At one o’clock in the afternoon on Monday almost four weeks ago I was feeling fine by five o’clock I felt like shit and thought I was developing a healthy dose of the man-flu. At some point on Tuesday I realised that the tissue under my jaw was extremely swollen and very painful so early on Wednesday morning I made my way to my friendly GP. She took one horrified look at my swollen throat and said, “I not touching that” and sent me to my local neighbourhood ears, throat and nose specialist. He in his turn also took one horrified look and told me to ‘go direct to the local ears, throat and nose clinic, do not pass Go and do not collect 200 Euro’. I should point out that by now I was doing a pretty good impression of a bullfrog as the saliva glands in my throat were swollen up to the size of golf balls and were extremely painful. Having spent the afternoon sitting around the waiting area of the clinic I was finally examined at about five o’clock and dispatched to a ward where I would spend the next twelve days laying on my back with a drip feed in my arm through which vast quantities of very powerful antibiotics were poured into my body. It would appear that I had a fairly serious bacterial infection of the cell tissue of my throat and jaw. A serious infection would have meant that the surgeons would have started chopping bit out of my body! In addition to this I was required to swallow large numbers of pills of unknown function. After having enjoyed this therapy for seven days I suffered an acute loss of hearing in my left ear. This meant that for the next five days in the gaps between the litres of antibiotics I received several litres of a poisonous cocktail through the tube in my arm. This cocktail was so poisonous that I had to sign an extra disclaimer absolving the doctors should my head turn green and start revolving at high speed before departing for distant parts of the universe!
After ten days of lazing around doing nothing I was discharged from the clinic and sent home with a couple of kilos of tablets to consume for the next week. I was glad to get out of the hospital but to put it mildly I felt like shit warmed up. As well as the after effects of my infection that had left me feeling as weak as a day old kitten I had still only about 50% of the hearing of my left ear an intense tinnitus at about two and a half kilohertz and permanent vertigo. Not exactly the condition in which I felt like pontificating on the subtleties of Renaissance mathematics or anything else for that matter.
At the beginning of this week I started working again although my loss of hearing, it’s improving slowly, and my tinnitus are still causing me a fair amount of distress. To add to my problems I had been offered a temporary job working as a substitute English teacher at our local Waldorf School the start of which had been stymied by me being incarcerated in the clinic. So this week I had my first days teaching a somewhat stressful situation.
But your friendly neighbourhood Renaissance Mathematicus having survived the evil attack of the killer bacteria, as a historian of science I was comforted by the fact that if this had happened to me 100 years ago I would be dead by now, is now back in business and normal postings on all things renaissancently mathematical will start as of today.