There are truly terrible things in this world: war, greed, climate change, abuse in all its forms and guises, corporate entities more powerful than any government, collusion, the cult of celebrity, rabid nationalism, illiteracy in all its forms, commercials for drugs, fundamentalism, right-wingism, oppression, an uninformed, uncaring public; cancer, hate, power struggles, terrorism, the stock market, shareholder value, downsizing, competition in the workplace, isolation, operating on irrational fears, having to deal with the public, bad drivers, narcissism, helicopter parents, the sociopath in the next cubicle or corner office, mean people, and all forms and manifestations of addiction.
Shall I continue? Didn’t think so.
There are also absolutely amazing things in this world: freedom, acceptance, rights, safety, having enough food to eat, water to drink, clothes to wear, a place to live, sunlight, smiles, love, friends, learning, open hearts and open minds, music, poetry, art, babies, animals, nature, trust, wonder, moonlight, rocks, laughter, colours, touch, heartbeats, connectedness, the smell of fresh water, a home cooked meal, a bottle of wine with friends, holding hands, cuddling, silence, helping someone, reading, listening to stories, a job well done, a clean bed, great conversation with interesting people, acceptance of difference, respect for life, gentleness, helping out, falling asleep, feeling safe, being healthy, dancing, sitting on the porch, watching the street, sharing, community, hanging at the dog park, making music with little kids, and going on an adventure.
I could continue, but the point is that there are terrible and wonderful things in this world. We all know them. And live with them.
But today I am on day five of a truly terrible thing: a nasty, horrible cold that I swear is trying to kill me.
Apparently, this is not a run-of-the-mill, garden variety kind of common cold. Nope. This is one that took two weeks to break. This is one that’s taken my voice away. This is a cold that has caused sneezing and coughing fits so bad that there isn’t a muscle on my body that doesn’t hurt even when I’m standing still. This is a cold that causes night-time sneezing and coughing so bad that it inevitably bothers the dogs and they leave: one goes to another bedroom, and one goes to the downstairs couch. Last night I left the bedroom rather than continue to disturb the dogs.
I can’t give anyone a hug or a kiss, can’t hold hands, and I can’t cuddle. My nostrils are red and my eyes are watery and puffy and rather sad. It’s quite pathetic really, me and this cold. Hot, cold, sore head, weak, unable to breathe and unable to talk and sleep deprived to the point of hallucinating. I’m sure if I could talk, I’d be talking gibberish.
This cold has been fed with so many homemade soups and lemon-ginger teas that I am about to turn into some sort of creature from the soupy lagoon. If I see another bowl or cup of any kind of hot liquid I shall faint in the fashion of the princess I avoid being.
In addition to soup and teas, I am also full of immune support stuff, vitamins, meditation and reiki and a few sinus and cold pills. One night, I had a half a glass of brandy with cinnamon — no apple cider because I was all out of that. Wooooo! Made me giddy. That night was also the last time my voice worked.
Sadly, there is no cure for a cold. There are simply symptom suppressors, which I am somewhat opposed to since they just prolong everything, and some can have curious side effects. For example, let’s say that you are a woman and take extra strength sinus and cold tablets to ease your congestion. Let’s say you take them for a little while. Well, let me tell you this about that: those pills dry up everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING in our female body that requires moisture to function optimally. If you are ever interested in losing your sight, nasal sprays that contain steroids can cause cataracts.
Since I can’t fight this cold and I can’t talk, and prefer to not spread it around I have been doing what is called resting. All I have to show for that is a pulled back muscle from coughing. So I engaged in my own version of resting: I played with the dogs, caught up on all the back episodes of Sanctuary and NCIS/NCIS LA (both for the science and tech geeks) and hunted through all the tools in the basement to see if there was a drill fine enough to do some self-surgery: nothing too complicated, just a little hole in my head to let out some of the congestion or whatever it was sloshing about and making me miserable. Unfortunately the only hand drill I have is one from the 18th century. It’s big and has antique rust on it and it would take hours and my arms would get sore.
The next part of rest consisted of me feeling somewhat defeated, sitting on the couch, thinking deep thoughts in between coughs and sneezes and chills and more sneezes.
Tweety (the bird) seems to think that when I sneeze, I am speaking in a dialect unique to Indian Ring Necked birds. He answers each of my sneezes with a tweet equal in tone and force to my sneeze. I usually sneeze three or four times in a row (oh joy oh bliss) and Tweety is right there with me.
The dogs look at both of us. It’s as if we are creating a kind of in-situ Dada music piece that I am sure John Cage would have appreciated.
Because we live in a world where everything’s an opportunity to make money, I bought stock in a company that makes kleenex to recoup the money I am throwing away on kleenex: so far, six huge garbage bags full in just five days. (Hmmm, so that’s what I’m full of?) There are two boxes in every room, and I carry one with me to make sure I do not sneeze all over everything or anyone.
Some people say to use toilet paper. I say, um, no thank you.
In terms of recuperating from a cold, it is important to drink a lot, keep warm, get lots of rest and keep your nose hydrated.
So I am going to the gym, hang out in the sauna, drink gallons of blood orange juice, snort saline water and hope to be back to normal sometime in the near future and back on track to ponder the truly terrible and truly wonderful things in this world of ours, like life without a horrid cold.