Have you ever suffered from itchy bosoms? It’s no joke I can tell you and should you ever have the misfortune to, whatever you do don’t ever look them (i.e. bosoms) up on the internet or tell anyone about them, especially your male friends or even in some cases your female friends otherwise you might get inundated with offers to scratch them for you.

I took mine (i.e. bosoms) along to the docs for his perusal and also for some antibiotics because the flu bug I caught in London had now turned into bronchitis.

“I sometimes sleep with my dog,” I confessed to the doc, who whilst he was at it gave me a quick check for lumps (as well as fleas).

“Are you suffering from any stress?” he asked me mid prod.

Stupid question! Of course I was. It seems anything can stress me out these days, especially money and I can’t even blame it on my son who hasn’t been living with me for the past few months. Luis hasn’t been in ‘hingland’ heither so there have been no men in the house, only me and Lady Doods. It was a strange experience living on my own with only a dog for company and there were pros and cons to the situation – more pros than cons I have to say, including the obvious ones of not having to constantly put the loo seat down or lock the bathroom door (that gains you quite a bit of extra time if you add it all up). Like Sinead O’Connor I could do whatever I wanted (aside from eating my dinner in a fancy restaurant because I couldn’t afford it) whenever I felt like it. Apart from the obligatory dog walks, I could just please myself.

The worst of the cons was no one to look after you if you were sick, which I was with this ongoing lurgy with the additional discomfort of the dreaded itch factor (a bit like the X factor but not quite so annoying). So I went to the doctor and….. guess what he told me…. guess what he told me – he said girl you’ve got a bad case of bronchitis, no lumps no fleas and the itchy bosoms were probably something to do with the bug. Mind you this is the same doc who let my HIV go undiagnosed to the point of me having a near death experience, so did I really believe him?

The novelty of living alone only lasts a certain time I found out then like all the good things in life you start taking it for granted and even missing a bit of human contact and dare I say it, starting to feel a bit lonely and sorry for yourself. Cue for song – only the lonely dum dum dum dummy doo wah.

Being lonely is apparently very bad for you. The BBC has been running a survey this week on loneliness and living alone and how it affects us. According to the BBC poll almost half of all adults in England say they experience feelings of loneliness. Loneliness is an emotional state, but one which experts say can have an adverse effect on our physical health.

In a recent speech Health secretary James Hunt also highlighted the problem of loneliness. “According to the ‘Campaign to End Loneliness’ it is a source of ‘national shame’ that there are 800,000 people in England who are chronically lonely.”

Shame on us all I say.

Being alone it is said can affect mental health, causing people to feel low and depressed. Studies have shown people who are socially isolated can cause damage to the immune system.

Oh no, that’s us, us social outcasts living with HIV and our immune system is our main ally. Surveys confirm that people who feel discriminated against are more likely to feel lonely than those who don’t.

Heck, that’s us too. And it gets worse – according to an article in the New Republic, The science of loneliness: how isolation can kill you.

I say steady one New Republic that seems a bit extreme. I was quite enjoying my isolation to be honest, at least for a while.

The Lethality of Loneliness – we now know how it can ravage our body and brain. But who are the lonely, they question? They’re the outsiders: not just the elderly, but also the poor, the bullied, the different. Surveys confirm that people who feel discriminated against are more likely to feel lonely and stressed than those who don’t.

Well that’s certainly true for people living with HIV. And on the subject of HIV during his research Doctor Steven Cole dosed AIDS-infected white blood cells with norepinephrine, a stress hormone, the virus replicated itself three to ten times faster than it did in non-dosed cells. He therefore surmised that loneliness can interfere with our ability to fend off disease.

So what we obviously need to do in order to fend off loneliness, not to mention disease, and seeing as we were talking about them before, is surround ourselves with plenty of bosom buddies – but not necessarily itchy ones of course.

Like in the song brimful of asha where they keep telling us that everyone needs a bosom for a pillow. Even after lengthy research and much googling I am still not sure what brimful of asha actually signifies and can only relate it to the brimful of asha trays in my house because I’ve been smoking too much in order to do something with my hands other than scratch my itchy pillows/bosoms.

Someone has actually invented a pillow called the ‘bosom buddy’ for side-sleeping women to reduce upper chest wrinkle reduction. Do we have lower chests apart from under the bed? Maybe I should order one off the internet? I wonder if they stop itching as well as wrinkles?

If you can’t find a bosom buddy (apart from on the internet and there is no shame in that nowadays) I suggest you get a dog to ward off the loneliness or find yourself a significant other to love, because to quote the poet W. H. Auden, “We must love one another or die.”

Well when you put it like that…….


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