A couple weeks ago I was bragging that I haven’t had a cold in nearly six years.
In retrospect, I probably should have kept my mouth shut.
The problem began when I took part in a craft fair. First of all, the week before the fair, I’d slept a total of about 10 hours because I was so busy working on crafts, I didn’t look at the clock until I saw the sun rising. I also skipped a few meals because I didn’t want to set my crafts down during crucial gluing or painting stages.
So by the time the craft fair arrived, I already was feeling pretty zombie-ish.
Part of my crafts display included a tray of magnets on which I’d written witty sayings, so the customers tended to spend a lot of time at my table...reading. Unfortunately, many of these customers were making sounds similar to those of geese migrating. One man even honked all over my magnets while he was reading them. Right then, I knew I was in trouble.
Still, three days later, when I woke up with a sore throat, I attributed it to the dryness in the house. Orange juice, I figured, would quench my thirst and make the sore throat go away.
One sip of orange juice and I felt is if I’d just poured battery acid on an open wound in my throat.
But I wasn’t about to admit I was coming down with a cold, especially not to my husband. The minute his immune system hears the word “cold” or “flu,” it throws down the white flag and retreats and hides, leaving the germs to run rampant and hold a party in his body. In other words, the man catches everything.
That night when I went to bed, my body was so cold, I honestly thought I’d passed away and hadn’t realized it yet. Pretty soon, my teeth were chattering like castanets.
“Something wrong?” my husband, who, until I’d crawled into bed, had been snoring with such force, the bedroom curtains were flapping, asked me.
“I’m fine,” I said, gritting my chattering teeth. “I went out to put some sunflower seeds in the bird feeder before I came to bed and I’m just a little cold now.”
Within seconds he was snoring again, so I was free to shiver until the bed felt like one of those hotel beds where you insert a quarter into a slot on the headboard and the mattress vibrates.
That’s when another symptom decided to rear its ugly head. My neck and the entire right side of my face started to pound. I felt as if Ricky Ricardo and his bongo drums were performing a “Babalu” solo inside my skull.
The next morning, I awoke in a fetal position with only my nose sticking out from under the covers. During the night I’d apparently pulled all of the blankets up around my head, like a hood, and then wrapped them around the bottom half of my face. I flung them off and realized I was soaked with perspiration. Even worse, I ached all over.
There was no more denying it. I was sick.
Five hours and 257 tissues later, I no longer was able to conceal my illness from my husband. My Rudolph-like nose and cries of, “Shoot me now and put me out of my misery!” may have tipped him off.
“Um...you’re not going to give me your cold, are you?” he, alias Mr. Sympathetic, asked.
To be honest, I was surprised he wasn’t holding up a cross and vial of holy water and backing away from me.
“No, I don’t plan on giving it to you,” I said. “In fact, I really hope you don’t catch it. In case you haven’t noticed, you’re the world’s worst patient!”
To my surprise, he didn’t deny it. “Yeah, I know. I mean, if I were you, I’d be in bed right now, whining about updating my will.”
As I write this, I am wrapped in a blanket and curled up on the sofa. I have just downed my ninth cup of hot tea and have blown my nose so many times, it looks like a raw meatball. When I answered the phone a few minutes ago, the telemarketer said, “Hello, Sir, may I have a minute of your time?”
I’m craving about a gallon of hot chicken soup, but have no chicken to make it with. There’s not even a can of soup in the cupboard. I’d send my husband to get some groceries, but he hasn’t set foot in a supermarket (other than to use the restroom) in more than 30 years and can’t tell the difference between 2-percent milk and heavy cream, or lettuce and cabbage. In fact, if I sent my dogs to the store to shop for me, they’d probably come home with more correct items on my list than he would.
But I won’t complain. I figure I have at least two things to be grateful about: I’m losing a few pounds...and my husband (so far) hasn’t caught my cold.