Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Back from planet Tickbite Fever

It is a much purified Mur who writes to you today. Not a whiff of nicotine nor drop of alcohol has passed my lips in two weeks and I’m feeling immensely cleansed.

And terribly, terribly boring.

Sadly, though, my dear old body – that entertainment centre that has served me so well and for so long – has made it very clear that if I so much as think about any substance more fun than, say, a cup of rooibos tea, it will instantly revert to where it was a week ago, which is to say at death’s door (or what felt like it, anyway).

I have to admit that, cavalier as I am about most physical ailments (when one has hangovers as often as I do, cavalier is the only way to be), when the doc gave me a hefty injection and told me sternly that if I didn’t stop hurling within the hour I would have to be hospitalised, I was a little alarmed. I would have been more alarmed, I daresay, had I not been trying to prevent my head splitting into seventy-two separate pieces. (The word ‘crippling’ in association with a tickbite-fever headache kept coming up. Believe me, it’s an accurate description.)

I may have clocked a bit earlier in the process that something was wrong (like, seriously wrong, not just 10-too-many-glasses-of-wine wrong) had I not also woken up on that fateful Tuesday two weeks ago with, yes, a hangover. In fact, in the early hours of that morning – at 5am, if I am to be very honest – my 16-year-old daughter came through to the living room, where my friend K and I were playing very loud Bob Seger and had been for hours, and behaving in an extremely irresponsible manner, and said, ‘Mom! TURN DOWN THE MUSIC! I’M TRYING TO SLEEP!’


And even though I was actually up with my exam-writing teenage children a short while later, as the sun was rising, giving them uncalled-for advice about their forthcoming ordeal (‘Read ALL the questions; concentrate; don’t cheat’), my kids were still miffed at me for being such a crap mom.

Not that I can blame them. My daughter (who’s recently and without any forewarning become militantly vegetarian, and sneers at me when I have a lamb chop), said, while I was wielding the Cornflakes package and dispensing yet more unwelcome advice (‘Take your vitamins; why are you having so much Marmite on that?; who’s having coffee?’), ‘And do us a favour: don’t talk to us while your teeth are black, okay?’

(It is my dental hygienist’s fault. She has spent so many years conscientiously scraping the plaque off my enamel that there’s no enamel left. So one glass of red wine and I appear to have dunked myself jaw-first into a barrel of indigo. It's a dead giveaway.)

My poor kids. What a genuine horror to have such an unsuitable parent.

Which is why I was so thrilled to read in the Sunday Times a few weeks ago that ‘perfect parents have the most miserable children’. Many hats off to Women24 editor Sam Wilson (who has two small boys of her own, and has been known to get pissed and make inappropriate suggestions to people next to her at the bar), whose survey concluded that ‘parents should take time out for themselves and not smother their children’.

Well, there you go. Not that it made any difference to my kids when I slapped the article down in front of them early that morning. My son laughed a hollow kind of laugh; my daughter looked at me the way I look at her when I’ve given her a curfew of midnight and she finally stumbles in at 1am.

And not that it made any difference to my hangover to end all hangovers, which was first misdiagnosed as malaria then, four days later, correctly as tickbite fever.

What it has done is made me too scared to drink. I just can’t imagine feeling like that ever again, even if this time it really is only a hangover. I can see it’s going to be a very sober festive season.

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tonypark said...

I've missed you terribly and now I know I don't want to get anywhere near any ticks.

Nice to have you still with us.

Mrs Blog and I have cornered the market on hangovers on your behalf over the past week, as we celebrated her 40th over several nights with 21 other aussies.

Mrs B had a putsi on her shoulder once, from her bra strap, and I got to squeeze it, which was immense fun (for me, not her). I've already gone over the too much information line, so I'll let slip here that I think I have one under my arm at the moment and that she will soon have her revenge.


The last of the aussies is about to leave, so at least that dull aches in my kidneys is receeding.

I do wish you a speedy convalescence and hope you're back on the red by late Jan

x tp and np

bec said...

I was just about to warn you to get back in the saddle before the Parks appeared, but he's done it for me...

Hope you're feeling better soon, tickbites are Not Nice.

meggie said...

How come they didn't realise it was tickbite fever? Can you be bitten without being aware of it?
It sounds like a living death to get through.
Hope you are soon feeling much better, & can resume having some fun.

Hmph, I have been known to lecture my kids, telling them they dont always need alcohol to have 'fun'. As I drunkenly lurch down the hall!

Muriel said...

Tony and Bec -- Tks for the good wishes, I am working hard on recovery and (Tony) plan to be back on full throttle by end Jan.
Meggie -- I do get recurring malaria, so the doc first assumed it was just another round, albeit a stinker. Yup, you can get bitten by a tick without feeling it. It took a bit of searching to find the bite a few days later, which goes a diagnostic colour (black, yeuch); you also come out in an interesting rash and of course there's the crippling headache. I'm still off the sauce -- have missed two parties already, so you can see it's serious!

Juno said...

So glad you're up and back and better , darling Muriel. Where did you get the tick? I didn't know your little Cape village was a tick-bite fever hotspot?

angel said...

oh my friggin word muriel!
you really have been through the wringer!
i am so glad you're feeling more yourself again!