I thought I had made it.
I dutifully endured the slight pin prick and the resulting sore arm of my annual flu shot way back in early October. I don’t leave autumn without it.
I drink a glass of orange juice every morning, stocking up on vitamin C. I dutifully include a slice of lime in every Corona I indulge—more vitamin C.
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I wrap up when I venture into the cold, which I do only when absolutely necessary. I don’t like cold weather, which I may have mentioned before. I obsessively wash my hands with anti-bacterial soap. I’m not a germophobe, but I am pretty conscientious about staying as germ-free as possible.
I eat my vegetables.
So why did I wake up this morning with a scratchy throat, queasiness and a bit of tightness under my eyes that typically mean my sinuses are about to cause me pain? I’m afraid I detect a familiar pattern. Scratchy throat, a little queasiness in my stomach, a touch of tightness under the eyes—these are endurable annoyances but nothing to prevent me from my usual routine. But it’s the follow-up stuff I’m already dreading.
The scratchy throat, in a day or two, will deteriorate into a raw gullet of constant pain; the mere act of swallowing will bring tears to my eyes. The bit of discomfort under my eyes will begin to feel like ice picks stabbing into my head. My nose will stop up. My chest will become congested; I’ll start to cough and that will just make my head hurt worse.
Or maybe I’ll skip all that and just begin a miraculous recovery later today—as I drive toward Norman, Okla., for a meeting I try never to miss. That’s my plan.
I blame Pat for this. She’s gone through all the listed symptoms for the last week. I should have left town, but I really did mean that “sickness and health” pledge so I hung around. Pat blames our son who seems to be patient zero in this mini epidemic. His symptoms were the same as Pat’s, so I’m not all that hopeful that I’ll escape it. But I’m about to load up on a handful of over-the-counter cures and hope for the best.
I was so close. I made it through that early cold spell back in December, the one with the nasty ice storm. I survived the Beltwide Cotton Conferences. I’ve contracted an upper respiratory infection from shaking hands with some of my good cotton buddies on more than a few occasions. It usually hits me on the way out of the hotel and is in full control of my head by the time I get home. Not this year. I escaped healthy.
I got through the craziness of January and February—three days of freezing temperatures followed by three days of spring-like weather, a recipe for catching cold. I’m not expecting this to turn into a case of influenza, but I’ll watch it. I expect a bad cold to persist into sometime next week.
But maybe not. I am a hopeful person. I believe in the healing power of optimism, so I think I’ll just reject the notion that I’m in for a week of misery. I’ll let you know.