Thursday, October 26, 2006


It was November 1973 and I was feeling very rough. I had a streaming cold and I went to see my doctor. He took one look at me and said “You have influenza.” I told him that I’d had ‘flu before but never like this. He told me that although I’d had several colds before. I’d never had full-blown influenza.
“Go home, go to bed and stop there for a few days,” he advised. “This is serious; I’ll come and see you in two days time.” I went home, phoned in work and said I was ill. With that, I sat down to a light lunch. Suddenly, I found I had lost my appetite and felt as weak as a kitten. My wife instantly bundled me off to bed with a couple of hot water bottles and an electric blanket. “Sweat it out,” she advised. I began to realise that this indeed was no ordinary cold and I was in no mood to argue.
I stayed in bed all that day wondering how I could contact Iris. In 1973, very few households had bedside phone extensions so a phone call was out of the question.
In the afternoon, my daughter came to see how I was and I asked her to ring Iris for me and tell her I wouldn’t be around for a day or two. A day or two!!! Little did I know then that I would be incapacitated for a whole week in bed.
I had a very restless night and most of it was a combination of feeling awful and worrying about Iris. The doctor came the next morning and confirmed the influenza. He told me it would take at least a fortnight for me to get over it. My wife started ringing round my agents to cancel club bookings and to inform work of my absence for the immediate future.
I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t interested in the newspapers or radio (There was no TV in the bedroom) and I just lay there for the first few days in a miserable state! I was so very worried about Iris and wondered if she knew how I was. My daughter reassured me that she’d been phoning Iris every day to tell her of my progress or, at that time, my prolonged incarceration. Iris had told her I shouldn’t worry; she was thinking of me and hoped I would soon be on my feet again. This was only three days into my bedfast state and it seemed like a month!
I was being fussed over and cosseted by the family who really were concerned about me but selfish as it may seem, I longed for the bedroom door to open and find Iris standing there. God, how I was missing her!
More next time.

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