Despite my best efforts to avoid coming down with a cold this year, I came down with a cold.
Watery eyes, runny nose, achy joints, sore throat. You know the drill.
And, no, before we go any further, I'm not trying to solicit your sympathy. One of the things I like to do with this blog is to sew a thread through our common experiences, if for no other reason than to show how much we all really share together. Subliminally, at least.
And so, the other day, I woke up with with a scratchy throat.
A sore throat is usually the first indicator that I'm coming down with something. The first thing I do is go to the kitchen cabinet where we keep all our home remedies.
Ah, there it is. Hall's throat lozenges. Cherry. I plop one in my mouth, knowing full well that it's going to affect everything I taste the rest of the day. Or for the rest of this cold.
Meanwhile, I wrap myself up in a blanket, settle in front of the TV, and wonder where this cold came from: At the high school gym, where I cover basketball games for the paper? At the YMCA, where I'm touching all kinds of equipment that others have touched? The gas station pump? The restaurant? Could be anything, even though I wash my hands constantly. And even though I've had my flu shot, shingles shots, pneumonia shots, and I think I can still see my smallpox vaccine scar on my upper left arm, there is no shot for the common cold.
It's about this time my sore throat morphs into a nagging cough. I go back to the cabinet. Damn, no cough syrup. That means I have to go out into the cold, rainy weather and drive to the pharmacy, where I buy a generic cherry-flavored version of Delsym. Is there anything else I need while I'm out? Nope. I'm good.
Until I start sneezing. Back to the cabinet. Yes, there it is. Aprodine. Aprodine is an over-the-counter remedy that sort of takes the place of Pseudophed, which used to be the only thing that really dried up my congestion before lawmakers required birth certificates, photo ID, proof of signature and armed guards to purchase the stuff. Even the Aprodine requires pharmacist approval before purchase, I think.
Anyway, now I'm popping Aprodine and swigging Delsym. I've got a pile of lotion-treated Kleenex building up on the end table in the TV room because if I got up to throw away each Kleenex after each use, I might as well be on a treadmill. So the pile gets distressingly larger.
Then Kim comes home. She's been gone all day on a pre-planned girls' trip. She knew I was coming down with something and originally she wanted to stay home and see me through it, but I encouraged her to go and be with her friends. She doesn't do this enough. Besides, while I don't get particularly lonely when she's gone, I do appreciate my solitude. There is a difference.
But now she's home. I want to hug her and hold her close because she's been gone all day. "Don't breathe on me," she warns, possibly misinterpreting my watery eyes for a twinkle instead. (Plus, my voice drops an octave when I'm congested. I think I sound sexy. Like maybe Barry White sexy). But we both know better. Suddenly, solitude sucks.
All that was yesterday. I'm feeling a little better today. Today's our grocery shopping day and I might buy some ice cream to soothe the sandpaper in my throat.
Probably cherry vanilla.