My wife is a Practice Nurse and as such she keeps the family in check when it comes to anything medical. In this regard I can get away with very little in the way of man maladies. When sickness does call I am assured that, no matter how much pain I am in, I will make a full recovery. The term ‘man flu’ is often used to deflect from the seriousness of the way I feel. Other terms have been used too but I am not sure whether I am being nursed or patronised. ‘Man Stomach’ after a hot curry, ‘Man Migraine’ after a ‘couple’ of drinks and ‘Man Sciatica’ when I have been working in the garden.
There was one occasion when I was on several potions and lotions at the same time; cures for back pain added to antibiotics after having a wisdom tooth removed. Along with this I have some regular treatments on the go for allergies and the like. All in all quite a cocktail of, what I am assured are, legal drugs so long as I don’t go bike riding in France wearing a yellow jersey.
Even with these ‘Man’ difficulties I seldom get a look-in when it comes to sympathy because I am usually last in the queue after our four daughters. You can imagine that one runny nose follows another, leading to several weeks of extra toilet role use.
All our girls are blond with long hair so we also had weeks of hair treatment following an infestation of friends; the creepy crawly variety. We used the ‘they prefer clean hair’ encouragement used by our own parents but everyone knows that it is not the most positive thing to have.
We tried all the remedies but in the end it was evenings of combing that seem to do the trick. Even writing this I have started to itch as my nervous system comes out in sympathy.
I tend to get the least amount of sympathy when it comes to sports injuries; I am sure that it must be part of the NHS training to be less concerned, perhaps because they are seen as self inflicted. ‘I told you that you were too old to play such games’ my wife would often say as I hobbled back from playing football. All sports are capable of providing proof to my wife that I should begin to settle down. I once injured a fellow squash player when I rifled the ball directly into his eye causing him five days in hospital and two weeks of blindness. I have even been known to break a finger nail whilst playing crib with my father-in-law; sometimes the smallest of injuries can hurt the most.
Perhaps the most bazaar pain I have caused myself is during a five-a-side football competition. It was part of the rules that everyone should play in goals for fifteen minutes during the night. (This is the sporting equivalent of every musician having to play the drums for one song during a concert). I have met very few people who enjoy being in goals, those that do tend to be drummers.
As on all other occasions I tend to keep my inhaler as near as possible just incase I need some breathing help; I had the advantage of a breast pocket in which to keep my medicine.
I took my turn between the pegs and did my best not get injured in any sensitive area. I must have had a rush of enthusiasm because I dived for a ball to perform a near heroic save only to land on the inhaler in my pocket. Lying in casualty a few hours later I understood the hospitals staff’s amusement at the fact that an asthma inhaler had been the cause of two broken ribs.
I returned home to my private nurse to be greeted with one of her usual loving post-match looks. I handed her my prescription for two items that would cost us the best part of our take-away money.
‘I have thought of another ‘Man’ malady to add to the collection’, said my bride, ‘Man Poverty’; I am sure I heard her chuckle as she headed off to the chemist.