Posted by: Norm | July 16, 2009

Your Summer Cold

I had a summer cold in April and wrote about it.  A friend of mine ask me to re-run the post since he just got over a summer cold.  So, here it is for your ingestion.

A good friend, aholistic practitioner (read that to mean, herbal “nut”), said I caught the cold in the hospital as I visited our most recent grandson.  She calls hospitals, “death traps”.  But my gut tells me I got it because we’ve had our usual, illogical climate change here in Southern California, i.e. last weekend had highs in the low 60’s followed by four days scratching at the 100 mark.  Add to that the fact we went camping in the mountains last weekend (where nights dropped into the high 30’s and just about froze my cajones.)

Anyway, for those of you who are yet to experience your summer cold, I thought I’d enlighten you on how it all comes about, once you’ve contacted the virus, unbeknownst to you.  It comes together something like this.

Day 1:  You’ve caught the virus somewhere but you’re not intelligent enough yet to know it.  Today you will feel a few fleeting “feelings” of a cold, but you won’t put it all together until tomorrow.  Instead, today you say to yourself, “This can’t be a cold.  In April? (add the proper month here to make you feel even more unlikely you are getting a cold)  I won’t get a cold.  I won’t.  I won’t.  I won’t!!  I am not getting a cold, there.  That should settle it.”  The feelings persist.

Day 2:  Your sinus passages are not raw yet, but they have begun a deluge of clear snot that seems to have no end.  By 2:00 p.m. you have rubbed your nose to the point of road-rash.  But you say to yourself, “This is not a cold.  It’s allergies from all these orange blossoms, pine refuse, or the dryer sheets your wife just began using  (insert your own excuses here).”  So, you keep blowing and lying to yourself with the utmost of positive thinking and your head continues to bleed snot of the purest form, it’s almost beautiful when held to the light. 

By evening your body finally convinces you:  “You dimwit, you have a cold, why haven’t you started taking anything for it?  We’re runnin’ two days late here.”  By now, you can barely keep your swollen eyes open, all you want to do is sleep and you’re still blowing barrels of mucus through a nose that has begun to glow at the portals.  (By the way, just to give this rumination some points for accuracy, I should mention at this juncture (6:00 p.m. on Saturday night), we decided to break camp, pile everything back into two cars and make our way down the mountain.  The taking down and loading of all equipment took approximately an hour and twenty minutes.  I performed these duties in an utter fog and do not look forward to what I might find when I set the tent up again.)

Day 3:  With the admission of “having a cold” you can finally surrender, as any good general does when he realizes he is outnumbered, out-manned and out-positioned.  Last night, you said to the wife, “Babe, I’m goin’ to bed” and it was only 8:45 p.m.  (this was 4 minutes after we arrived home and I made some crappy promise about unloading the car tomorrow) 

You enter day three like a man beaten with PVC pipe, ran over by a bus and thrown off a cliff.  If CSI shows up, they will barely get a pulse and probably stuff that big long thing in your liver and surmise a TOD for your wife.  You only know it’s morning (make that late-morning, well, perhaps noon) as your wife awakens you to drown you with water, 4 ibuprofen and a Benadryl.  She says all manner of things incoherently and you attempt a head nod, but the pain is so excruciating, you throw a hand in her direction and sink back under the covers.  Day 3 is the “lost day”.  You care nothing about anything; sustenance, bathing, walking the dogs, how the Lakers are doing in the playoffs or whether the house is actually on fire.  Several days from now, you will have enough mental clarity to ask, “I don’t remember Monday.  Did we have a Monday this week or was it a holiday?” 

You will take nourishment in the 40 minutes you are awake tonight.  She will fix you chicken and rice soup and toast points with peanut butter to ingest you with protein.  After you consume this in a voracious manner, you will also eat a half box of Oreos, two cups of Chex Mix, and a bag of white cheddar cheese popcorn before waddling back to the bed in the dungeon, once known as the master bedroom.

Day 4:  Today is the day you wake up and think you may be through the worst of it.  After all, you slept all day yesterday, isn’t that a good sign of recovery?  You actually make plans for the day.  You get up and make a breakfast of ham and eggs (3, over medium), four slices of whole wheat toast slatheredwith orange marmalade, fried potatoes, a whole grapefruit and a pot of coffee.  You make your way to the TV and discover there is no programming available for anyone who has a brain that still functions.  You turn off the TV, go to the computer and start bringing up your favorites and you are immediately realize you have some of the stupidest “favorite” websites on the Internet.  DrudgeReport?  N Y Times?  Huffington Post?  Newsmax?  Who set these as favorites?  A schizophrenic?  By now you are feeling sleepy and it’s only 8:30 in the morning?  Finding nothing else to do, you make your way to the bedroom and your are immediately reminded of your wife’s last words, before going to work, “Today would be a good day to take that shower, dear.”  You tell yourself you’ll take it just before she gets home and you make your way to the oasis of cold relief, your bed. 

When your head hits the pillow you realize the sheets and pillows have been changed, surreptitiously, as you performed as the breakfast chef de jour.  Damn!  You mutter as you realize she can control you from 40 miles away!!  So, up-you-get and do what any half-sane, cold-crazed man would do.  You make your way to the den with a fleece blanket dragging behind you and you firmly ensconce your head, shoulders, hips and legs on the 7 foot couch.  This will have to be your domain of the day.  Damn!  You forgot to get the remote as you passed by the lazy-boy.  So, get-you-up, once again, and make your way there and back in a zombie state of mentality. 

When you awaken at 2, your appetite is only slightly smaller than Rosie O’Donnell’s on a high-energy guilt trip.  There’s a third-of-a-loaf of french bread in the bin, plenty of ham still on the shank, roast beef sliced just right, provalone and muenster cheeses.   You cut up green peppers, peperocini and onions to make it all so healthy.  Mayonnaise and deli hot mustard holds it all together.  Why bother putting the potato chips on a plate?  There’s not room anyway after you place the sandwich there.  Take the bag into the den with you.  You are reminded of words your mother used to say as you sit down in the lazy-boy and pull the bag of chips and sandwich-laden TV tray to you, “Feed a cold, starve a fever.”  Your wife comes home at 5:30 and awakens you . . . you tell her chicken fried steak would be fine for dinner and you want gravy over the steak, the french fries, and the slice of white bread laid next to the fries. 

Oh, did I mention this is the day the cold has moved from the head to the chest?  When you cough, it’s like Lash LaRue is somewhere in your left lung and Indiana Jones in the other and they are slashing your chest with their bull-whips.  You do everything within your power not cough.  Ha!! Like coughs are not going to happen.  They do, over and over again, relentlessly and you pray for the days when all you did was blow snot.

Day 5:  You’re not gonna like today.  Seems like everyone (aka, “the little woman”) in the house , but you, is a bit testy, a bit pushy and a bit displeased.  It’s like you’ve got a rebellion on your hands.  “She” leaves with not a word and you wonder if you ought to check the drive way to see if those sounds left black tread marks.  You will remark to yourself, which is a good call by the way, “Doesn’t she realize I’m sick?” 

Today you actually feel like you want to live.  You make plans.  You take that Day 4 shower.  You take the dogs for a walk and you wonder what they’ve been doing for relief assistance the last 4, 5 days.  You read the paper, on-line of course.  You are amazed at the mental acuity of a man who can read Newmax and the New York Times and discern the truth and lies in the publications respectively. 

Then it happens, your first cough of the day and you’re surprised by it, it’s 9:30, for goodness sake!  It’s that cough that reminds you your muscles and ribs were put through abnormal exercises yesterday.  It’s that cough that tells you the atomic bomb just went off in every muscle in your diaphragm and rib cage.  Once again you mutter, “I can’t do that again” and the day is spent in fear of another cough. 

One more thing hits you today that upsets the harmony of your first day of resurrection.  The guy you detest at work calls and wonders if you are going to make it in tomorrow.  Work?  You haven’t thought of that in 4 or 5 days.  I told you, you are not going to like today.  Today is the day reality sets in.  But you still have some reserves on which to mount a campaign of prolonging flight from reality.  “I can’t go back to work, I still sound like I’m talking in an oil drum . . . I’m still blowing . . . the tip of my nose looks like the heat-shield of the Columbia making its way back to earth from space . . . a cough sends me to the outer reaches of the pain belt . . . the look in my eyes would scare half the people I work with . . . no, I better get better before going back to work. 

Of course, you know what “wifey’s” first words are when she enters the house tonight, “You look so much better honey.  I bet they’ll be happy to see you back at work tomorrow.”  See the sneakiness in that statement?  In sales, we call that “the assumptive close.”

You’re not well yet, but you’ll drag your slightly aching, fearfully coughing, droopy faced body to work tomorrow because of the expectations of others.  My doctor told me once, “If you come to me for medication for a cold, what I give you will heal you in seven days.  If you stay at home and rest, you’ll be up and around in about a week.”  Huh?  Yeah, you read it right.  So on the sixth day we rise again, not totally well, but too well to garner the sympathy we did on days 2 and3.

I encourage you to keep this information for when you need it.  It shall come to pass in the not distant future . . . if you get a summer cold.

Thus endeth the lesson.



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