Thoughts On Being Sick

The other day I sneezed my head off, and I’d like to thank my wife, Emily, for not only retrieving it but helping me get my head on straight.

It was a challenge. I sneeze so hard my head bounced from the living room into the kitchen, where our dog got his hands–um, mouth–on it, thinking it was a new toy. Emily ran after him and got it back, but now I have tooth marks on my forehead and a chewed up ear. The staples I won’t complain about–we didn’t have thread.

She had to tackle him. It wasn’t pretty.

Okay, it’s possible I’m exaggerating. Slightly. Certainly my sneezes did startle Beowulf several times, and he’d come running to make sure I was okay. Or possibly he came running to see if I’d overturned a plate of food. It was all because we made a foolish mask error, and two days after we did Emily came down with a bad head cold. When I got it a few days later it was worse, of course, because I’m a man.

You may have heard the term “man flu”, but it really was only a cold, and since it wasn’t the coronavirus I don’t have much room to complain. Just the same, Emily and I agreed that this was “just” a cold the way the Federal government does a “little” overspending. We were down for close to a week, much of which I don’t remember because NyQuil is wonderful.

They way I measure my illnesses: I know it’s bad when I take a sick day from work. In my job, if I call in sick somebody else has to work the shift, and I don’t need any new enemies. At the same time, I’ve often lectured coworkers that if they might be contagious they should stay the heck home, and either I was contagious or my wife and I take this sharing thing way too far.

A rare photo of me pre-sneeze. The camera was recovered days later, but the photographer remains missing.

The next levels of illness involve what I do if I stay home. If I can get some writing done, I’m in fairly good shape. If I don’t feel up to writing, then that’s quality reading time. If all I can do is sit in a lump and catch up on TV, it’s not good. In this case, I slept.

If I lose my appetite, I’m on death’s doorstep. I did lose a few pounds over that period, but it’s not a diet I’d recommend.

Meanwhile I really did have some impressive sneezes, although the only damage they did was cracked windows and shattered nerves. The US Geological Survey says the worst of them only registered as a 4.7 in Chicago, which is barely higher than the sound of indicted Illinois governors falling.

Anyway, we got by with the help of chicken noodle soup, vitamin C, and modern pharmaceuticals. Wait. Pharma … p … h … a …

Um, drugs.

NyQuil is coma-inducing manna from Heaven. Did I mention that? On one day I slept for ten hours straight. But I have the same question about it that I have about Benadryl: Does it really do anything about my symptoms? Or does it make me sleep so deeply I just don’t notice them? I don’t remember.

Oh, I almost forgot one other indispensable thing: Kleenex.

The guy who invented Kleenex deserved a Noble Prize in Awesome.

The trick is to position so many boxes around the house that you could step from one to another. We had 2.4 boxes of Kleenex per room on average, with fewer in the basement and one by every chair in the living room. Fourteen trees died for our noses, in just one week. Always have plenty of Kleenex.

And NyQuil. Did I mention it’s awesome?

A recent photo of my upper respiratory system.
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6 thoughts on “Thoughts On Being Sick”

  1. When a sneeze startles Beowulf several times, something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

  2. So, this was a gale force 4 sneeze*?

    * = This is possibly correct Is gale force two words? Is it capitalized? I am glad that you are no longer beside yourself?

    1. Two words, no capitalization … the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had to look it up.

      Anyway, I still am frequently beside myself–just not literally.

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