Sickness & Health

July 30, 2019


a feature by Kate Dowling




Sickness & Health



I’m having a bit of a poorly year. Things started with a poorly winter.  I had a cold a month from December to April, and a terrible flu that meant for a hazy 24 hours my husband woke me to take my temperature and encouraged me to take in some fluid.  It was far from pleasant.


Seemingly picking up every cold bug going is not a great state to be in, but it’s just bad luck and getting sneezed on whilst travelling by bus.  I’m also carrying a couple of long-term health conditions. I’m generally ok, but have spend a lot of time thinking about the best ways to stay as well as I can.  As so many people reading this will appreciate, this thought process can be draining in itself.


Ill health can take so much from people.  It’s not just feeling grotty and losing time to viruses.  Being sick mars the finite days we have and might even mean we have to stay away from our loved ones at times when we want to be with them the most. 


It was during my April cold that I remembered a poem I wrote in the winter of 2008.  My dad was having chemotherapy as a palliative measure and I missed his last Christmas because I had flu and a then a chest infection, and I daren’t risk him picking it up in his immuno-compromised state.  


The poem is a mix of still being unwell and wishing things were different.   It’s ten years this year since Dad died.  I miss him dreadfully. 




Was it as cold as this
when I was a child?
Perhaps I don't remember
those anorak days.
Perhaps this infection
clouds my memory,
this painful chest
and the freezing air
stabbing deep into the bronchioles

and a dimming of

recollection of days long past.

I wrap up and turn away,
Looking on towards a better day.








Kate Dowling is based in Sheffield in the UK and has written all her life in some way, shape or form.  Kate is currently working on a wider audience being able to access her work. Follow her on Twitter @WaveAtTheTrain.


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