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Small Talk: Sick of being sick

That’s it. Enough. I am absolutely done being sick. Not another germ is permitted to darken my door

I have been a splendidly healthy person most all my life. I get my necessary immunizations like clockwork. Yet in the past six months, I have had two fairly virulent cold viruses attack my robust self … and win. That is not acceptable.

Yes, I work at an elementary school, and yes, those adorable kids are walking petri dishes. But I have been doing that for 22 years. Why this year have I become such a wimp? I refuse to accept that age has anything to do with it. So there.

I will concede that some of the books I handle have been going through sticky little hands for 30 years. I try to clean them when I can, but with a collection of 12,000 books, it is like sweeping the Sahara. I am currently scheming to come up with a new plan of defense. I considered going all out and finding fashionable surgical masks to wear, but I think that would scare the little ones. I would like to wash my hands more, but there is scarcely time or a convenient sink. I have decided to find an industrial-size bottle of hand sanitizer, and strap it to my hip.

I vow to wash my hands at every opportunity and use the gel until my hands resemble a crocodile’s back. “My son, the doctor” says that the hand gel has to be used properly or it just breeds stronger germs. I will be an obedient mom and look for at least 70% alcohol content.

I do not lay back and languish when a virus drops by. I gargle, I suck on zinc lozenges. I snort zinc nasal spray. I do saline nasal rinses. I chug fruit juice. The newest weapon in my arsenal is elderberry syrup — with zinc. At least it tastes better than the other zinc sources I have been choking down. I have generally lessened the severity of my colds, if not the recovery time. But recovery time is what I resent the most. I have things to do, people to see, books to check out, stories to read and copy to edit.

I already hit the sack way earlier than most people (although I have been know to read far too late). I spent most of my life as a cranky night owl, but have finally succumbed to reason. I eat my vegetables, take my vitamins and drag my carcass to an exercise class twice a week. Things had better simmer down, and I mean right now. I refuse to be the Typhoid Mary in every crowd. It’s just humiliating.

Bring it on, winter. I am going to the mattresses for this war. Wake me when April gets here.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who is truly weary of coughing. Contact her at [email protected]