I have an underlying blood condition that makes me, on occasion, a pale shadow of my former self. Quite literally.
If I don’t mainline spinach and yeast extract on an hourly basis and ensure that I pump myself full of bowel-clogging iron supplements (too much information, but proof if ever you needed it that I truly am full of shit) I tend to fall over. Often in public places, although notably once head first into my mother’s compost bin – when I came round, she was picking coffee grounds and carrot peel off my face like an ape removes fleas from its mate.
Anyway, having forgone the usual iron rations, suffered a bout of Scarlet Fever and continually worked the kind of hours that would have made Aleksei Stakhanovite claim for constructive dismissal, I have welcomed back my old friend, anaemia. Frankly, Scarlet Fever was far more flattering to the complexion – presently, I look as if I have recently crawled out from beneath a dank rock, having first doused myself in Dulux’ green-tinged ‘apple white’ paint.
The best case scenario is that I spend several months downing spinach, yeast extract and Guinness smoothies, the worst case scenario involves a blood transfusion.While I am inordinately grateful to those who have donated an armful of claret to the national blood bank and saved my life on at least two occasions, I can’t say that a transfusion is something anyone in their right mind looks forward to. Even vampires prefer the warm stuff, and I can’t help but wish that there was somewhat more of a selection process with blood, like there is with sperm donations. I’d like my blood to be from someone who likes pina coladas and making love in the rain but doesn’t like yoga (and has half a brain), if possible, please.
Having been ordered to ‘take it easy’ (hollow laugh, shaking of head, deep sigh) I find myself working from home with only trips to the doctor’s surgery to entertain me. They have become somewhat of a highlight, with their never-ending supply of ill people just dying (sometimes quite literally) to tell you their symptoms. I include myself within their number.
I have gone from a miserable misanthrope likely to spray tear gas in your eyes if you so much as greeted me in the street to one of those people who, when you ask them how they are feeling, tells you. For half an hour. Minimum. I now purposely try and catch the eye of other patients (not literally, I’m not a gory juggler) so I can tell them in painful detail just how ill I am feeling.
If I’m really lucky, the whole eye-catching-thing will lead to a really gratifying round of martyr’s poker in which I can see the old man next to me’s ulcerated leg and glaucoma and raise him a “funny turn” in the Co-op near my house and an inexplicable and disfiguring rash.
At the very least, the surgery is a place where I can sneeze without benefit of a handkerchief and spread a little of the love in the full knowledge that most people will be grateful for some new symptoms to bore other people to death with.
On the plus side, I will shortly be accompanying Derek ‘Ghost Hunter’ Acorah (apologies to my Stateside friends, I believe Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson are your equivalent) on a paranormal investigation in a ‘haunted’ house and will, I would imagine, provide all the ghostly presence such a venture could ever require. By night vision camera, I would imagine I will be almost luminous. On the minus side, I’m not sure I’ll count as a bonafide ghost – for a start, I actually exist.