Revisited: Not feeling too good myself

I’m not feeling very well today so I’m going to make this post short and sweet and probably not that funny.

What I’ve come down with, I assume, is the common cold, but this one is so much worse than anything you’ve ever experienced because it’s happening to me. It started as a tickle at the back of my throat, then progressed into listlessness, then a sore throat so bad I had to clench my teeth to swallow, then a cough and the beginning of nasal drainage today. At this pace, I’ll be minus a lung by the Monday.

I don’t make it a habit to get head colds very often. The last one I can remember started the day before I left Manila at the end of a five-week business trip in 2006, and reached its roaring worst during the 18-hour flight back to the States. I remember thrashing about (or as much as you can thrash about in coach, anyway), awake and dehydrated in the middle of the night somewhere over the Pacific, trying desperately to flag down a flight attendant who would give me more than a small cup of water. When the cold hadn’t significantly receded a full week after I was back home, I went to the doctor, thinking perhaps I had some rare tropical affliction that would sound really cool. Unfortunately, the doctor told me, neither dracunculiasis nor river blindness was to be on my medical resume.

This current affliction hasn’t kept me out of work yet. We don’t have “sick days” per se, or per anything else. All time off is PTO (paid time off), and a cruise to the Dutch Antilles is considered no different than a face transplant. I’ve already used five of my 16 days for the year and wanted to save something on the off chance we can afford a summer vacation. I am missing my second consecutive day of running on the Y treadmill, which is how my family knows I’m really, really sick.

I’ve held off going to the doctor so far because I don’t want to be weighed and I don’t like strangers pawing at my lymph nodes. WebMD has told me it’s not strep throat, I don’t have a fever so it’s not pneumonia, and I’m wagering I can survive anything else. I’m treating myself with fluids, sleep and lying on the couch watching TV. I’m too weak to operate the remote control so my wife has kindly agreed to zap the commercials. I’m too dizzy to take out the garbage so my son has been nice enough to say he doesn’t mind the smell of leaving it in the kitchen.

I did take advantage of the free advice that my pharmacist was willing to offer. I croaked my complaints to her and she led me to the over-the-counter cough and cold medicines. Having laryngitis as one of my symptoms negates the need to explain all that much to people who routinely ask how I am. It’s obvious to the grocery cashier, the coffee shop guy and my boss that I’m not “fine, thanks.” I like having a sickness with such obvious attributes, though my bout with chicken pox about ten years ago, which rendered me unable to shave for a week, made me a little more physically frightening than I had in mind.

Anyway, the pharmacist selected one of about two dozen variations on cough syrup and some hard-candy drops that are supposed to treat the sore throat, and sent me on my way. The only cold medicine I’ve ever had that worked in the slightest way is nasal spray, and now they say you’re not supposed to use that to excess. (What other way is there?) I have never, ever had any coughing reduced by cough syrup, and have never had a sore throat made better by any cough drop. You do get some brief relief from those throat sprays that you apply directly to your larynx, but the taste is so off-putting that it’s not worth it. All the NyQuils and DayQuils and AfternoonQuils out there may reduce a headache if I have one. If their alcohol content is high enough I might get a slight sleepy buzz. If the pseudoephedrine is sufficient I might lose my teeth and open a meth lab in my lawnmower shed. Other than that, I get no benefits.

So I guess I’ll just suffer along for the next few days and hope for the best. These things usually run their course over about a week, so I figure I’m almost halfway there. I’m starting to get a little woozy sitting here at the Earth Fare coffee shop so I think I’ll buy a quart of their chicken noodle soup and head on home to moan and groan at my family. In sickness or in health, they’re pretty used to it.

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One Response to “Revisited: Not feeling too good myself”

  1. Paul Dixon Says:

    Davis, I am so proud of you! You spelled ‘larynx” correctly. (No one ever seems to).

    Feel better, and try not to sneeze on me.

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