The most annoying thing about colds isn’t the fact that you have to blow your nose at a rate that seems to equal once every 5 minutes until you are basically just surrounded by an ever growing mound of tissue, or the fact that you just start sneezing uncontrollably and with increased frequency, or the fact that your sense of taste is just slowly stripped away from you along with your sense of smell. No, while they are all incredibly annoying they are not the most annoying thing about the common cold.
The most annoying thing about them is the fact that they somehow manage to just deprive you of everything that seems to make you function as you usually do. They manage to convince every cell in your body outside of the sinuses to shut the hell down. It’s slowly at first, you just get a bit sniffly and it gets a bit more difficult to breathe through your nose without the inclusion of grossness making it’s way to the back of your throat. Then you reach a point where you can’t actually make a complete through your nose at all and then you morph into a mouth breather, which is inconvenient but for the most part you adapt pretty quickly and take to attempt to eject the bunged up-ness from your nostrils whenever that gets a bit too much, but you can kid of just keep plodding along without much incident. Then the cold gets clever and starts to really mess with you. It sometimes gives you headaches, which are easy to remedy, but with the headaches comes a whole host of other aches and pains that really have no business being there. They make your body all of a sudden turn against you and then everything just becomes a chore, and that’s strike one.
Strike two is when it starts to feel like there is this unbearable pressure in your nose that just will not go away no matter how much you chug on cold and flu medicine or how may times you steam your sinuses to buggery with all the vicks and albas oil you can get your hands on from when you last had a cold. It seems to get worse through the day and nothing seems to be able to stop it from getting any better. There is only downhill. It makes your voice sound thick and laboured and even though you never truly know what you sound like to other people you know that you don’t sound like yourself. Your voice is deeper, probably scratchier and just all round not right and you don’t seem to be able to do anything to change that. You just witness it get progressively less like you and then the sore throat kicks in, which to be honest you knew was coming but had hoped could be avoided just this once. With the sore throat comes the scratchy cough that it isn’t quite chesty or phlegmy enough to ever truly feel like coughing is satiating something. It’s mainly just pain. A lot of pain. Dry and labouring coughs that do nothing other than cause you to make a lot of noise and leave your voice sounding all the worse for it. A true marker of your illness.
The third and final strike is when it starts taking away your ability to sleep and then everything really starts to fall apart. You start getting really good at counting just how many hours sleep you will get and debating how much is really needed in order to function correctly. And then most of the time you watch that time slowly start to tick away with tired, dry eyes that just will not fall asleep properly because every time you get close to dropping off into some for of unconsciousness your throat gets really scratchy or you need to totally clear out your nose…again or you suddenly stop being able to breathe in properly and your brain decides to send itself into a momentary panic and breathing through your mouth consistently is so alien and frankly annoying when all you want to do is sleep, even if it’s just for an hour, that the thought of it being your only option is almost too much to bear and a part of you finally breaks. Then it all goes to shit and all you really want to do from that point onwards until the worst is finally over is to not have to move, or be expected to be an actual person and also sometimes if it’s really bad for someone to just look after you and do everything for you just so that you can sit there and eat milk chocolate digestives and wallow in an excessive amount of self pity whilst watching This Morning and Judge Rinder before the late afternoon quiz shows starts and you can get lost in them. Strike 3 is sometimes the longest strike of them of all. Or at least because it just seems to allow a sense of exhaustion to just seep into the very marrow of your bones it can feel like that in some way. Sometimes it only lasts a day and then the worse is over and everything can almost go back to normal and everything is okay again. Until the next time, which let’s be real in winter and when you have to get on a train every day twice a day full of strangers full of goodness knows what kind of lurgy is really never going to be all that far off.
I think I have just entered the strike 2 phase with hints of strike 3 already starting to threaten my very existence. It’s coming as a weekend is approaching as well which means I might have to replace my trashy day time TV viewing as I wallow in self pity to all the glitz and glam of Saturday night viewing in the form of Strictly, which although I watch every week and have done for years doesn’t always come with self pity. And then because that can only be on the TV for so long I’m going to have to find another replacement, something light and frothy and binge watchable (damn the fact that I just finished Parks and Rec because that would have been perfect for this) so that I can enter my Monday morning and going back into work and something akin to almost being able to adult and work and all that jazz.
i have a habit of always been sick around this time of year so it is somewhat a routine, but that doesn’t stop me from hoping that in some way it will be different this year and I can make it all the way to actual winter before a cold takes over the very core of my being. This year is not that year…
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