Lucy Butterfield

This week, Saturday isn’t Treat Day. Saturday is sick day.

ill lucy butterfield sophie thorpe Week Five

I write this to you, reader(s?) of mine, from my sick bed. Waking up one morning last week to find my lungs replaced with sawdust and a voice to rival that of Deidre Barlow, I quickly diagnosed myself with pneumonia and snuck off home.

I suspect I’m not the best patient. This is partly the reason I took myself out of Cambridge and into the wilds of the Mancunian suburbs, not wanting to inflict upon my friends my frankly insufferable sick person demeanour.

I’d like to think I’m a Helen Burns, a Beth March, maybe even a Pollyanna when it comes to illness. I picture myself reclining attractively on silken sheets in beautiful nightwear content with only a Bible and a small wooden doll to amuse myself with for days on end.  I shall study the gospel, knit clothes for the poor and play the glad game whilst my body boils itself in its own disease.

The truth is a little different. Sweatily writhing around in mismatched pyjamas invariably splashed with tea, ketchup or benylin, constant attention is the name of the game. Regressing from the age of 19 to the age of 9, I refuse to swallow pills unless they are administered with spoonfuls of lemon curd.

Insisting my arms are too weak to lift books, I must have a multitude of magazines littered around my sick chamber and preferably held up in front of my pallid face for consumption.

I do not play the glad game. I play the go-and-get-me-some-ben-and-jerrys-this-instant-because-I’m-VERY-POORLY game.

Unfortunately such luxurious treatment is not always afforded me, particularly as I begin to recover. Usually my mother stands over me with a handful of painkillers, a glass of water (sorry Soph, we were out of champers) and a stern face until I do as I’m  bloody well told.

So if like me you have been turned into a vehicle of viral plague, a breeding ground for bacteria, a germ-ridden mucusy mess with a face that makes Eeyore look upbeat, then this is what I suggest. Escape. Dig a tunnel with a fish-knife if you have to.

Turn off your phone, ignore your emails, jump on a train and be nursed by people who are biologically programmed to love you.

Chin up.