Emma Hollingworth: I really admire all those people who selflessly care for the sick, elderly and the dying

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THIS week I am suffering badly – but only with a cold.

However, the way I have been feeling (and complaining!) you would think it was the plague.

It has quite literally turned me into a wreck. And it has made me realise I am getting old – as I can’t seem to just shake things off like I did when I was younger.

I am sure in years gone by a cold would be here one day and gone the next. I would always work on the theory that it took one day to come, one day to stay and one day to go.

But this time it has gone from being a groggy head and blocked nose to an all out hacking cough which shakes my whole body with convulsions each time.

My eldest daughter has been a real sweet heart though. Each night as I try to read to her I seem to collapse into a dreadful coughing fit, eyes streaming and nose running after just a few paragraphs.

Realising this is a bit of a pattern with me, she has now taken to making sure her box of bedroom tissues are right beside me; that I have a constant supply of her throat sweets and she even gives me one of her wonderful back and shoulder massages as I read aloud to her.

I don’t know where she gets her lovely nature from but I can guarantee it is not from me. I am the world’s worst person in terms of giving out any sympathy if people are feeling under the weather. I don’t do nursing very well.

If the other half complains he has a sniffle I selfishly tell him to take his germs away from me as I don’t want to catch them. The same is true for the children. If they are full of cold I insist on making sure there is no evidence of their sniffles before I pick them up or cuddle them. And even then I turn their faces away from me so I don’t get covered in their germs.

If they have a temperature they are packed off to bed with water and paracetamol and that is the extent of my nursing.

I very rarely think they are ill enough to warrant a day off school or nursery – as that would mean me having to take a day off too, which I simply can’t afford to do.

I think my lack of caring stems from the fact I come from a medical household.

My brother and I would literally have to be dying before we would be allowed time off school.

I may not be the most sympathetic of people but I really do admire the people who are. Especially those who selflessly put others before themselves in order to make sure they are OK.

When I hear stories of people who have cared for sick, elderly or dying relatives I get very emotional. I really take my hat off to these people. This week is national Carers’ Week – which quite rightly gives these unsung heroes a platform. Sheffield City Council is backing a number of initiatives to promote the work of these carers and support groups to help them. For more information please visit: http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/caresupport/carers/carers-week