My worn out rocker recliner? Familiar. My fuzzy grey heated blanket? Definitely familiar. This iPad? Yup! We know each other very well actually. The cold that I presently have? Well, yes…. but also no.
Sadly, I do remember the annoying symptoms: scratchy throat, lethargy, achiness, cough, stuffy nose, runny eyes, and so on. What I don’t seem to recall, however, is what tricks/tips/medicines I used to help cope with each malady. After all, it has been over three years since I have had the misfortune of suffering with this type of illness; three whole years thanks to COVID-19–another flummox in and of itself. While I am grateful not to have been sick over the past while due to strict health protocols, I know the great expense at which it has come. The other puzzling piece to my otherwise ordinary cold has been denial, whereas previously I’d have had my arsenal of remedies ready and waiting at the hintiest of hints.
On Thursday night, I attributed my hoarse throat to acid reflux even though there was a Hmmm? in the back of my mind. Sure enough, by the time my husband and I hunkered down for the night, the dry, tickly cough set in. “I think you might be getting sick,”, my husband wearily muttered sometime through the night. He was right. With a twenty percent rate of absenteeism at my workplace, it was clear that my garlicky pizza the day before wasn’t to blame. On Friday, I felt like I had been strapped down to my chair with heavy weights. Every single thing felt like an extraordinary effort and all that I wanted to do was sleep except that lying down was pointless with my nagging cough—an all-too-familiar dilemma. By Saturday, I felt tired, but my throat was better and I held my own with lozenges and honey. Go-to’s I’d easily remembered. Hey, maybe this won’t be so bad?! Yesterday, the sneezing and stuffiness took hold. Oh yah. As I dug around in our medicine drawer, I questioned what it was that I used to take to deal with sinus issues. Especially at nighttime. It took me a hot minute to conjure up my plethora of capsules, syrups and ointments. One problem. They had all expired. Three years ago to be exact. Given that we live out in the country, a quick trip to the drugstore on a snowy, Sunday night wasn’t exactly an option. While everyone knows that an aisle’s worth of cold/flu remedies are moneymakers more than anything, sometimes a name brand antidote brings us a sense of comfort and peace of mind that we are doing something to combat the latest bug.
Yesterday, I continued to fight the good fight with essential oils, lotioned Kleenex, Vitamin D, and a lot of water—nature’s warriors, if you will. Thanks to my good old recliner and blocked passageways, I even managed a bit of a midday sleep sitting up. I know this because I caught myself snoring at one point. Snoring, sick or not, is something I don’t exactly remember doing before. Then again, I am three years older and pushing a new decade of middle age so I guess it makes sense. What was recognizable on the other hand was the pattern of ups and downs that I felt. Before supper, I felt pretty decent all things considered and I thought that I might be able to return to work. By mid-evening, I sounded even more snuffly than I had first thing in the morning and my runny eyes and nose were beyond bothersome. The real win? I finally slept the best of all nights since first coming down with my alleged ‘heartburn’.
As I resume my indented rocker position again today, I can say that my cough seems to have subsided considerably. Key word being seems. I am not naive enough to think that I am out of the woods yet, as they say. What’s in store symptom-wise for the day remains to be seen. Now that we are all sharing germs aplenty again, there appears to be some new iterations of viruses past—many of which are lasting longer than the ‘usual’ cold or flu. The year 2022 illnesses are somewhat of a new brand post-pandemic. I suppose it can’t be helped given what we’ve all been through, our bodies and immune systems included.
For me personally, one thing that has shifted considerably is how I am choosing to deal with being sick. I used to push through work and life until I became really ill on what would often be my vacation times when my body would come back to bite me for being so ignorant of its needs. Well, no more! And, no more guilt about taking time off either. I refuse to compromise my health in any fashion and certainly not on the account of ‘having’ to go to work. (I should clarify that I do have sick benefits otherwise I might think differently.) In fact, throughout COVID-19, including now, it is more widely acceptable and even encouraged that we stay home until our symptoms have subsided. Fine with me. In my opinion, that’s how we should have been treating illnesses all the way along. Like it or not, the coronavirus has been an eye opener—both good and bad. Let’s hope there are more positives which shine through as we transition from dark times to brighter ones, Meanwhile, I will take my participation in cold and flu season as a sign of things getting back to a new normal of sorts. Cheers to a day of chair lounging, tissues, lozenges, warm tea with honey and maybe even some snoring?!