Metro 150

Richard Herring: Get a womb! It’s a sick old world

Wednesday 4 Feb 2015

Today is the due date for our baby. As I write, the mite has not yet vacated its womb without a view, but our hospital bags are packed and I am trying to pretend that I am prepared for this beautiful out-of-control steamroller that is about to career through my life.

My wife, Catherine, is coping remarkably well with having a human being the size of a watermelon inside her. She’s calm, happy and still working (she’s a children’s author). I suspect she might not be quite so serene when a human being the size of a watermelon attempts to get out of her. I’m guessing that I will be bearing the brunt of her anger at that point, though I don’t see how any of this is my fault. Years of being sworn at and abused by hecklers will no doubt have inured me to the barrage of insults that are heading my way. Heckle put-downs may not be appropriate on this occasion. I am still preparing some though.

It’s not all been smooth sailing. Last week we went for Sunday lunch with friends who had recently had the norovirus. They assured us they were no longer contagious. It took us 36 hours to discover that they were mistaken. With friends like these, who needs enemas?

This virus is hard enough to deal with if you don’t have a womb full of human being, so as much as I was concerned about my own rising queasiness, I was much more worried for my wife and baby. Though it turned out that being inside my wife was the safest place to be. The infant was protected from the vomiting bug, the jammy, massive foetus.

I feared that the shock to Catherine’s system might bring on an early labour. This would not be a good time in so many ways. Our baby isn’t stupid though and it wasn’t going to choose this particular moment to emerge and stayed safely in its cocoon.

Within 24 hours we were weary, but more or less recovered. It was almost worth having been ill in order to be reminded how amazing it feels to be healthy. On Sunday I had been well and not given it a second’s thought, but by Wednesday, after my stomach had turned into a liquidizer, spinning around with no top (or bottom) on it, I was euphoric to feel normal.

The norovirus had turned what was solid into liquid (at both ends) and what was gas into liquid (at both ends). In fact liquid was the only thing unaffected by this evil invader, which is odd because our bodies are mainly liquid. I am no scientist but surely the cure to this disease would be to give the victim a pill that will temporarily make them 100 per cent liquid, so it can’t take hold. Or is that what the norovirus is attempting to do? So the solution is to put the victim into a machine that will make them completely solid or transform them into a vapour. It’s one or the other. It’s not my job to work out which. I’ve given you the theory for nothing, lazy scientists. You do the fine-tuning.

The loss of nutrients and appetite was a welcome shot in the arm for my floundering 2015 diet: I shed four pounds in a day. I’m thinking of selling the norovirus in little vials to people who can’t be bothered to exercise or stop eating biscuits. Lose weight, feel great to be alive – it’s only takes a day of living Hell.