Friday, January 29, 2010

Cough, Cough, Hack, Hack - Gee, I Want My Wellness Back!

WARNING! If you are in the middle of consuming anything edible and wish to continue doing so, read this post later rather than right now.

Okay, just remember, you chose to keep reading. Don't try to say that I didn't warn you!

Ever since Wednesday's PT, I have been coughing like a chain smoker. At first I thought it was just from running, but soon my coughs developed that unpleasant aftertaste that usually indicates something equally unpleasant developing in the throat. Yesterday, I entertained myself by trying to figure out what shapes the white splotches on my throat resembled (you know, like normal people do with clouds). Today, I'm hacking up green and yellow globs, coughing worse than a chain smoker, and starting to sound a bit like Bette Davis again. My throaty laugh might be considered sexy if it weren't followed each time by yet another spasm of rib-shaking coughs. My nose is leaking more prodigiously than an infant child, and my chest feels like there's an obese Clydesdale standing on it. My sinuses are like overinflated balloons. This does not bode well for my weekend.

I have been trying to write my latest paper, but it gets a bit tedious having to clean my computer screen after each coughing or sneezing fit (yuck). Why do illnesses always have to include so much flying liquid (or, in some cases, semi-solids)? I actually considered tying a bandana around my lower face to catch it all, but then realized that would mean that I would have to breathe through all that nastiness. I'm surprised that no entrepreneurs have tried to figure out how to power a car with all this nasty gunk; sick people could make a fortune off it and use the money to pay their medical expenses, thereby eliminating the need for insurance and solving the healthcare crisis. Yes, being sick certainly does put some interesting thoughts into my head . . .

But wait, I'm not sick. After all, that's what I've been saying since Wednesday. I'm not sick, I can't be sick, there is no time to be sick, thus, I refuse to be sick. Funny, you'd think denial would work. And I really have been desperately trying to treat my symptoms with denial. Denial is cheap, readily available, and comes in much better flavors than cough syrup. Unfortunately, I seem to have caught a denial-resistant strain of this whatever-it-is. Moreover, this whatever-it-is seems to thrive on heavy workloads: the more I read, write, or try to work out, the worse I feel. Bed beckons welcomingly, but instead I keep ingesting more denial, futilely hoping that this illness will get the message and go infect someone more deserving, like a terrorist or a politician.

On the bright side, my area has a snowstorm predicted for this weekend. Virginians, like most southerners, are mortally terrified of snowflakes. With luck, the snowstorm will cancel class for Monday, and I'll get extra time for all this reading, and a one-day reprieve on my latest paper. Maybe I could even try that thing where you place your body in a relaxed position on a bed and close your eyes . . . sleeping, I think they call it. I think I remember doing that before I resumed grad school. Knowing my luck, however, I can't count on the snow helping me out. Snow is a duplicitous creature; it promises to come when you need it, then holds off and doesn't pay a visit until you really don't want it.

Well, time to get back to reading about Napoleon. I've been spending so much time with him lately that we're developing quite a relationship. Already he's proven a more engaging and supportive companion than my last boyfriend (yes, I have demonstrated very poor taste in men in the past). I wonder if he knows of any good treatments for colds . . . well, considering he tried to invade Russia in the wintertime with hardly any supplies, I guess Napoleon is not the man to ask for health advice.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"