people become hypochondriacs. Who wants to always think that they're coming down with some disease? Not me, that's for sure!

I think I'll start taking my mother's advice. I won't just buy the fresh fruit and vegetables but I'll actually eat them before they need to be thrown out. I will stock up on multi-vitamins when I go to the supermarket and I will start getting lots of sleep.

Maybe next year I'll be able to say this at the end of an article written by a healthy and happy person - Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years!

Love to All

love, Fiona
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