Let me preface this post by saying that I’m sick. I’ve been sick all year, and, frankly, I’m sick of being sick. I’m tired and sick of being sick and tired. Everyone I’ve talked to knows someone who’s been sick lately. I’m sure they’re sick and tired, too.
So, this post is about being sick and tired and all the stuff I tried and the stuff folks suggested I try so I wouldn’t be either.
One advantage of being a virtual employee is that I can still go to work while I’m sick and not have to worry about people staring because I may blow my nose fifty-eleven times (as my mother says often). I don’t have to worry about people seeing my swollen eyes and puffy nose, the pile of tissue in the trashcan or how many times I sneeze.
I am still mindful, though, not to sneeze into my hands, as I don’t want to spread my own cooties all over my keyboards and computers. In fact, I sprayed them down with disinfectant.
So, this illness, whatever it is, seems to have started on a Friday with a headache. Because I thought it was just a headache, I did the stuff I normally do: I worked, went to a lunchtime Zumba class, worked some more, watched the news, “Jeopardy” and “Monk,” and went to bed.
The next day, I felt fine and went to the barn to ride my horse. Sunday, New Year’s Day, brought new symptoms: the sneezing and nose-blowing. I brought out allergy meds, and I recall being on the phone as I drifted toward unconsciousness.
Monday, the federal holiday, brought a scratchy throat and a dry cough. Out came the throat lozenges. (Tangent: Until I was in my early 20s, I always added an R to that word, calling them lozengers. The stuff we do and say when we don’t know any better. My mother thought “Stairway to Heaven” was a gospel song.)
Tuesday was more of the same, and I ended up at the store buying some day and night cold medicine. Oddly, the daytime stuff was for nasal congestion, aches and pains (What’s the difference between an ache and a pain?), and coughs. The nighttime stuff was for aches, coughs, sneezing and runny nose.
What I needed was a combination of the two that wouldn’t make me drowsy. Is there such a thing?
That day, I also told my boss that I was not feeling well and that I would work until I ran out of tissue.
The next day, I bought more tissue. This time, tissue with aloe in it, as my nose was raw from constant nose-blowing. I was coughing a bit more, my throat was a bit scratchier and my chest was beginning to feel the same way.
I also bought Zicam.
Another thing about working from home is that I generally keep the television on for background noise. I had seen the product commercials with the baritone voice talking about “that dreaded first sneeze.” I was somewhere around the 10,000th sneeze, but I decided to give it a try.
It’s a lozenge with Vitamin C in it that you let dissolve on your tongue; the directions specifically said not to chew it or swallow it whole. Friends told me it helped early on, but I’m not sure what “early on” was.
The fact that I sneezed only every three hours seemed to indicate that it was working, as I was supposed to take it once every three hours.
Someone also suggested a nasal flush, or that’s what I think it is. An aunt has recommended that years ago. Apparently, it’s a system where you inhale a saline solution. Maybe it’s my fear of drowning, but I don’t want to snort any liquid (or anything else, for that matter).
By Friday, my tongue was raw from sucking on lozenges; I bought more because they soothed my throat, and the eucalyptus opened my sinuses. I also found that if I mixed one of the daytime pills with one of the nighttime pills, I could sleep without sneezing, coughing, spitting, or blowing my nose – all things that had kept me awake at night.
Oh, then, I saw a news broadcast that talked about how many accidents are caused by people driving with colds. The theory is that when people are sick, they don’t sleep well, and it’s the lack of sleep that affects their reflexes and leads to crashes.
The most surprising and oddest remedy I heard came from my mother. It’s not surprising that it came from my mother; it’s surprising because she suggested I put several honey and lemon lozenges in a cup of water, heat the concoction, stirring until the lozenges dissolve. It just never occurred to me that the same lozenges that melted in my mouth would melt in water in the microwave.
I tried Mother’s remedy Saturday morning since I had been drinking hot apple cider all week and had run out Friday. The eucalyptus wafting toward my nostrils immediately helped, and the concoction as a tea wasn’t any worse than the taste of the artificial-sugar-laced Zicam, which a friend warned would taste horrible by the end of its run. He was right.
So was Mother.
I’m glad I bought two bags of the lozenges.
Oh, wait. Mother had another remedy, something about making tea from the … uhm … strained, boiled waste of horses.
Mothers don’t always get it right.
I have noticed one benefit of being sick. Only one.
My lips are plump. Any woman of a certain age will understand what I’m talking about.
Because I’ve been drinking fluids all day every day, my lips are plump.
Initially, I thought that starting the new year off sick meant that I would get this out of the way and have a healthy year. I still think that is the case, but now, I know it’s probably an indication that I should drink more water. We need water for so many functions, including ensuring plumpness of lips.
I also realize that I should probably follow the guidance of another commercial:
“You wouldn’t want your doctor to do your job, would you? Why are you trying to do hers?”
I guess I’ll see a doctor next time. If there’s a next time.
If you’ve ever had a pet go missing, you’ll understand the anxiety associated with the search to get it back.
For the second time, my dog Smirk was missing. She’s a 3-year-old Chihuahua/terrier mix. Mostly white with beige spots on her fur and black spots on her belly.
Fortunately, she’s safe. No thanks to my other dog, Taco, a blue Chihuahua.