I came down with a cold last week. Or, should I say, I got clobbered by a Monster Cold that started skulking around on Wednesday, and made its full body assault over the weekend.
I went so far as to reach for the cold medicine. There were three different kinds of Thera-flu in my cabinet. Did I have a cold and flu, or just a cold? Was I ready for Maximum Strength? While I puzzled, the Cold turned up the bass in my head, turning a dull cottony ache into a pulsing, piercing throb.
Through the feverish haze, I remembered to check the expiration date. Every single package had expired in 2004. 2004! I've had a 4-year run without a Really Bad Cold, and this one was about to make up for lost time. The Tylenol Extra Strength was good till 2010, so I took two of those, tossed the Thera-flus and went to bed.
I have a bad habit of pretending like I’m not sick. Just power through it and it will go away. But there is a point where you have to concede defeat. Give into it, fully. You win, Cold, I’m going to bed, I’m not going outside, I’m canceling everything I was supposed to do, I will spend all day between the bed, the couch, and the kitchen table. I will forget all the things I was going to do today, and tomorrow, as long as it takes. Even though it’s almost Christmas, and my list included things like, Write Christmas Cards, Buy Christmas Tree, and Clean out the Guest Room before your Guest Arrives.
You win, Cold, I surrender.
The Cold was happy. It asserted its victory by keeping me in bed for another day. I was a pitiful rag in the mouth of the dog, tossed around by coughing fits, flung heartlessly back to the couch, sentenced to a rerun of The Charm School.
The next day, I checked my arsenal of cold-fighting weapons. Tea, check. Garlic, check. Toast, check. Orange juice, Vitamin C, Honey, check, check check. Advantage, Me.
No lemons, no cold-fighting medicine to speak of, no brandy. Serious advantage, Cold.
If it had been a different day, or a different cold, I would have walked to the store to make it more of a fair fight. But it snowed here over the weekend, the roads are wicked icy and we’re breaking records for how cold it is. So I stayed tucked in. The Cold snickered.
What the Cold didn’t know is that I have allies in the fight.
On Sunday my friend Kathy came over with lemons, cinnamon sticks, Daquil, Nyquil and a Christmas tree.
Not just any Christmas tree, the perfect Christmas tree, a 4-ft noble fir that fits on the table in the corner like it was born to be there.
She put on the lights (3 strands!) while I put a presto-log in the fireplace, and then she decorated the whole tree while I sat on the couch sipping tea, occasionally croaking an opinion. The Best. Christmas. Present. Ever.
The Cold and I have called a truce. I’m still on the couch, but I get to look at the tree. I’m having a good couple of hours, but I’m not going to say that out loud. I know who calls the shots.