The Not-So-Common Cold


How on earth can there be such a term as "the common cold". My colds, I have found, are quite common. Some sneak in and I go from well to sick in a flash. Others begin with sneezing and a runny nose and then they burst into hacking coughing spasms. At other times I cough a little with nose dripping but I feel flat out awful. As I glance around and listen to others with colds, I find that we have far less in common than we do in common. As a result of this observation I now state that colds are unique to the time and to the individual. The "common cold" is a phantom of the imagination.

Beginning in junior high I started having a continuously runny nose. It seemed that no matter how healthy or ill I felt, my nose just liked to drip. Kleenexes became the joke as I filled every pocket, purse, and cranny. I marvel that this habit persists to this day. Research says that the drip probably reflected allergies but I have to wonder about this in the dead of winter and an on-going stream regardless of where I traveled, even overseas. Then three or four times each year the runny nose erupt into a cold. At least one of these was accompanied by a horrendous cough, aches and pains, or a low-grade fever. Having had my tonsils extracted when I was four I avoided repeating bouts of tonsillitis, but I did have frequent painful sore throats.

As I moved into adulthood the regular pattern continued until my children started daycare and public school. Of course they each took turns contracting the virus of the day and generously bought it home to share. As I was teaching junior high at the time, I lugged home my fair share of germs as well. We took on a coughing / healthy arrangement, tossing illness from one non-eager participant to another. My two sons, my daughter, and I dialed for the worst cough versus the most days of great health. While often a trip to the doctor helped my three children, it was a rare day that anything worked for me other than some very strong cough syrup. And my husband, bless his soul, refused to be sick even for a day.

When I turned 60, the kids had all left the house, I worked in schools only on a volunteer basis, and excellent health restored. At first I credited my life style change to my fresh vigor and then I ascribed it to my flu shot. Sometimes I added the fact that I ate well, paying attention to partake of only high-quality, nutritious foods. I exercised, dressed warmly or lightly as the weather dictated. And for about three years colds rendered just once a year, and with a few days of extreme rest, I could beat them in 7 to 10 days. I had discovered my personal Fountain of Health.

However, 2015 has reintroduced cold season at its finest. I chopped through January with a terrible cold that began on New Year's Day and only let up at the end of the month. I reduced exercise and increased rest, but it lingered all the same. February seemed better until near the end when my old friend returned and exhaustion and coughing renewed their power. By mid-March I was on my feet once again and ready to launch into all the projects that I had not been able to complete as I had reclined in recuperation mode. After two weeks of health, guess what? My cold returned, this time with a wacking that scared even me. A Half marathon had to be canceled (and if you are a runner you realize the anguish this caused!) And I took to cozy couch and bed yet again.

April is upon me as my nose blowing endures and my cough is ever-present. I force myself into action when non-action feet counterproductive, and then I lapse into a huddled heap yet again. The common cold, so uncommonly original in each of my bouts, has usurped my health yet again. Oh, how a long for the next few weeks to melt away so that this cold will disappear and maybe late spring and summer will revitalize my zest and drive the drips to extinction. In the meantime, rest and Kleenex are constant companions.