So, I’m Not Invincible? Me vs The Head Cold

I have a confession to make. This is hard for me to admit, but it has to be done; I can no longer perpetuate this false image of myself that you probably hold in your mind. See, I can withstand almost anything without breaking. But as it turns out, I’m not invincible.

I’ve succumbed to the common cold. And I’m miserable.

Pause here for a second if you need to; I know it’s a shock. I’m sorry if I’ve let you down—I’m working as hard as I can to vanquish the thing so you can rightly put me back up on my pedestal. It’s just—I’m not sure if I can tame it! I’ve tried almost everything so far. . .

But Wait! How Did This Happen?

Great question. I think many forces conspired against me, working in harmony to let this insidious evil into my throat and sinuses and lungs. I suppose it started with allergies. They stormed the gates last week and forced Brian into a day of bed rest. I wasn’t feeling so hot then either, but I rallied and evicted the invaders just in time for our camping trip this past weekend.

That should’ve been that, but clearly the assault by the allergies was just the advance party—sent to weaken the defenses.

So there we were then, up near the top of New Hampshire, surrounded by mountains and trees and sky. The fresh autumnal air was so rejuvenating. After our first night sleeping in the clear, clean, cold, we felt so great that we decided to tackle a six hour, ten mile hike.

Listen, I said I can withstand almost anything without breaking, and I meant it. Our hike took us straight up Little Haystack Mountain and into the clouds, across a wind-battered tundra ridge line to the top of Mount Lafayette, and back down again. In all it was 3900 feet of elevation gain with zero switchbacks on the way up or down. Oh, and for the last two hours it rained.

Suffice it to say, that hike was really hard. New Hampshire (and Mount Lafayette) followed the allergies in laying siege to my defenses.

In celebration of our ridiculous feat, we drank a bit too much vodka around the campfire. I mean, let’s be honest: any amount of vodka after a day like that is too much. Still, we were proud of our accomplishments, and I went to bed with just the faintest glimmer of a sniffle.

Finally, the weather further conspired against me. We woke in the morning to torrential rain with no hope of a dry sky in sight. Faced with the reality, we did the only sensible thing. We packed everything up in the middle of the downpour and headed home.


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Revenge is better with a side of bacon. . . 

My glimmer of a sniffle was becoming something more like a blinding glare. By the time we had the car unpacked, it was clear I’d been duped! While I was foolishly fighting off allergies, punishing mountains, and devious weather, the true enemy had infiltrated my fortress undetected—slipped in through a sewage tunnel or something. I knew by the milky green left on the tissue after my first forced exhale that all hope was lost.

The invader was here. My body was no longer my own. I was—sick.

Um, It’s Just A Cold

Just a cold? Listen! There is nothing more miserable than a head cold! There is nothing more demoralizing than being chained to a roll of toilet paper or a box of tissues. I’d rather suffer just about any other affliction. Crippling nausea? Bring it! Uncontrollable um. . . bowely things? I’ll take it. Having to blow my nose and clear my ears every twenty-seven seconds? No! Please, no!

It’s undeniably awful! You can’t smell anything. You can’t taste anything. You can’t take a full breath. And how are you supposed to fight it? Rest and lots of fluids. There are two problems with this.

When you’ve got a head cold, going to sleep is terrifying! First off, you can’t blow your nose while you sleep, so everything just builds up and gets milkier and greener and more evil! Secondly, you have to stay asleep on your side, or all that milky-green death with flow down into your lungs and you’ll end up with a chest cold. I’m a tossy-turny style sleeper, so that latter bit is pretty hard to manage.

And lots of fluids? This just exacerbates the drippy nose problem. The more you drink, the drippier you get, the more often you have to blow, and the more miserable you become.

Clearly this cold remedy advice was developed by sadistic masochists.

So, What Are You Going To Do About It?

Masochists or not, I can’t afford to be sick right now—there’s too much going on. So I’m slugging orange juice, drinking all my meals, and adding copious amounts of hot sauce to everything to further accelerate the nose-draining process.

I think I’ve consumed enough capsaicin in the last twenty-four hours to make a habanero blush.

I’m popping cold medicine every four hours as prescribed by the box, and resting as best I can. There is a slight possibility I’m making some progress. I have to go to work later, so that’ll be the real test.

In the meantime, I’ve got some broth calling my name in a further effort to tame this beast of an infection.

Wish me luck. Hopefully by the next time I write I’ll be back to my normal nearly-invincible self. Thanks for sharing my moment of weakness and not judging (too harshly).

What about your thoughts? When you’re sick do you tough it out or whimper like a little baby (like I do)? What is your favorite cold remedy? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for (sniffle) reading,


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updownflight - October 10, 2017

I feel you’re pain. About 5 days ago I thought my usual autumn allergies were finally starting to act up. I had a nasty headache, upset stomach and some nasal congestion. I took Tylenol Sinus and it only helped a bit. Even some pseudophedrine I took, which I am NOT supposed to take, didn’t help as much as I’d liked. Days passed. The headache went away, but my nose because a flowing river of you know what. I finally had to buy the Kleenex with lotion because my nose is rubbed raw. I’ve sneezed multiple times per day for the last five days. One day I had a little sore throat from post nasal drip. I was very miserable. I was a bit of a baby some of the time. Oh well! Luckily, it’s starting to finally ease. I hope you’re starting to feel better, too.

    Gregory Josephs - October 10, 2017

    Thanks! Unfortunately the best remedy is simply time. . . Ugh. My nose is currently slowing down, so hopefully that’s a good sign. . .

    I’m glad you’re on the mend. Eat or drink something spicy!

A.S. Akkalon - October 10, 2017

My thoughts are with a fellow cold-sufferer. In the past five weeks I’ve spent one week not sick. I have to say, I’m rather bored with it. I vote we outlaw colds.

    Gregory Josephs - October 10, 2017

    Deal! Let’s start by trying to get it through the New Zealand parliament. I’d be happy to try here in the US, but not much gets done in Congress (a good thing right now, actually). Just tell me where to send my letter. . .

Erin - October 10, 2017

Fire cider, vitamin D, honey, and saline spray (for prevention). Nyquil, horseradish, and self-pity (for treatment). Also paper towels so I don’t soak my pillow in snot and drool. But with the first three I hardly get sick any more 🙂 …. Feel better!

    Gregory Josephs - October 10, 2017

    I know! I need to start using fire cider. They sell it at the food coop. 💜

Aimer Boyz - October 10, 2017

Ah, you’re human. Sorry 🙂
Hope you’re feeling better soon.

    Gregory Josephs - October 10, 2017

    Thanks! I’m nearly there I think. I guess being human isn’t so bad. . .

Jean-Paul - October 11, 2017

I take a Zinc supplement EVERY day. I swear by it. Hope you feel better soon.
JP x

    Gregory Josephs - October 11, 2017

    Thanks! I’m officially on the mend!

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