The Cold Experience

There was a time when I would get sick, take the recommended dosage of Dayquil/Nyquil, eat a really dumb sandwich, and function well enough soon after. When you look at the universal cold medicines of the US, which usually are supposed to treat 9001 symptoms, it made sense to use them as when I’d get sick it would always seem to be some combination of things they covered.

Colds just aren’t colds for me anymore. Now something comes at me suddenly, hits me like a truck, and then combos into some other symptom. When you feel your body go from not-fever to fever over the course of two minutes your first though is “oh well I guess maybe I’m dying” and reach for some ibuprofen hoping to stave off the reaper one more night. It’s not over yet, though. Oh, no.

Each day the wheel spins, and as yesterday’s symptom fades we get to see what today’s episode’s sudden onset villain is going to be. This repeats for several days, becoming a spiral of self diagnosis and medicinal desperation. Going to a doctor for this seems silly, as the inconsistent symptoms are consistent with pretty much every damn thing.

This gets annoying with work, where I might go home with a stomach ache and then get messages like “so how’s your stomach?” I’m really bad at lying, but trying to explain my progressions of disease sound like fantasy. “Well, that’s fine now, but now I’ve got a <SPIN THE WHEEL>.” While true, it doesn’t make for a great narrative.

So I guess this is just how it is for me now.

My Typical First Hurdle and the Power of Spite

I’ve noticed something that consistently happens to me whenever I set out to tackle one of these sorts of life project things. I get sick. I get sick almost immediately. Every time.

“I’m finally going to try and run a mile. Oh, but I guess I caught a cold instead.”

“Maybe I’ll try to run a 5k this year, but first, maybe I’ll try some gastroenteritis.”

“This year I’m going to to consolidate all my projects and ideas and things I want to get done and start actually finishing them. Oh, let’s have a nice bout with influenza first.”

This is not something I knowingly pursue, and in fact I’m unsure how I would be trying to do this every time. The consistency of it is enough to make me angry at the universe. So here I lay, trying to keep my body temperature feeling consistent and slugging down Aquarius Zero and Ibuprofen (which I can at least enjoy pronouncing as “ibupurofen”) and trying not to breathe on anyone.

What I’ve learned from the universe seeming to inflict me with varying intensities of temporary disease over the years is that it’s very easy to stumble on that first hurdle and let yourself get set back for days, weeks, even years. So each stumbling is a choice. Let yourself lose that fire you had before something comes along to take the wind out of your sails, or come out of it with a renewed strength to spite the fates. Spite, I find, is one of my core motivators.

I eventually did run that mile for the first time years ago. I ran that 5k later and lost 40 pounds in the process (I gained 20 back, but hey, I still call that a success.) This is where I say “screw you, universe. I’ve got things to get done.”

Just as soon as all my muscles stop aching and I stop hearing what I presume is the sound of blood moving through my veins.