Much is expected of the modern man, says Ross Brown, but getting sick
isn’t part of the deal
There are many things that rile me, but right there at the top of the list is the popular expression ‘man flu’. The modern man, it seems, is expected to show his sensitive side during romantic movies, or in the sofa section of IKEA, but woe betide any chap who takes the unforgivable step of actually catching a cold. Sure, you looked adorable sobbing through Marley and Me, snuffling your face in a recently purchased scatter cushion, but catch a cold? How very dare you. Women have babies, you know.
To counter this startling paradox, I made a decision at the turn of the year that, ironically enough, almost killed me. No matter what, I would never get ill. My wife, a good, strong woman more than used to putting up with such startlingly stupid decisions, asked if this would be like the time I decided I would never scream, or brake for horses, two vows I sadly broke at exactly the same time. No, I told her. Those were silly vows. This was the real deal. And I stuck to it with moderate success for three whole weeks, until I actually got ill, and the wife pointed out that as I had turned yellow and couldn’t stand for more than five minutes without passing out, I should go to the hospital. I’m just dizzy I insisted, but she gave me a look she normally reserves for potential muggers, so I hurried along as fast as the ambulance could take me.
‘Dizzy,’ I told the doctor. ‘Internal bleeding,’ he countered. ‘Ah, but that’s impossible,’ I explained, ‘I no longer get ill.’ But to humour the man I lay down and rested my eyes, while he explained that I had lost 70 per cent of my blood, was hours away from my first heart attack, that he needed to operate and I would require an emergency blood transfusion if I wanted to live. I think that’s what he said anyway; with not enough blood to circulate through my body, I had gently blacked out.
They fixed me up, of course, and I returned home a new man – literally, I had four pints of someone else’s blood surging through me (who’s blood it is I can’t say, but having just returned from a friend’s wedding, I can suggest with some confidence it almost certainly came from a world class break dancer). And what did I learn from my little adventure? Well, the lesson here of course is not to take your health for granted, and remember that no matter how much you hear the words ‘man flu’, being sick is not a crime. Go see the doctor. Oh, and try not to live your life via bold statements – it gets you into all sorts of trouble.