“No, he’s not our [DS1] yet,” said DS1’s teacher, when I asked how he seemed after returning to school from his illness. “He didn’t say ‘no’ when I asked him to do something.”

Despite going back to school, he was not right. He still looked pale and was reluctant to go outdoors. “My lungs and legs hurt if I go outside,” he whinged.

The day before his return, facing the prospect of going to the doctor or back to school, he had chosen the doctor. A sure sign he was not well. The thought of going to the doctor and the subsequent interaction required, as well as any potential nasty medicine that could follow as a result, was usually far too much to contemplate – and a miraculous recovery would normally ensue.  

But, although still ill, when it came to making an appointment he reneged on the deal. The thought of speaking to a doctor was just too much. Mind you, I was 29th in the queue to speak to a human being at the surgery – and I had no desire to remain on the phone for an hour – so I gratefully put the phone down.

We compromised on going to the pharmacy instead to get some cough mixture to ease his persistent, rattling cough. Now, DS1 and cough medicine don’t go hand in hand, but it was a chance he was willing(ish) to take.

Finally, pushing him out the door, we made it to Boots before it shut. Medicine duly selected – its flavour accepted – we returned home. He flopped on the sofa waiting expectantly for the syrupy mixture. He took one sip and rejected it immediately.

“It’s disgusting,” he complained, bitterly.

“Maybe, but don’t you want to get better?”


He grimaced once more and slurped down another helping, retching, before reaching immediately for some water to wash the offending potion down.

For his next dose, I hit on the idea of mixing it with honey. This was welcomed by DS1. But, unfortunately, it failed to mask the taste sufficiently. His appalled face returning as he spat the offending liquid out – into the sink rather than on the floor, though, which was something at least.

“I’m not having that medicine ever again,” he declared.

“Is it doing any good?”


“So, wouldn’t it best to suffer a few seconds of horribleness so that you feel better?”

“That medicine is going in the bin.”

And there it lies.

The cough continues.

The air apparent

To make life easier, the wife decided to be ill as well. Alas, one evening I was tardy making it home in time for stories, so the wife struggled up the stairs to read to him.

Feeling decidedly under the weather she was rather monotone in her reading style.

“Put a bit more enthusiasm into it, woman,” DS1 urged.

The wife patiently explained why her tone was erring on the side of dour.

“Just like you being ill, you don’t feel like doing anything either do you?” she said. “In fact, I am more ill than you are right now and want to be in my bed to suffer in peace and quiet, not sitting on your floor reading. So, you should not only be grateful that I am here at all, but you should be bringing me cool fresh water to my bed and asking if I need a little snack like I do for you when you are ill.”

“But, that’s different,” he replied. 

“In what way?”

“Er, that’s me being ill.”  

He did relent enough to allow the wife to move from her position on the floor to under his duvet though, so maybe a small part of the message got through.

School breaking up a couple of days later gave him the chance to continue his recuperation back at home. And he took advantage – the lead-up to Christmas saw him mainly living his life on the sofa, feeling sorry for himself.

The fact, as we tried to explain, that he would start to feel better if he got dressed and went outside for some fresh air was lost on him.

His lungs still hurt, so there was no way he could entertain the idea that this would help him to rebuild his strength in order for that feeling to go away.

He was stuck in a pajama paralysis.

Eventually, in an attempt to silence the nagging, he leaned over, opened the back door, stuck his head out and exclaimed: “Right, I’ve had some fresh air now”, before slumping back into his slumber.

Later, some unintelligible noises emanated from the lounge.

The wife, who was in the vicinity, enquired as to their meaning, but only got further noises in response.

“Do you want some food?” she asked him, among other things, as she tried to decipher his intent.

An emphatic ‘no’ was the reply. At least she thinks that’s what he said.

Giving up, she returned to her sick-sofa in the adjoining room.

Teetering on the edge of annoyance, I ventured into the lounge sick bay.

“What is it you want?” I asked, curtly.

A series of mumblings followed.

“You need to speak clearly if we are to understand you!”

“Food,” he finally enunciated. (Well, the mutterings were clear enough that I could work out what it was he was after – I’m not sure an outsider could have decoded it).

“Mum just asked you if that was what you wanted.”

“No, she didn’t.”

“She did, I heard her.”

“No,” he cried.

Wall. Brick. Bang. Head. Against.

What he really meant was: ‘I am hungry and it has to be Dad that fetches me some food.’

“Just f*cking tell us at the outset and we could have saved all this b*llocks and you could have had your food 20 minutes ago, you little sh*t. You don’t help yourself do you!” I managed to stop myself saying. Well, I removed a couple of the swear words anyway… I think. 


  • Sherry

    😂😂😩😩 they just love to test us parents don’t they! Hope #6 is feeling better!

    • Phil Clisby

      Indeed they do. Yes, all back to full health. Although I have man flu, which, as we all know, is the worst illness there is.

  • Clive

    Happy New Year guys (!)

    • Phil Clisby

      And to you. Hope to see you soon!

  • Mike Unwin

    Good one Phil. Happy new year to you. Looking forward to more entertainment – and education – through 2020.
    Get better!

    • Phil Clisby

      Cheers Mike. Soldiering on…


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