When I was a lad, running a temperature was a sure-fire method of getting a couple of days off school.
The Ma would toddle into the bedroom, stick a thermometer into my gob and wander off again, leaving me to my own devices. My devices were simple – either a drop of friction on the bed-sheets or the bulb in the bedside lap. Either method is guaranteed to work, though The Ma might get suspicious if I were running a temperature of 150 degrees.
Docs are the same. They also love the temperature, but also have a few extras. They check temperature, blood pressure, pulse and whether you have a cold wet nose or not [our Doc trained originally as a vet]. This always struck me as being akin to kicking a car’s tyres and checking the radiator levels to see if a car runs or not. Very strange.
I have my own method, and it is incredibly accurate. Basically it is a checklist of what makes me nauseous.
The concept is very simple. I have a list of foods and beverages, and I just imagine myself sitting down to a large portion of each item.
First off is tripe. I think of myself tucking into a large plateful of tripe and then check to see if I feel nauseous. I fucking hate tripe, so nausea at this level means that I am in the whole of my health. If I didn’t feel nauseous then there is something wrong.
Then I step up the ladder and think of boiled bacon and cabbage. Nausea at this level probably means a minor head cold or a mild flu. Nothing whatsoever to worry about.
I continue on up the list covering such items as poached salmon [that means I need a couple of aspirin] through minute steak [this is getting serious at this point] up to Confit de Canard and Vindaloo.
Nausea at the thought of Confit de Canard is serious stuff. At this stage I would need a heavy prescription of something or other, and as for Vindaloo – that is the point where I lash down to the nearest fever hospital and book myself in.
There is one further level. Guinness. Feeling nausea at the thought of a couple of pints is exceptionally serious. It has never happened.
I reckon it would mean I’m dead.