Monday, May 10, 2010

The Never-Ending Cough. Part II

I figured that my cold would have run its course by now, but I apparently have super duper germs that linger on for months. And, okay, so it hasn’t even been a week yet, but I’m tired of being sick and anything more than 24 hours is pressing the limit with me. I think that a cold should be history once an entire box of Kleenex has been used, but this apparently is one of those Old Wives Tales that isn’t true. And, yeah, it probably has even less validity since I just made it up. But, c’mon - gimme a break here!

I spent all day Saturday recuperating, which basically meant I never changed out of my PJs and I moved from the bed to the couch to the easy chair. All the while I was clutching my box of Kleenex and coughing and blowing my nose and probably driving Vince crazy. While I was downstairs, though, I managed to catch up on the last several episodes of Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy, which also probably drove Vince crazy as I’m sure he would have preferred watching golf. Thankfully, he was allowing me to play the sick card.

I think Vince was rewarding me for my efforts in allowing him to sleep at night in relative peace. You see, I took my germ-laden self into the guest room and shut the door where I could cough well into the wee hours of the morning and leave him to snooze without interruption.

But yesterday was Mother’s Day and Vince and I were invited to his dad’s house for dinner. Probably I shouldn’t have gone, but I didn’t want to be rude. On the other hand, coughing and hacking and blowing my nose for 4 hours straight was maybe even more rude. I thought that perhaps the Mucinex, cough medicine, Day-Quil or one of the other 15 cough and cold remedies I ingested might have taken care of the more obvious symptoms. Yeah, not so much.

I’m not sure, but I think I know what lepers used to feel like. Not one person hugged me, or came anywhere near me – can you believe that?! I even drove one person upstairs for the duration of my visit as she didn’t want to catch the germs I was surely infusing into the atmosphere. Before beating a hasty retreat back up the stairs, though, she kindly tossed me a bottle of Chloraseptic.

Maybe I should’ve stopped at the drugstore on the way there and purchased one of those face masks. That might’ve put people more at ease, though it surely would’ve made eating dinner a little more challenging.

You know very well that if anyone who was there catches a cold anytime in the next couple weeks, I will surely be blamed. Doesn’t matter if there was a germy exchange when they took the receipt from a sick cashier at Kroger or shook a cootified customer’s hand or a waiter inadvertently sneezed on their Kung Pao chicken before serving it…the resulting cold will be still be my fault.

So now I will be nervous for the next couple weeks and will be holding my breath whenever I ask the seemingly innocuous question, “How are you?”

Vince’s dad was determined to rid me of my cough. Fortunately for me, he stopped just short of duct taping my mouth shut. His first suggestion was eating a banana. He had some sort of scientific reasoning behind it, but I secretly suspected he just bought too many at the grocery store and wanted to use them up before they went bad.

Bananas, you should know, didn’t work on my cough.

His next solution was to hand me a steaming cup of tea with magical herbs. I’m not a tea drinker and never have been, but I gamely drank it down in hopes that it might succeed where an entire bottle of cough syrup had failed.

Nope. I continued to cough miserably.

Finally, Vince and I decided I’d germinated the house sufficiently, so we said our goodbyes. I offered to give hugs and kisses all around but, surprisingly, the predominant response was to hold up their hands in a defensive gesture and say, “No, thanks. We’re good.”

And I’m not sure I was meant to hear this, but as I was on my way out the door, I heard “Get the can of Lysol – hurry!”

Before heading to bed I filled up on mass quantities of over-the-counter drugs and cough medicines, crossed my fingers and settled down to sleep. But sure enough, I awakened myself at 4AM with a major coughing jag. I took sips of water, popped another cough drop and then gave up and went to the bathroom and shut the door and tried to cough myself out.

Eventually, I lay back down in bed…but the coughing immediately started up again. So I sighed, grabbed my permanently attached box of Kleenex, and headed to the guest room. I quietly closed the door and felt my way to the side of the bed in the dark. And, just as I reached out to touch the sheet to pull it back, a hand reached out and grabbed me!

The Kleenex box flew up into the air and I squeaked out a pathetic scream. Then I clutched at my wildly beating heart and tried to quiet my adrenaline-infused body. Vince calmly and reasonably said, “Where did you think I was?”

In a voice several octaves higher than normal, I said, “Oh, I don’t know – crazy guess – but I assumed you were in our bed! (It’s a king-sized bed and we could, theoretically, sleep far enough away from each other to not even realize the other person was in the same bed.)

Apparently, my coughing jag had begun an entire half hour earlier and it hadn’t woken me up, but it sure bothered Vince, so he’d moved to the guest room.

While scaring a person might work on hiccups, it doesn’t work so well on coughs. And if I hadn’t been in the midst of coughing and blowing my nose, the absurdity of the situation would have at least given me a bit of a chuckle.

This morning when I got to work, I learned that my boss was at home sick in bed all weekend with a cold. He never gets sick. And he assumes he caught the cold from his golf game early in the morning on Saturday when it was cold and rainy. I’m totally willing to let him work with that theory. I might be sick, but I’m not stupid!

Meanwhile, I just had a coughing fit that was so bad I couldn’t catch my breath and briefly considered calling in the paramedics. I’m not sure what they could’ve done to help me – pop an extra strength cough drop in my mouth?

Oh well, the good news is that I’m sure this cold will disappear eventually. Hopefully in the next millennium. The bad news? Vince is now complaining about a scratchy throat. Uh oh.

Guess it’ll be his turn to sleep in the guest room. Unless I sneak in there first and give him a scare! (Hmmm…I’m kinda likin’ that idea…)

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