’Tis the season to catch a big, bad cold

If you don’t time it just right, you can’t get decent sympathy these days.
In a last pathetic bid for some “Oooh, you poor thing!” or “Wow. You’d better take it easy!” I tell my sad tale here in a final whine-fest.
I was distraught to find that my usually fortress-like antibodies were apparently whooping it up on a party boat somewhere in the Caribbean last week, right when I needed them. An Attila-the-Hun virus swept down upon what seems to be the majority of the northwest county and I caught the first wave of the onslaught.
I spent the next seven days coughing so frequently and so loudly, almost everyone in my house (whose antibodies are apparently better than mine) wanted to strangle me in my sleep. At the time, I wouldn’t have minded. The phrase “in my sleep” is screamingly inaccurate, since I didn’t get much sleep. Courtesy of my hawking and wheezing, neither did anyone else. If prescription drugs hadn’t come to my rescue on day eight, I would have had to start sleeping in my car.
And why was I unable to attract the requisite sympathy? Well, of course, no one really understood how I was suffering (big sigh here). I am a delicate flower. But also, half the office and a solid third of the kids at the library were stricken with the same illness. They weren’t coughing at me, they were coughing with me.
I haven’t coughed this much since I had walking pneumonia and separated a rib in my 20s. Now that diagnosis will get you some fabulous sympathy. I had my hopes up as I dragged into the doctor. My ribs were killing me, along with my clearly out-of-shape diaphragm. But all I had managed was a virus with a side order of sinus infection.
The most tiresome bit about this particular virus is that even as I improve, the cough does not. That is, it still sounds like I’m trying to turn myself inside out, even though things in the respiratory area have greatly improved. I will be really delighted when that symptom takes a hike and I can stop feeling like Typhoid Mary, queen of contagion.
There is nothing cute or sexy or even a little bit adorable about a cough. A fever, you can look wan and helpless. A sore throat gets you ice cream. OK. It’s not as bad as throwing up, but it’s still icky. People just want to get as far away from you as possible and you want to grab the vacuum cleaner and jam it down your windpipe. Well, I did, anyway.
And did I mention that the list of things that need doing for the holidays kept glaring at me and getting longer? The thought of actually untangling the outdoor lights sounded akin to going a round with Tuff Tony in the center ring. Deciding between the candy cane-stripe candle and the ball-of-holly candle was just too much to contemplate.
I imagine I will grab a double shot of caffeine and do some serious catch-up this weekend. You will recognize me as the whirlwind of tinsel, bows, ornaments and cookie dough that flashes by, leaving a high-pitched shriek and a low-pitched cough in her wake.
‘Tis the season. Stay healthy.

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