I did my best not to get the flu this year. I had the flu shot, I pump myself full of vitamins and I’m probably the fittest I have ever been, but Sunday I woke with a coughing splutter, so much so the dog thought something was wrong and barked up a storm.

I tried to get out of bed but my whole body was aching, from my head down to my toes.

All I could think was, I have to work tonight.

Going to work when you’re sick is dreadful. Through the soggy tissues, you have to keep a smile on your face, while dodging hugs and kisses from the general public who disregard the warning “I’m sick as a dog, stay away” and still try for a kiss. A week later they tell everyone you made them sick.

Most of the time, I hide in the dressing room when I’m ill. You can slap on another layer of Vicks without anyone knowing.

Then it’s time to drag your sorry carcass up and get ready for the show. I stay away from corsets at these times. Having a coughing fit in a laced-up corset can turn ugly very quickly.

Once I started coughing behind the curtain on stage and, unable to stop, desperately tried to undo the corset, before either my head exploded or I had an explosion from the other end. There were lots of turns to the back, spluttering into a hanky then spinning to the front as if nothing had happened.

I sweat a lot, especially when I’m rundown or fluey, so I could be standing right in front of the air conditioner, and I would have sweat dripping in my eyes, making my eyelashes clump together. I mop up as best I can, but sometimes it’s easier to let it go till you’re about to go on.

When showgirls put their hands up to try and block you as they are sick, leave them alone for that night. Although they have a gorgeous painted-on smile, deep down they may really want to rip your face off.

It’s time for me to stagger back to bed for another day, Lemsip in my hand and dog and cat jumping around at the bottom of the bed. Wish me luck, it will be gone in a couple of days.

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