Jan 11 2008
My New Year’s resolution? Get over this nagging cold, or flu, or whatever this horrid, despicable sludge of an ailment is that afflicts me. It’s pestering, nothing too horrible, but annoying, frustrating and involves coughing that sounds like a pig snorting out a Cadillac. It prompts my wife, in the politest of rude ways, to ask me to go sleep in the shed.
I’ve been more-or-less sick for a good part of the holidays, although it never dragged me down so far that I couldn’t enjoy it. Sometimes the flu must be treated like an annoying sibling drag him around with you, never acknowledge him, and if the law will allow it, sell him to the gypsies.
“Cold? What cold? Hack, hack, wheez, wheez, gasp.”
It’s one of the strangest flus I’ve had because it didn’t come all at once in a flood, but rather gradually in a series of symptoms that would erupt and then fade to allow a new one to take over. First I had the aching body, then a burning sore throat, followed by the sniffles, some hacking up of what can only be described as modern art, an urging to shave my tongue (don’t know what that was all about), congested lungs that felt like a dying cement mixer and finally, really bad hair days. (The last was the toughest to ignore.)
There were other more troubling symptoms ones that were truly debilitating and ghastly. Like, for some reason, I could not resist clicking on any Internet story I saw that concerned Britney Spears’ ongoing problems. I’ve never had that problem before. But here I was sick, and the minute I saw something on cops at her house BINGO! I’m there. What damn cooties spell got put on me?
One bright spot, aside from the painful discomfort it caused, was that I had a voice that sounded like a cross between Jack Nicholson and a rockslide. There were even undertones of the mafia I wanted to say, “I’ll break both your knee caps,” but never had the opportunity. It was impressive, and almost intimidating. I loved it. But it didn’t last. In fact, my voice then totally gave out, to the joy of several family members. That was my hell.
Maybe the problem was I don’t rest when I’m sick. I just can’t. I go, go, go. I stay on the move. I infect lots of extra people who did not want to get sick. I run. I wake up early and go to sleep late. I drink. I don’t rest and don’t stop until I see spots. Then I wonder why it takes me six months to totally get over my illness.
“Well, I don’t know why.”
I also rarely take medicine, to my wife’s displeasure. “How about a cough drop?” she implores me. “Or a little decongestant. You sound like an airplane taking off.”
“No. I’m fine. Can’t you see I’m getting better? And yes, my skin does naturally have a purple tint to it, and no, a fever of 111-degrees is not that abnormal.”
I did break down and buy some decongestant. I felt like a wimp standing there in the “cold and loser” aisle of the pharmacy with some other gentleman who was also trying to make sense of the rows and rows of medicine. His cough sounded like a Sherman tank backfiring, and I was tempted to ask whether his wife made him come in there, too. Was she sitting in the car waiting like mine? “Hey, what do you think they would say if we each came out with a 12-pack of beer?”
But I bought my decongestant, and as much as I hate to admit, it helped. Yay modern medicine! The cement mixer had been shut off, and I was allowed to come back into the house to sleep, now that the sound of my breathing no longer threatened to rock the house off the foundation.