I am not frequently ill but when I am, all too often it is with some weird and wonderful disease. No common cold or straight forward food poisoning for me oh no. When it comes to being ill I think my body thinks it’s in some extreme sickness competition. I’ve had tropical diseases like Malaria, antiquated ones like Quinsy, suffered from gastroenteritis so severe that I had a temperature of 104 and lay in bed hallucinating for 4 days (and, perhaps worst of all, missed out on a holiday to Cyprus), and currently I’m suffering from Brucellosis. If you’ve never heard of it before, join the club. Perhaps it’s because it is a disease that mainly affects live stock. Basically I’m ill with something that cows rather humans can more readily sympathise with.
One of the things about having an illness that you’ve literally never heard of is that you’re just not sure if it’s socially acceptable to talk about it. For most illnesses you know who, where and under what circumstances you can talk about them, but with this I have no guidelines. This put me in a bit of a tricky situation when I was walking about town with my medicine in a see through carrier bag. This was not because I was seeking sympathy, but rather it was the only bag I could manage to get my hands on and I had to get some food from town before being able to take the medicine given and head home to bed. However, having medicine visibly on show obviously led people to ask me what the matter was. Their first question is always whether or not you have malaria. When you answer “no” their interest is immediately increased.
|The associated joys of having Brucellosis|
I tried the non-committal answer tactic but evasion doesn’t really work all that well when people start listing illnesses in the hope of working out what you’ve got. Frankly after a while (well, in fact almost immediately when you’re ill and your tolerance levels are at an all time low) the game gets a bit old so I just ended up saying that I had Brucellosis. Thankfully no-one looked all that horrified, in fact one former- Brucellosis sufferer even started shouting questions and sympathy across an internet café, so much for patient confidentiality!
Perhaps there’s just no such thing as socially unacceptable diseases here, maybe I have made a huge gaff by stating that I’ve got Brucellosis but people were being too polite to look at me aghast, of course it could be that I’ve got something that’s just as acceptable as malaria, flu or the common cold. I’m not sure, but thankfully in 3 weeks time I’ll be Brucellosis free and will no longer need to concern myself with such matters.