I hate the way my kids shrug off a bug, as if they aren’t related to me at all.
All four of us in the house battled the same bug over the past couple of weeks.
It started with a bit of sneezing and a sore throat, moved on to a high temperature, fatigue, nausea and diarrhoea, and back to a second bout of sore throat at the end, just out of viral badness.
The high temperature and fatigue phase nearly knocked me off my feet and I took to the bed whenever my wife wasn’t looking.
The thing is, my wife comes from a family where it’s a sign of moral weakness to say you’re feeling sick — it’s not unusual to call to their house and see someone making dinner with two broken arms, because there’s no need to make a fuss.
Their approach to getting better is “fake it until you make it”.
We were the opposite in our family growing up, where the sick person was treated like a visiting priest, so you’d be put into the good room and filled up with biscuits and warm drinks.
My wife maintains this has turned my family into a pack of hypochondriacs, and there is never one of us “without an arse or an elbow” to use the medical term.
This makes it tricky when I get sick.
Instead of the good room and a gentle rub of the face, my wife would like me to go out into the shed and not come back until I am better. (She denies this, for the record.)
She reminds me of José Mourinho, who famously ignored injured players at the training ground when he was manager of Chelsea.
I don’t tell my wife about this, because things are tense enough without me using sport to explain everything. None of this makes me feel less sick.
Honestly, I had a brief hallucination of a bright purple bunny last week — that would have been enough to get me a selection box from my mother when I was back in the good room fighting off a bug.
This is no ordinary cold, I felt like saying to my wife, and I would have too, if it wasn’t for my unhelpful kids.
The sum total of my daughter’s illness was when she went to sleep under the beach umbrella for half an hour on holidays because she couldn’t keep her eyes open any more.
As for my son, it just took him a little less time to get grumpy and tired every day.
Other than that and some fairly theatrical visits to the toilet, you’d never know they were dealing with a bug.
What’s wrong with them? Instead of showing my wife how bad this thing really was, they insisted on draining every last drop of enjoyment out of life.
A better man than me might acknowledge that my wife’s family and my kids might be on to something with this “ignore your own illness campaign”. But that’s not the way I roll.
Honestly, I did try to fight it this time.
I dragged myself out of bed one afternoon and drove over to Douglas Shopping Centre to buy cat food, just to prove to my wife that I wasn’t going to take it lying down.
It felt like I was walking in treacle around the shop — I kept waiting for a tap on the shoulder from a stranger, asking if I was alright.
It never came. Later that night, my wife started her journey with the bug.
I was secretly hoping she’d throw herself on the ground and start sobbing with the sickness, telling me how good I was for dragging myself out of bed when I was clearly very sick.
Didn’t happen. She took two paracetamol, and that was that really.
It was almost like she was taking the piss.
I don’t know which is worse — bug-resistant kids or a smug wife.
Either way, I know where I’m going the next time I get struck down by a virus — back home to my mother.