It’s an annual occurrence, this cough-til-you-drop thing that starts out as more of a sinus infection, but then goes astray as it travels down into my chest before wandering to the belly button and beyond.
Regardless of its origin or ultimate destination, it has decided to hit at a most inopportune time. Not that there is a good time to have the epizutti, but with spring semester starting on Thursday, I could really use some good sleep and time to get my house in order before hitting the books for what I hope will be my last semester of graduate school. It would be helpful not to start the semester half asleep because the crud kept me up round the clock for four straight nights.
This particular episode started New Years Eve. It drizzled outside all day, but I had to run some errands. Despite my efforts to stay dry, I guess the damp air was just enough to kick up something. The little tickle in my throat later that evening should have clued me in, but, no, I wasn’t going to own that. I had The Family coming for the weekend – 32 of them – and needed to finish getting our house and The Parental Units’ ready for the visit.
By Saturday night in mid-sentence, my voice ceased to operate. The mouth was moving, but nothing audible was coming forth.
If I had to come down with the crud, the Arnold Free-for-All is probably the best place that could happen. Some of you may recall that my father is a retired pharmacist. Brother #2 is also a pharmacist. His wife is a pharmacist. Sneezing during a family reunion spurs a litany of home remedies and recommendations rivaled only by the presentations at a pharmaceutical convention:
“Here, take this and call me in the morning,” one of them says.
“Mix up eight ounces of warm water, a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of baking soda,” my brother offers. “Hang your head off the side of the bed, drip the salt water solution in your nose and it’ll clean up your sinuses.” I thought my head was already hanging off the side of the bed. At least, that’s how it feels…
“And if that doesn’t work,” my father’s trademarked gravel-toned voice chimes in, “I’ll mix up some of the sinus nasal solution I picked up from a Navy doctor during the Big One.” That would be World War II. Everyone knows the good stuff only gets better with age. Sinus remedies are no exception.
Measuring cup in one hand, aspirin in the other, I went to work trying to fight off this crud invading the various crevices in my head, but to no avail. It was winning the war no matter how much salt water I dripped, green tea with honey and lemon I gargled, or Vitamin C ingested.
So we are now into Day Three of this having finally succumbed to it on Sunday morning after the 32 members of the Arnold Family returned to their respective homes following the Arnold Free-For All on Saturday. Since Sunday, we’ve graduated from decongestants to the hard stuff – Zicam. Great stuff, but it’s worked so well, I’ve gone through a whole box of Kleenex since blowing out my head with the salt water stuff – this morning.
My kitchen counter looks like a cough drop buffet with a few Breezers and Vitamin C Defense thrown as appetizers. I’m guarding the Ginger Ale-flavored ones with my life. Hall’s should make me a stock holder.
I no longer have a nose – just a red and raw nub attempting to function, but not managing particularly well. Ad dow I’b talking like dis…oh, by, I deed to get sub sleep. It’s 1:30 in the bording – I’b tired and got to try to sleep sitting up…
Let’s see – it’s 5:30. AM. Woke up. Cad’t breathe. Wadder into the bathroom for a shot of Zicam and another box of Kleenex. Cad hardly keep by eyes oped, but can’t stay asleep …
6:08 – the Zicam, nose blowing, and prayer are working. I can breathe, perchance to sleep. It’s 22 degrees outside. My cat jumped up on the bed to see about me. Darrell’s sound asleep in a room where sleep is possible. This is looking like a great day to curl up with a cat or two and some old movies – just what the doctor ordered. Habby Dew Year!
Helen Person is a columnist for the Barrow Journal. E-mail comments about this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.