Dear Lady Pat,

I thought I was safe, I thought my parents had set me up to go into the world well loved, rounded and fully vaccinated. Alas, I have recently found out that they may not have fully vaccinated me properly.

At first I just felt a bit ill: headaches, tiredness, loss of appetite. Just your average Oxford week. However a couple of weeks later things took a turn for the worst. I woke up one morning and realised that my cheeks were feeling a bit sore, to my horror when I looked in the mirror, I found that I did indeed look like a chipmunk. My worst fears were confirmed. The plague had reached me. I have mumps. The social shame is at times too much to bear. My room is the only place I feel safe from the judgement of others.

However this is not the sole reason for me writing to you, Lady Pat. Things are indeed worse than this. A couple of days before I realised that I had mumps, those days of distant blissful ignorance of my socially crippling situation, I got with my cherpse. But the question is…. how do I tell this lovely sweet girl about my predicament?

I do not want to be the bearer of bad news that she too may be at risk, yet I fear I must. How do I do it? I really have no idea how to break it to her.

Please help me Lady Pat, you’re my only help!

Alvin (not one of the Chipmunks)

My dear Alvin,

First of all, get well soon. You can’t get mumps through email can you?

Ah well my health and wellness assistant will deal with that. But anyway, mumps. Doesn’t sound pretty. I feel very sorry for you dear, but not much can be done now. First of all you need to get yourself some rest – far, far away from any other humans please. Unless they go to Cambridge because we all know they don’t count. The bonus to hiding away in quarantine is that if you’re lucky, nobody else in college has to see your face!

I understand completely your embarrassment, it always takes a couple of days for my Botox to settle and I feel like… almost a normal person. It’s disgusting. Make the most of the lovely NHS (it’ll be gone by this time next year) and look after yourself – you’ll be right as rain soon.

The real crux of the issue seems to be your ‘cherpse’ however. I have to admit, catching mumps from one of my many lovers is not on my to-do list, but maybe you should see this as an important opportunity to see if she likes you for more than your structured jawbone and hygiene practices. If you get dumped because of the mumps she probably wasn’t the one anyway, to be honest with you.

The thing is though, mumps is highly contagious, and if she didn’t get the MMR vaccine (or even if she did) she might have got it herself. It’s one thing to be the bearer of mumps to your own college, but don’t end up being the reason it gets spread around the whole university. You’ll have to bite the bullet and tell her – before she wakes up with her own chipmunk cheeks and promptly blocks your disease-ridden number.

Don’t worry too much though. Although there is a chance you’ve passed it on, she might also not have got it, or already be immune. In fact, maybe this time next week she’ll be perfectly fine and able to carry out any of the typical Oxford activities like row a boat, head to Bridge, or even write an agony aunt response. Hard as it is, honesty is key darling, and if you don’t tell her she’s bound to find out another way, and unlikely to trust you as much as before.

Being ill is hard, darling. That’s why I pay for private healthcare. You should try it.

Live laugh love,

Lady Pat R. Onising

xoxoxox