Saturday, the inevitable happened. Late in the afternoon, I felt the very beginnings of a scratchy, sore throat – the never-fail sign that I’m working on getting a cold. I did what I always do. I quickly began taking Zicam. I know, I know. The experts all say that the notion that zinc can prevent a cold if you start taking it just as soon as you feel a cold coming on – or at a minimum, shorten the duration – is nothing more than an old-wives’ tale. Still, I do it every single time, and I believe with my whole heart and soul that it does, in fact, shorten the duration.
Anyway, I used the word “inevitable” because the three grandkids with whom I have been spending considerable time because mommy has been drafted as room mother and has had to attend training, all had colds.
As an aside, fellow Baby Boomers – do you remember when being a room mother meant baking cupcakes to give to the kids on St. Patrick’s Day? No more. Being a so-called room mother now means being an unpaid assistant to the teacher. It involves COMPUTER TRAINING. I kid you not. Gotta love those education budget cuts. And no freshly-baked cupcakes because they potentially contain gluten, peanuts or other kinds of tree nuts, dairy, or (gasp) sugar.
Anyhoo, after wiping many runny noses, overseeing sneezes and coughs, and after Kaiya actually was diagnosed with pneumonia, my body finally threw in the towel and I got a cold. Monday was my worst day. I’m feeling better each day.
Having said that, I will tell you that every time I get a cold, I am reminded that a cold makes me feel so darn yucky. I am snotty and sniffy and hacky. There are dirty tissues everywhere, even though I try really hard to use them and then throw them away. My nephew Erik told me once that I was the only person he’s ever known who actually says “a-choo” when I sneeze. And speaking of old wives’ tales, I can never remember whether you’re supposed to starve a cold and feed a fever or vice versa. In keeping with my general rule of thumb, I feed both.
But as bad as a cold will make me feel, Bill is 20 times worse. Here is this man who lives every day of his life with Parkinson’s Disease and never complains. But when he gets a cold, he is down for the count. He doesn’t eat; he can’t even imagine leaving the house; he looks so pitiful that it nearly breaks my heart. He got a cold one time when we were visiting his mother in Chicago, and he never even left the house to get a hot dog. That’s serious.
Back in 2003, Bill and I traveled to London with some friends where we spent the week of Thanksgiving. I remember that trip well for several reasons, including the fact that our Thanksgiving dinner was fish and chips. But one of the less cheerful memories is that I sat behind a man with a terrible cold on the way home. He hacked. He sneezed. He sniffled and snorted. God bless him, because there probably wasn’t a lot he could do short of not flying.
Of course, I got his cold, and it was undoubtedly the worst cold I ever got in my life. It was the cold that wouldn’t end. I know this because it was the year I turned 50, and my family threw a big party for me. Both Bec and David flew in for the party. That would have been mid-December, and I was still sick as a dog. By that time, the cold had moved to my eye, and I had a terrible eye infection to accompany the hacking cough that sounded as though I was in the last stages of consumption. That’s tuberculosis for all of you who don’t read old western novels. You can see in this photo how sick I was…..
As you can see, my family wouldn’t even let me sit up with them, but pushed me back into the couch. Sigh. I’m used to it.
At any rate, no cold since then – including this one – has even come close to being as bad.
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