Feeling daunted, but refusing to be miserable

Battling the cold and cough is far too much of a struggle, especially when they linger past the one- or two-week scourge. More than a struggle, it’s an embarrassment trying to suppress a sneeze or a cough because of the perceived threat of contamination to those adjacent to you. When you burst out sneezing or coughing, you can’t help but get the furtive looks, or imagine you’re getting them, like darts thrown your way. Worse, people start walking away from you – or you imagine them walking away when in fact, there could be a perfect excuse for that, like the need to get a glass of water, or go to the restroom, or the conversation’s just plain boring. Even sadder is when folks who swear they’re fond of you turn their stiff back on you and walk away. You feel abandoned, like no one cares about your battle. Then you’re inclined to indulge in a one-person self-pity party. And just sulk away.

Shy of sulking away, for nearly three weeks, I’d been the culprit in the home. I believe I was the cause of some sore throats, some occasional coughs, and certain lightheadedness that turned to fever. To my chagrin, all that I thought I affected got better quickly, and there I was, still with my sniffles and cough.

To my great relief, sympathy poured out for my plight. I nearly begged for it, like a baby. I listened to suggestions on self-made cures and prescriptions from well-meaning folks who might have been secretly wishing I wouldn’t share again what I had. I’d been willing to try Lagundi, leaves boiled for a bitter and hard-to-stomach tea. I’d been willing to try Oregano, seven leaves pressed to extract bitter juice enough for a spoonful shoved into my mouth for a quick swallow. I’d been willing to try guyabano leaves, boiled till the water turns murky brown for a tea drink. I’d been willing to try a spoon of apple cider with a teaspoon of honey mixed in a glass of water, a rancid sour-sweet brew.

I don’t know how my stomach took in all those strange concoctions – but it did. No undesirable side effects at all. Except, I still kept coughing, and I remember those weird, out-of-this-world tastes, even in my sleep. I took no chances and visited the doctor, who checked me and prescribed five days of antibiotics and a decongestant.

After the antibiotics, I still kept coughing. One morning, as I facetimed with my daughter, she opined that I may have the allergies. I doubted it, but I closed my bedroom’s patio door that remained wide open every day to let in the strong and cool breeze from the garden of grown fruit trees, shrubs and flower plants. I took an allergy tablet, and observed myself. The cough sort of quietened down. I took another allergy tablet the next day and the next. Miracle! I hadn’t been hacking away like I did the past weeks.

I love and enjoy the breeze and the wind, but I’m now also wary of their sly effect on me. So, I keep the patio door just slightly ajar. I don’t suggest you take any of the home prescribed concoctions, unless you’re desperate like I was. I don’t suggest you leave your patio door closed, unless for a very good reason (like not wanting a burglar to come in). I do suggest that you take a good rest, some naps, some fruits, and a mind to know what’s best for your cold and cough – doctor prescribed, or otherwise.

Or, try a simple experiment – stay outdoors for a bit – then stay indoors … feel a difference? Perhaps, you’re just afflicted with the irksome allergy, and you don’t really want to admit it.

Linda P. Jacob