I will try to make this stop at the place of self pity the briefest possible. But be warned, I have a tendency to dwell.
As a child, long before anybody ever considered contact allergies, I would forever pick and remove and restick the sticky plasters covering my multitude of injuries resulting from climbing trees, playing hide-and-seek on the building sites of our growing suburb, cycling accidents, general fighting, all that feral outdoor stuff. Once I got the plaster off for good, I continued picking the, by now, red and itchy wound or scab, trying to hide well away from my mother's slap and yet another application of sticky plaster.
Years later, when I worked as a night cleaner at the university clinics in Heidelberg (a much sought after student job at the time) and developed a nasty looking rash, a dermatologist covered my back with a zillion sticky test patches for 48 very very itchy hours. The result was that I am allergic to just one thing, sticky plaster. (The rash was a chemical burn from one of the cleaning agents I used at work.)
Life can be so easy sometimes.
Today, the house booms with R's coughing. The kitchen reeks of the eucalyptus and thyme oil concoction he inhales, his fever has dropped, the world did not come to a sudden end after he swallowed his first ever antibiotic pill and the resulting recovery process is a joy to observe. Of course, he would not describe events as such. He is suffering greatly and requires a considerable yet predictable amount of cajoling and distraction to get through this extremely unfair onslaught on his usually excellent health and the resulting massive burden of boredom.
Whereas I crawl along, exhausted yet fever-free, non-coughing yet miserably chesty, basically waiting for the ground to open up beneath my feet. I have no idea why I remembered the sticky plaster stuff.
Meanwhile, my father has turned off his mobile phone because we interrupted him too often, he is watching the skiing tournaments live on tv from his hospital bed.
In frost-free tropical paradise, this was our back garden.