This cough of mine

It’s been awhile since I’ve had any kind of lingering cold or cold-like illness. Usually they blast in, knock me down for a few days, then within the week I’m pretty much back to normal.

This time I am stuck halfway between still sick and normal, with a congested chest and nagging cough persisting two weeks later.

I do not like it. I’m trying to think of a way to say this is an observation and not a complaint, but really, it’s a complaint.

But only a mild one. I can smell and taste more than I could two days ago, so progress is being made. I do have one small wish to stay illness-free for the rest of the summer, at least. I’ll drink Vitamin C-fortified drinks and whatever else it takes. I’ll eat healthy snacks–before dinner, instead of after. Honest! Pretty honest, anyway.

Mostly I just want this cough to go away. It’s been a nice visit, but it’s time for you to continue your travels somewhere far away from me.

But I feel fine

Today I returned to work, not 100%, but close enough—like in horse shoes and hand grenades—to count.

Without exception, every time I have opened my mouth, the response has been, “You sound awful.” Which, to be fair, is accurate. I go on to assure everyone that I feel better than I sound.

Actually, there was one exception to this. One person said I sounded “different.” She was being kind.

And I find if I talk for more than a few seconds, my voice starts to give out. It’s like my mouth and vocal cords get too tired to continue. This forces me to choose my words carefully. Or use nods and other facial gestures to convey looks that carry a thousand words, or at least enough to leave the other person satisfied or confused enough to give up and go away. Given how I feel, I’m okay right now with either result.

Thus begins the slow, steady end of whatever horrible bug I caught. I have coughed and sneezed enough in the last week to last the next 10 years. No, 20 years. No, forever. Really, it was kind of ridiculous.

Today I have a little more energy, am coughing less, but still have almost no sense of smell or taste, plus my ears are plugged. Still, going for minutes at a time without coughing so hard the muscles in my abdomen ache is the stuff of luxury. How I have missed having a normal-acting body the past seven days.

I’ll never take this normal-acting body for granted again, unless I go long enough before getting sick again to forget how miserable it’s been this time.

And to end on an even more positive note, it’s sunny and warm out and somewhere out there is a cookie with my name on it.

Feeling grossbuckets, May 2019 edition

Yesterday was characterized by the delightful experience of coughing so hard that several times I nearly induced my gag reflex.

Today I was hoping I had hit peak cough, and the road to recovery would open before me, especially since I was going to see Avengers: Endgame in the afternoon and one can only avoid spoilers for so long and still stay connected to the internet.

Alas, it was not to be.

Instead, I coughed even more, though mercifully with less force than yesterday, but it was enough to keep me home. Over the course of the day my sinuses also plugged up and yet I also developed a runny nose. I did not buy more NyQuil as I didn’t expect to need it and tonight I have none. I will suffer and build character instead.

Also, the previous paragraph somehow started and ended with the word “instead,” which is a little weird and unintentional.

I did feel strangely warm earlier, though I didn’t feel hot. Thanks to last year’s preparation, I now have a thermometer for just such occasions and took my temperature. It was perfectly normal, as expected. So that was good, I suppose.

I’ll be toodling off to bed soon and hoping that tomorrow will be the beginning of my swift recovery, but I have my doubts. I’m going to put the doubts in an airtight tub to keep them fresh. I’m not sure if that means they will thrive or die.

I guess I’ll know tomorrow. For now, attempts at sleep.

Cloudy with a chance of doom

The chance of doom is minimal, but you never know.

Today the sun has departed and the clouds have rolled in. My mind is similarly clouded as I question the effectiveness of the so-called “extra strength” cough medicine I took this morning that has not particularly stopped me from coughing. Maybe it’s a perspective thing. If I hadn’t taken the cough medicine, I would be on the floor, in endless coughing spasms, my sides sore, feeling worn out from the effort. In that light, the cough medicine is actually working pretty good.

Meanwhile, this flu or whatever it is has reached the annoying stage. I try to remain positive and think how much better I’ll feel when it’s moved along, but right now a nap would be seriously nice. Just curl up on the cold tile floor, right here. I don’t need carpeting. Or a pillow. I’m surprised I’m not napping right now, in this chair, as I type.

Changing gears, I looked through my blog a few days ago semi-randomly. I do this from time to time, usually starting out by searching for something specific, and ending down the rabbit hole that can keep me checking YouTube videos for hours when I totally didn’t mean to do that.

One of the things I re-discovered is how in-depth some of the writing prompts I worked on were. There are complete stories, albeit short ones, on this very blog. I thought to myself, “Neat!” and “I should do more of this.”

So starting tomorrow, when I am hopefully feeling a bit better, I am going to tackle a prompt whenever I have nothing else to write about. Get the ol’ creative juices going again. Maybe this time it will stick. Stranger things–such as the election of Trump–have happened.

This post brought to you by Day 3 of the flu or convincingly flu-like.

Hello, May!

It’s sunny and pleasant out and Alexa just told me there are only 52 days until summer and I can put on my bikini again*.

I am also home because I have the flu or something flu-like. It’s funny how there’s no real way to know for sure. Look it up, everything has the same symptoms. But I have NyQuil and that’s all that matters. And also a small bottle of Robitussin extra strength cough syrup in case the cough starts up again (it’s been mostly fine today). I deliberately bought a small bottle because there is no way to go through an entire normal-sized bottle of cough medicine before it expires. I know this from the two bottles of cough medicine in our medicine cabinet that expired in 2015. If you cough long enough to use a full bottle before it expires, you probably have some fatal cough-related illness.

So on the one hand, hooray for May and getting another day closer to summer, the best season ever made, but boo to starting the month with the flu or something flu-like. I want to run through fields of tall grass, not feel like I’m incubating a baby alien in my chest. I want to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, not constantly fight the urge to nap wherever I happen to be. But time heals all wounds (well, most of them) and it works decently for the flu, too. I have my Vitamin C and my NyQuil, I have soup and a bed ready to accommodate napping with no notice, so it could be worse.

NOTE: I am not suggesting that I would like to be worse as a comparison. Repeat, DO NOT WANT.

I did indulge slightly and I will share here to help keep myself from sinning again:

I bought and ate an apple strudel. They come in packages of six, so there are five more to tempt me (that’s 1440 calories for all six). I sometimes do this when I am unwell, using the logic that I am not unwell often enough for the occasional indulgence to put me on a course to being the largest guy ever who is 5’10¾” tall. So far this has held true. Also, the apple strudel was way sweeter than expected. It was almost kind of gross.

I still want another one. But one per day, that’s the rule.

Here’s to a warm, sunny month, a speedy recovery, some weight loss, better control over snacking (ignore everything I wrote above about apple strudel) and more running, walking and all that good stuff.

Oh, and writing, too.

Flu shmu

The past week I’ve been on this weird up and down thing with the flu. Normally when I catch a bug it takes a predictable course. For the first couple of days I feel progressively worse, then I start to steadily improve after.

This particular bug started last weekend, when I just generally felt tired for no apparent reason. I skipped my run and generally didn’t do much. I went to work on Monday and again felt tired. I woke up around 1 a.m. Monday night to find myself shivering, even though I was tucked under the blankets and felt warm. Later I did feel warm, as in sweating profusely. I was officially sick.

I stayed home the next two days, then returned to work on Thursday, feeling better, but not great. Strangely, on Friday, I felt a lot worse again and once more stayed home. Saturday was worse, still, and I didn’t go outside the condo the entire day. I ended the evening sitting here with a desk fan blowing air at my face to keep me cool. Finally, we come to today, which started much the same, with naps, followed by tea, followed by more laying down and doing very little. I finally went out, to the store, and by the time dinner was over I began to feel a tiny bit like my normal self. It’s almost 9 p.m. as I type this and I once again sip in tea. I’ve turned the fan off now because I no longer feel like I’m broiling in my own skin.

I am hoping I finally have a little energy tomorrow.

Tonight, I look at my output for the weekend re: NaNoWriMo and the word count is easy: zero. I wrote nothing, because every time I sat to write, I was too tired to muster anything before going back to laying down some more. I also left almost all of my usual weekend chores undone. Still, cleaning the toilets can wait until I feel better. I would be more alarmed at the lack of writing output for NaNo, but I have an actual outline this year, and a bit of a buffer, so I should be able to get back on track fairly quickly (ho ho).

Anyway, my only real wish for myself for 2019 is to have good health, because this year has been rather the opposite. It seems a reasonable thing to wish for. I hope it is!

November, shmovember

I am starting the month with the flu, which is sub-optimal for my health and for National Novel Writing Month, which began yesterday.

Last night I attempted to write after revising the earlier work I’d done on what is now going by the bland working title of The Journal, but by 9 o’ clock I had written nothing, had no energy, then went to bed, where I burned up and had literal fever dreams.

Today–or tonight, to be more precise, I have a little more energy and a new thermometer confirmed I only have a mild fever, but I am still lacking the energy to really put out words. Tomorrow’s weather is The Rains, so I’m thinking I’ll have a good go then, especially if I’m over the hump of this latest beating to my health that is the year 2018. Not that I’m complaining! It’s been, uh, interesting. Yes. Interesting. Grist for the mill, fodder for my writing. Or something.

Anyway, on with November and the official start of the two month Christmas blitz. Ho ho ho.

About that summer cold…

I am getting more stuffed up as the evening progresses. I do not like this. But I’m not complaining.

Yes, I am. I am totally complaining.

I’m going to re-read A Complaint Free World. I need to get back on the complaint-free bandwagon.

And never catch another cold again.

Fake edit: I have just ordered an official™ Complaint Free bracelet. It’s purple, so I’m pretty excited. It will apparently take 10-25 days to get here, so I’m going to get in a serious pile of complaining in the meantime, as a healthy way of purging it from my system. Yep.

Prescription interruptus

That three-day antibiotic treatment for my kidney infection was apparently supposed to be 10 days, but the pharmacy only had three days’ worth of medication on hand (it was a total of six pills). I was expected to come back and get the remaining seven days’ of medication a few days later. They called and left me a message informing me of this.

I never got the message.

I was never told initially that the prescription was incomplete, either.

I’m actually a little ticked, because now I have to pick up the seven days’ of additional antibiotics, start taking them, then let my doctor know in case the lapse in treatment means I need to tack three more days of antibiotics onto thee seven.

And now I’m wondering if I can feel the kidney starting to act up again. Psychosomatic, perhaps. I feel like Al Pacino in The Godfather Part III. “Just when I thought I was out…”

A haiku to the common cold and resultant dreams

Not that I’m complaining. This is more observation. Yeah.

Coughing sneezing yuck
The common cold is no fun
NyQuil my best friend

In this post from May 16th 2017 I complained about an eerily similar circumstance:

This one bugs me because it just seems so random and out of the blue. Friday I was fine, Friday night I was sick.

This same sequence happened where I felt fine all day Friday and in the evening my throat had that telltale scratchiness. Unlike then, this one doesn’t seem random at all because I have been surrounded by other sick people lately, including several at work. I powered through a two-day workshop on Monday and Tuesday as it was too late to reschedule, but to my dismay actually felt worse instead of better on Tuesday. Today, upon waking early in the morning I could feel the cold nestled deep in my chest like the chest burster from Alien and opted to stay home. I like to think this is me being generous and saving fellow co-workers, among others, from experiencing the same mild agony of sneezing, running nose, sore throat and so on, but it’s really me just wanting to curl up and nap and imagine how wonderful it is to feel healthy and how can I possibly take it for granted again after being so sick? Which I will inevitably do, because that’s just the way our brains work.

My hope is that I will feel peppy enough to return to work tomorrow. My fear is that I will rank a smidgen too low on the peppy scale and be faced with choosing between a) feeling like poop but going in anyway and risk spreading my illness around or b) staying home, feeling guilty about how I feel like poop but knowing I could probably shuffle, zombie-like, through the work day somehow, especially if I loaded up on handy cold remedies first.

Today, though, the level of guilt I felt in staying home was a big fat zero. I also had very strange dreams in the morning when I’d normally be up that included:

  • some strange medieval setting that was a quasi-musical with a knight lamenting in song about always having to fight
  • another person lamenting about something where he repeated the same word three times but I can’t recall the word now, dang it
  • the scenery was this weird pastoral plain that felt like it was at the top of a mountain, with giant redwood-like trees that didn’t render properly until you got right next to them. Yes, it was like being in a video game with poor drawing distance.
  • I think there may have been fighting, but it was bloodless from what I can remember
  • there were other dreams that were sufficiently weird that I can only remember them being sufficiently weird

All that and I did not take NyQuil first, as I’d run out a day earlier. I’m getting more tonight and look forward to what my subconscious will present to me.

And I hope I feel at least better tomorrow. Seeing the activity rings on my watch go unfilled makes me sad.

Sick and the snow

Friday during lunch the college closed early due to snow and everyone got to start the weekend early. I was home by 2:30 p/m/ and safely tucked inside from all the snow. Yay.

Friday evening I felt that telltale tickle in my throat that said “Yep, you’re getting sick–probably that thing that knocked out a co-worker for a few days.”

Late Friday the tickle becomes more of a barb and I seek solace in a bottle of NyQuil. It mostly works.

I think about going to the Canada Games Pool on Saturday. It’s not that bad, I think. I can do it. I go to the store and earn about half my exercise goal (30 minutes) on the watch Activity app. That wasn’t so bad, I think, though the urge to nab has arisen suddenly.

I have a nice bubble bath. I nap. I do not go to the pool.

Today I wake up and the barb is gone or at least sufficiently buried to no longer feel like a bar. My sinuses are stuffed but it’s hard to tell if it’s from my ongoing sinus issues or due to this cold or whatever it is. I again muse over going for a workout. As a bonus, most of the snow has already melted away and the sun is out.

I have another bubble bath. I nap once more.

I do not work out. I give up on meeting my activity goals. Whatever streak I have is ended and I hear a little imaginary sad trombone play.

And now just past 7 p.m. I fight the urge to go to bed early, my strength ebbing away as I type. It’s too early, I think. I need to write. Or read. Or explore my vast Steam backlog. I can’t go to bed, not just because of a little cold.

But the bed looks so comfy.

One head cold, two lists

Two lists after the sudden and unwelcome arrival of a head cold four days ago.

List 1:
Things I have missed since getting a head cold

  • two runs
  • one writing group
  • my daily activity goal as per the Apple Watch (four days so far)
  • work (on-site)
  • going outside (two days)

List 2:
Things I have achieved since getting a head cold

  • sneezing
  • runny nose
  • stuffed sinuses (goes great with #2)
  • headache
  • mild fever
  • coughing
  • sore throat
  • sleeplessness (one night, see immediate item above for explanation)
  • conversely, plenty of napping during the day
  • weird dreams
  • possible addiction to NyQuil (not really, but it has probably saved my sleep 3 of 4 nights)
  • work (a little that I could do from home on the fourth day)

This one bugs me because it just seems so random and out of the blue. Friday I was fine, Friday night I was sick. Weekend shot, missed work, behind on everything again, going in when still not 100%, missing runs after finally getting back into a regular routine. Why haven’t we cured the common cold, anyway?