Now let’s get this straight. I’m the one who’s ill around here…

OK, I’ve just discovered an unexpected human weakness. In myself. Which is that I don’t care to have someone else in the limelight when I’m striking heroic poses about my cancer…

OK, that’s not entirely true. Or, at any rate, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

After our somewhat traumatic second visit to Scotland – when I came down with the shivering-coughing-and-sneezing bug that turned my voice to a croak – I threw off my infection in a couple of days. In fact I was pretty much well enough to drive back home just two days after the funeral.

Not so Rosemary.

She came down with (apparently) the same bug soon after we got home. Same shivering, same coughing, same sneezing. Which I treated in the same way I’d treated mine (only it was easier, because we weren’t trying to attend a funeral, have meals in a hotel, comfort – as far as we could – my brother-in-law and nephew, and then find our way home again.) I knew what had worked for me, so that’s what we did. Only in Rosemary’s case it didn’t work. The bug just hung on there like a tiresome visitor who doesn’t know when to leave, and then went onto her chest. For days. And then weeks.

Now to me, that doesn’t make any sense. Surely I’m the one with the weakened immune system? The vulnerable one? The one who needs to be protected at all costs? So how come she can’t throw it off the same way I did?

Well, she couldn’t. And the damn thing became the bane of our lives.

December 4 2022 was my 70th birthday. I only get one of those. And Rosemary still had the bug.

That also coincided with the point in my chemo cycle where I ‘crash’. Lie around. And expect other people to do the stuff I don’t have the energy for. Which, in this case, was patently unfair to Rosemary.

Result? My excellent wife rushed around on 3 December doing all sorts of things she shouldn’t have done to ensure I had presents and a birthday cake. And damn near killed herself doing it. While yours truly was laid out in the front room – admittedly feeling nauseous, weak and dizzy – but probably, on balance, feeling a lot better than she did.

Though it has to be said my cake-making and icing skills are, patently, non-existent…

So on 4 December we had cakes at church to share with our congregation. And I had a guilt complex.

Fine. We’ve sorted it, and I’ve apologised. Today (5 December) I’m definitely doing as little as possible, and Rosemary is staying in bed as much as possible. (I’ll make meals, no problem, and we need a wash done, but that’s it.) Ironically I was triple-booked this evening for a choir practice, a CAFOD meet, and a Neighbourhood Plan Zoom session – so it’ll be the Zoom session (the one I can do sitting down in the warm in front of a computer.)

And let’s hope we’re both feeling a tad more human tomorrow.