That woolly-headed feeling

I hate getting colds. Or the flu. Or whatever it is I get that makes me sneeze, go all emphysemic and calls for boxes of tissues and/or nasal sprays. Whenever there are severe or drastic changes in the weather, for example if it goes up to 40 degrees during the day, then plunges to minus 4 at night, I come down with “It”. This happened a lot to me over 10 years ago when I was living in Spain. It seemed that I would get one cold after another, or a chest infection/bronchitis/flu. Sometimes I would cough so hard it was a miracle my head didn’t fall off! Or that my burning chest didn’t just explode into flames.

Even getting free flu shots at work didn’t help. One year in Australia, aware that I was prone to getting at least one serious bout of “It” each year, I signed up for the free flu jab on offer by my employer. Boy. Big mistake. Now, I can’t be sure if it was the flu jab itself that caused The Great “It” of 2012, but whatever the case, surely that vaccination should have helped prevent or at least alleviate the symptoms.

But no. First it was a throat tickle. Then I woke up one morning with no voice. There were white spots on the back of my throat. The roof of my mouth was covered with painful ulcers. My gums were swollen enough to bleed between my teeth.

It got progressively worse over the next few days. I managed to drag myself off to see a free clinic doctor – another big mistake. He simply told me it was “Strep Throat”, and to take aspirin and get some rest. Hubby was working away that week, neither the Kid nor I had been signed up to his GP yet.

I went off my food. Now, those of you who know me well know that I have an enormous propensity for eating. So when I go off my food, there’s something seriously wrong with me.

For the next few days I just lay in bed with a fever. I just drank water and sometimes made a cereal drink for some sustenance. The poor Kid had to cycle himself to and from school a mile away, and make his own meals.

When hubby returned from work that weekend, he rushed me to his GP. A blood test was ordered; it was a bad throat and chest infection, and the GP wanted to make sure I wasn’t anaemic or my liver function impaired because of the length of time I’d left it before seeking medical help. There was some mention of the possibility of Hepatitis…

That bout of “It” nearly killed me. I was off work for a month. I remember my sore throat started the day before my birthday. I was just on the road to recovery, and weak as a baby, when we signed and settled the purchase of our first home 4 weeks later. It would be more than 3 months before I was literally well enough to get back in the saddle of my bike.

Since then, each year when the seasons change, I’m wary of “It” recurring. But, thankfully the sea air where we live now appears to agree with my constitution (no, we have no Victorian wallpaper laden with arsenic in our house, giving off poisonous fumes). I’ve had a couple of colds, but nothing so bad that I’ve had to take bedrest like last time. I’ve even “powered through” my last cold, inviting disaster by rebelliously refusing to stop my daily swim sessions with the Kid and Shelagh, our amazing running-flying-swimming-ballcatching pit bull.

What I’d say though, is that I hate colds because they affect my brain. They make me slow and woolly-headed, and also forgetful. Last week the “It” of 2014 crept up on me and pounced suddenly. In the last 3 days I’ve gone cycling with the Kid, forgetting that my helmet was still in the bicycle basket and not on my head. Today, I fixed new front and rear lights on our bikes…what should have taken me 5 minutes to do on a normal, healthy day, took me over 30 minutes to figure out. It was like swimming in molasses.

And now…I’ve forgotten what else I wanted to say.

I rest my case.

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