Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Superstition and Sickness

Last week I went to Edinburgh to meet up with my sister Anne, who was recovering from a bout of cellulitis, which had put her in hospital for several days, on intravenous antibiotics for her infected neck and ear. Cellulitis has nothing whatsoever to do with the dreaded cellulite, oddly enough, and makes you very ill. If untreated, blood poisoning and rapid death are a possibility. Today I heard from my friend Annie that she had been stricken by labyrinthitis, a viral infection of the inner ear, and had been very ill too, and I am going to visit her tomorrow. I can hear the voice of my superstitious mother in my head: "Things always come in threes!" If true, this does not bode well for any other Annes of my acquaintance. Or could it mean a third person could be felled by pestilence as mercilessly as the Annes? Could it be me? Come to think of it, I do feel a little bit weak and feeble....

On the bright side, my convalescent sister and I had a delightful visit to the Botanic Gardens, where 50 yards inside the gates we were seriously mugged by a fat glossy squirrel who rushed up to us and tapped us on the legs. Cute, but a bit alarming; I have never seen such aggressive begging from anything that wasn't my cat Harry. Anne fell for it completely, and gave it some of the biscuits I had baked for her. Later a staff member told us how much of a nuisance the squirrels were, breeding twice a year, their numbers encouraged to rise by the public who insisted on feeding them. Anne listened to this, po-faced and shameless, and dished out nuts to the next gang of furry beggars.

Tomorrow I am taking lunch over to my sick friend. I may wear a surgical mask and gloves, just to be on the safe side.

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