My best-laid plans were scuppered ... by ‘proper flu’

A personal view
A personal view
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For those readers who know me, it might surprise you to know that I am sometimes a little lost for words.

This column can occasionally be a prime example.

The fortnight races by and, before you know it, I’m staring at a blank screen – sometimes looking for inspiration. This week’s column was meant to be different. I had a plan.

Over the last week, I was going to visit two exhibitions and discuss the importance of culture in our local society.

I had seen articles about the opening of the Bruce Lee exhibition at the Apex and the equally intriguing Gods of Sport photographic exhibition at the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art in Newmarket – which would also give me a chance to check out West Suffolk’s newest attraction.

Alas, it was not meant to be, as I instead saw first-hand the wonders of our local health service, the importance of heeding medical warnings and the exhaustion that comes with multi-tasking.

Let’s start with the important bit.

It was a Saturday night, about 10 days ago, when my wife first complained of feeling a little unwell.

A busy week, two busy children, we thought it was a simple reflection of a busy lifestyle.

Fast forward five days and she had barely left her bed. For another five days after, she was largely sofa-ridden.

For the first time in our lives, we had encountered ‘proper flu’ with more than a spot of bronchitis thrown in for good measure.

We initially did what we were told. We didn’t rush to the GPs, or A&E, we waited to see if things would improve.

After a couple of days, where my wife was getting worse rather than better, we called our GPs in Bury and, within eight hours, she had been seen.

Given the understandable angst around local medical services, it was an extremely positive experience – and one that overshadowed the automated phone service that I was greeted with when booking the appointment.

As the days passed, and she grew fed up with the same four walls, it also made us realise the importance of the flu jab.

I’d had it before, when I worked at West Suffolk Hospital, but that was because of a consistent and productive campaign to ensure staff took part.

Naively, it never dawned on me that my wife and I should have it done this year – even though we are both nearer our forties than thirties.

The final memory of a largely forgettable 10 days was the multi-tasking as I played the part of dad, mum, business owner, nurse, driver and other roles, ably assisted by wonderful grandparents.

It made me realise the importance of family – and the importance of my wife now being back on her feet once more.