(I am ill.)
It’s nothing serious, but I do feel like death not even very slightly warmed up. So, what to do when you fall ill in a strange land where you still can’t speak the language? Determinedly, I googled my symptoms. Aches and pains, insomnia, very sore throat… it’s like I have the flu. But good old Google pointed me to a more accurate diagnosis, and one which I had completely overlooked.
Look, the past few months have been very stressful, OK? I succumbed. Then I left the Cancer Sticks behind me in Ballymena, determined that they would not be a part of my new life. There was a brief blip at Dublin Airport, where in a moment of nervous panic I became beyond desperate and tried to buy a cigarette from a young girl who was smoking outside, but she turned out not to speak any English, assumed I was asking for money, and the whole thing was just very embarrassing so I just had to leave it. Anyway, I’ve been fine since then, despite the fact that (a) they don’t keep the smokes behind the counter here and I have to stand right beside them when in a shop queue, (b) a pack of 20 costs roughly 80p – £1, and (c) I have developed a much newer addiction of walking very closely behind smokers on the street, breathing in as much second-hand smoke as I can without them catching on and just offering me a cigarette. It’s all completely under control.
Apart from the fact that quitting smoking is apparently killing me in a much less subtle way than just smoking. So, it was off to the Apteek (chemist) to perform a very apprehensive search of the shelves, attempting to find something to ease the pain, something to soothe the throat, and something to fix me, in general. Nothing was in English, and my Estonian language skills, while undeniably excellent, still need a little tweaking, so it was basically a case of ‘study the packaging and see if it looks anything like products you’re familiar with’. Which is probably quite a dangerous method of choosing medication, but I was desperate. (Source: Pharma Watch Dogs) I came away with some valuvaigisti for the pain, some “most likely to be lozenges” for my throat (based on them having packaging similar to Strepsils), and some vitamiinid for the afore-mentioned general fixing of self. Who says I can’t cope in the Big Bad World, eh? I haven’t died yet, which gives me complete confidence that I’m not accidentally taking horrifically strong and inappropriate medication designed for stroke victims.
And until it fixes me/kills me, I shall lie here on the sofa, groaning and feeling sorry for myself. This is what quitting smoking does to you, boys and girls. I really don’t recommend it. It is very, very Not Fun. I suppose the moral of this story is “don’t quit”, but that seems a little irresponsible. I’m sure I’ll be able to see the true message once I’m through with the Agonising Pain and Unbearable Misery.