Total (Immune) System Failure

I have come to the conclusion that my body is a breeding ground for the common cold.

Somehow, I managed to avoid the gazillion nasty flu bugs that have been circulating this winter, only to be knocked flat on my butt by a pesky little (ha!) cold that came on Saturday out of the blue.

I consider myself a relatively healthy person.  I exercise regularly (okay fine – regularly enough), I don’t smoke, and I don’t eat fast food.  I take a multi-vitamin every single day and I wear sunscreen.  I don’t even get sick very often.  TMI alert, but I have not thrown up in nearly 11 years, and I think that is pretty good track record.  My body protects me relatively well – until it meets a cold virus.

I envision the journey of a cold virus into my body to be something akin to going on a vacation to a five star resort, complete with free spa passes and complimentary room service.  The cold germs enter my system, and are immediately taken to meet and greet with my white blood cells.  “Wow,” my white blood cells must say, “You are so glamorous and wonderful.  We bow down to you, Mr. Germ!  Now, let’s show you where all our secret hiding spots for a vacationing germ to hide from the paparazzi are.”

You may think I exaggerate, but my husband will assure you that I do not.  The common cold takes a vacation in my body 2-3 times a year, on average.  The problem is, a cold that lasts three days with a normal person lasts three weeks with me.  Normal people go to work and go about their daily lives with colds.  I, however, spent my first full weekend without plans in who-knows-how-long laid up on my couch, running a fever and hacking up a lung.  I was too tired and in too much pain to read or even watch TV.  Do you know how BORING that is?  And really, I actually did have big plans for my Weekend of Nothing prior to the Supergerm.

Nathan was fantastic and took excellent care of me.  Which was good, because I complain a lot when I am sick.  I am an incredibly big baby when I don’t feel well.  He thought a hot toddy would help Sunday afternoon.  I had never had one before, but I was willing to try anything.  It did help, in as much that it soothed my throat and quieted my cough enough to knock me out for a solid few hours.  But then I woke up.  I slept so much Sunday that I could not sleep Sunday night, outside of some delirious feverish sleep.  This is one of those weeks where I could not miss work, so Nathan woke me up for work Monday morning. 

He went to make me coffee while I attempted to wake up, and when he came back upstairs, my feverish self was singing the “This Little Piggy Went To Market” song to my fingers, and informed him that I found it somewhat disturbing and slightly carnivorous that a pig would eat roast beef (this after I realized that the third pig has roast beef – at first I was singing that the pig had root beer).  I think he thought I had lost my mind. 

Somehow, I managed to get dressed for work, which was a bit of a miracle in itself (I made up another song to help me get dressed, which involved singing, “My shoes are on my feet,” over and over.  It would appear that running a fever makes me a little loopy.)  An even bigger miracle was that I managed to drive an hour to work and make it there in one piece.  Once at work, a thermometer verified that I was indeed running a fever, and some Tylenol managed to bring my temperature and my brain back down to earth.

Until I got home that night.  At which point I informed Nathan that I thought my head was like planet Earth.  He just looked at me (probably wondering where this was going).  I elaborated.  “With Earth, you drill to the center and you find a core of lava. With my head, you drill to the center and I bet you would find a core of mucus.”

My husband’s answer?  “Don’t you think they might find your brain?”  Pffft.  I drove a half an hour on the freeway in fourth gear that morning before I even noticed.  I think we all know the answer to THAT question.

It is now Tuesday, and thankfully my fever and crazy delirious comments seem to have gone away (Ha! Mostly.), but the hacking cough and suffocating congestion remain.  I am really hoping the vacationing germs suffer some sort of sunburn and have to go home early, although that seems highly unlikely considering it snowed here today.  Perhaps the pool at the resort will break and they will have to seek shelter elsewhere.  Because I have now developed a large painful lump on my jawline, which is either an angry lymph node working double time, or the beginning of the biggest underground zit in the history of mankind.  And either of those options (are you listening, slacker immune system)?  Are just not cool.

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