Head, Shoulders, Foot & Mouth

Today the doctor laughed at me. I didn’t find it so amusing.

After half an hour in the waiting room, with our daughter doing continuous laps of honour, we went in to see him. He asked how we were, I explained about having a high fever on Monday, and feeling drained, and the blisters on my hands that showed up on Thursday, and he made some notes on timings, and he looked at me, and he looked at my wife, and my wife looked at me, and he laughed, and then he looked in my mouth to confirm it.

I’ve come down with Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, which I’d never heard of until I got to Asia – previously I thought this was restricted to cows, and the treatment protocol was a burning pyre. But HFMD is different, a viral infection that generally only unhygienic preschoolers get, or occasionally people with depressed immune systems, which is perhaps me after a week of training hard and working hard and trying to manage La Serpiente Aquatica Negra at the same time.

First, you get a fever. Then the fever stops. Then you break out in ulcers all over your hands, feet and the inside of your mouth. It’s spread through bodily fluids like spit, which is why it runs rampant through youngsters, it’s really rather painful, and the only cure is to wait until your body deals with it, and pop ibuprofen in the meantime.

On the other hand, it’s not something that’s considered infectious or that will stop you working (despite the lethargy and discomfort) so you don’t get signed off work. I gloomily returned to the office to pick up my laptop charger, then slouched home to work from the bedroom, where I could at least put my feet up and alleviate the pressure.

If I’d been a kindergartener, on the other hand, they’d have closed the kindergarten for ten days until they were past the incubation period. Once again, one rule for adults and quite another for two and three year olds.

The good news is that, unless those blisters on every joint of my hand rupture, or if I start licking my daughter’s face, she shouldn’t be at much risk of catching it from me, so I can at least pick her up when she wails at night. This is good because she’s awfully clingy right now, as she negotiates another Great Leap Forward in her development. Well, she seemed to say "more" and "bird" today, in addition to spinning in a big circle when I took her for a walk this afternoon.

Today I also spent some time solving quadratic equations and differentiating cubic equations to find points of inflection, because those are the sorts of zany adventures I have when I’m feeling unwell, and if I didn’t do these things, who would draw the graphs?

It’s also Pizza Friday today, the day of the week I get to have pizza after eating healthily for the rest of the week. Except this week I’ve subsisted on chocolate and cake, so this Friday we compensated for that by eating … pizza. Having lost over four kilos since the start of this year, I have a little bit of wiggle room. Which is to say, none of my trousers fit.

2 responses to “Head, Shoulders, Foot & Mouth”

  1. 4 kilos? How did you do that? Also I am amazed that you caught HFMD from somewhere other than your daughter. Although I guess she is not at nursery yet, just being a small child in itself isn’t enough to qualify her as a germ incubating machine.
    Hope your HFMD sorts itself out soon.

    • I was somewhat amazed at the weight loss too – a combination of cutting down on pastries between meals, much less booze, and all this running and spinning seem to have done the trick. Although to be honest, with the rate of cake production in our house at the moment, just staying at the same weight would have been impressive enough.

      HFMD done and dusted, I hope. From now on, I’m going to spray all children with an alcohol-based solution before going within 10 feet of them. You can’t take chances.

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