I am current suffering suffering through (what I hope is) the tail end of a cold – my second of 2015 (though, apparently, this still does not make for a statistically significant rate of infection). Given the timing, I had a number of social engagements whilst the cold was closer to its peak and so did a little research to identify whether I was likely to be infectious – despite my naturally giving nature, I felt sharing my viral load with friends and family was probably de trop.
Reference to Dr Internet (largely due to my iron self-control) did not lead to any escalation of my self-diagnosis, but nor was it particularly definitive as to whether I would be playing the role of Typhoid Mary de nos jours across East Sussex. However, NHS Direct did suggest a number of precautions I could take to reduce the risks for those I would be visiting. Only time (and lawsuits) will tell whether these will have proved successful.
My colds tend to be follow a very standard timetable – from first detection I have a sore throat and catarrh then after 72 hours my nose will run like a tap for 12 hours. I will then start to recover, though initially will feel worse and the cold will then degenerate into a cough. I have yet to find any cold “remedy” that does much good, though anaesthetic throat lozenges help with the sort throat and Night Nurse helps with the disturbed sleep. NHS Direct also gave details of the typical length of an adult cold and the normal symptoms. I tend to have all the standard symptoms and most of the uncommon ones – but this time, I managed to achieve the whole list and some extras!
In terms of the progression of a cold, I tend to follow my father – however, with this cold I also followed both my sister and mother. On Good Friday in particular, my sinuses were clearly massively unhappy – this means that as well as my nose feeling vaguely on fire, my brain felt too big for my head and all(!) of my teeth ached constantly. NHS Direct did rather fail to mention the toothache aspect of the typical cold – but my sister has experienced this, so I’m not the first. For some reason, I also had issues with the movement of my eyes within their orbits – and so it was much less painful to move my head to look at something than more my eyeballs. This is surprisingly hard to remember to do: the eyes do seem to have a mind of their own. In addition, my eyes were horribly bloodshot (I could have been cast, make-up free, as a zombie) and became very photo-sensitive as well: the lighting in railway carriages really needs a dimmer switch. I think this extension of symptoms to the eyes I have from my mother. I’ve even had to give up on the Night Nurse as my body mostly ignores it, then about three hours into the night sweats to an insane degree and I awaken drenched – which apparently happens to my dad when using paracetamol as well. If nothing else, this cold strongly suggests that I am not adopted!
Fortunately, today I am feeling somewhat better – though my overly emotional response to watching the latest re-boot of Thunderbirds may suggest that normal service is still a little ways off (or perhaps it brought a tear – or a flood thereof – to the eyes of many a middle-aged chap).
Anyway, as a result of the severity of this cold (and the completeness of its symptoms) I have been forced to live for four days as conventional wisdom would suggest much of the population lives all the time. Basically, illness has made me into a couch potato – with little or no exercise and far more time spent sitting or lying down than is normal for me. How do people do this? I ache everywhere – far worse than after even the most extreme of gymnastic sessions or even a full day of art gallery viewings – and that’s after only four days. Does one eventually adapt to being a settee tuber? Fortunately, today matters have improved and I have travelled a modest distance on my bike and had a very gentle session at the gym – which did cause my body to receive olfactory hallucinations, but the aches are diminishing. On the plus side, whilst my nose is now imagining smells, hanging upside from the bar has done wonders for clearing my sinuses. Well, when was the last time you saw a bat or sloth with the sniffles?