The last time I was sick was in May, when COVID finally caught up to me. It was a truly miserable experience that I never care to have again. I had a residual cough for months afterwards. Before COVID, I hadn’t been sick for over two years (thanks to masks and isolation), which was probably due to a post-fall-show system breakdown that left me voiceless and useless.
I’m not a good sick person. I hate having to shut things down and remove myself from my normal routine. I can’t talk much, because I wind up coughing in someone’s face and make everyone wonder if I am the center of a superspreader event.
When I stop fighting the thought of being sick and my body succumbs to the reality, my demeanor changes. Verbal expressions become a murmuring, ill-established language that my husband has to decipher to determine what part of the English vernacular I’m using. My expression flattens and everything feels slower, more deliberate. The muscles feel tight and unused, and when being sick means I don’t get to go to the gym, I’m that much crankier about my life. I’m not really all that pleasant, to be sure.
Sleep is tricky. My body needs it to heal, yet it is rudely interrupted by clogged sinuses that switch from side to side, depending on what shoulder I sleep on. As soon as I get half a second of sweet relief, a clear inhale, the other side quickly fills like an hourglass. The sudden and unstoppable coughing fits make me want to Hulk-smash something. Misery does not love company, and I suffer in silence, exhaustion and crabbiness as I try to let my husband enjoy his repose. He’s so good to me, encouraging me to rest, taking on more of my responsibilities and getting me medicine as I turn into a child with an underdeveloped brain and less of a will to do adulting things. So, I want him to rest as much as he can so he doesn’t get sick too.
I took a day off of work Friday, to give myself some extra time to let my body rest. I noticed a few days earlier how a bunch of my students coming into my classroom were coughing, stuffy, and miserable. I decided it was the better part of valor to remove myself from that environment until this wave passes. Unfortunately, I started to notice my own symptoms building.
I took two COVID tests, two days apart; both negative. It’s just a cold that I caught from my students, maybe seasonal allergies, maybe both. Who knows. Either way, it’s pretty miserable and I hate it.
I tried those zinc lozenges, the ones my husband scoffs at as homeopathic nonsense, to try to stave off or shorten the cold symptoms as the box so proudly touts. I’m game for whatever works. Sadly, I too now, think it’s bunk, because two days later, my symptoms are no better. Now I have a box of poor-tasting, useless lozenges that I am unlikely to finish. False advertising, for sure.
I am hydrating as though I am supporting an internal aquarium. Proximity to the restroom is a requirement right now. I should also probably buy stock in an herbal tea company, a honey farm and Kleenex.
Here are the things that seem to do anything to help my symptoms:
- Symptom-relieving meds: Mucinex and Sudafed. Loosen up the goo and dry it all out. Tylenol for headaches due to sinus-congestion.
- Sleep as upright as I can (who can actually sleep upright??) and keep the tissues close by.
- Steamy showers in the morning to clear out the yuck.
- Peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils rubbed right on my chest are actually more potent than Vicks (I apologize to the Latina community who put their stock in everything Vapo-Rub, but it’s my truth. I respect and appreciate you anyway.)
- Saline spray works a little, but I might break out the netipot, just to give something new and gross a try.
In the end, I understand that time will mend my ill feelings, but in the meantime, I’ll mindfully suffer until sweet relief comes my way. I can’t wait to go back to the gym.
Thanks for “listening” to my ramblings. Maybe it’s time for a nap.