Column 11: Sick, 17th January 2003
As I got on the bus, for some reason I was filled with a feeling of dread. Was it the sudden, violent coughing fit suffered by the young man in the elderly priority seats? Was it the old woman spewing blood over a discarded Evening Standard? Was it the girl with the oozing buboes? Was it the middle-aged man having a massive diarrhoea attack, gushing litres of brown liquid onto the floor? Was it the pus splattered all over the windows? Or was it the decomposing horse taking up four seats?
Using my copy of Felix as a fan, I was able to see through the pestilent fog long enough to find myself a seat. Behind me, among the groans, the sighs and the retching, I could hear the bus conductor asking for fares, so I got my pound ready. When his shrivelled head landed in my lap, releasing a cloud of disease-ridden spores, I was relieved – I could save that quid and use it to buy some paracetamol. I was developing a slight headache.
The next day I woke up feeling somewhat under the weather. Strange – I didn’t know there was a bug going round. When I say under the weather, I mean my skin had turned purple and my head had swelled to four times its usual size.
Lemsip seemed to have no effect, so I decided to go and see my doctor. I opened my mouth to say good morning to him, and he immediately collapsed and died. So I went to see another doctor. He asked me what the problem was. I said it was rather obvious, wasn’t it? My head had got wedged in the door on the way in, and a small crowd of children had gathered, and were asking whether it would be possible to make Ribena out of me. He said it looked like only a cosmetic problem, so I’d have to go private. He showed me several brochures and said we could get the liposuction and breast reduction done at the same time. Then he coughed and spluttered, then he groaned and wheezed, then he collapsed and died as well.
So much for conventional medicine. I thought it was time to check out some alternative remedies, so I popped down to my friendly local acupuncturist, who was a rather lovely young lady. I was somewhat apprehensive though, and my fears about having needles stuck into me proved well-founded when my abdomen burst open, covering her with thick, yellow pus. I thought I’d rather ruined my chances of a shag there, so I pinned myself back together and went down the road to see the aromatherapist.
The aromatherapist smelt a bit funny, so I went to see a homoeopathist instead, but all he did was give me a glass of water. Somebody offered me a herbal remedy, but that only made everybody else turn purple as well.
I think I’ll go to sleep now. Maybe it will be better in the morning.