life in and around NYC is insane

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The misery of the common cold

Last week in the hospital I heard a patient in another room coughing so hard I would have sworn he or she was coughing up a lung.  I thought "I hope I don't catch something!"

Sure enough . . .I have a cold.  A lousy, miserable cold. 

Now, when I am seriously ill, I am so busy fighting whatever it is that I forget to be miserable.  A life-threatening illness?  A condition requiring surgery?  I put on a positive attitude, bond with my caregivers and do battle with whatever it is that's ailing me.

But a cold is different.  Everyone gets colds, and we all suffer through them, so no one is inclined to offer much more than a Kleenex and token sympathy.

When I get a cold, my ears become my vulnerability.

About 8 years ago I had a spring cold that blossomed into sinusitis.  I was so congested that I felt like my head was wrapped in cotton.  Still, I muddled through, living on tea and Sudafed, until I realized I was no longer able to hear anything with my right ear.  That's when I finally realized I needed a doctor.

Diagnosis: bilateral otitis media.  An ear infection, involving both ears.

I'd never really been bothered by ear infections when I was a kid.  But here I was, a grown woman in my 40's, with an ear infection.

It was pure misery.

And now, every time I have any sort of upper respiratory tract ailment . . .those nasty viruses just love to set up residence in my ears.

So forgive me while I whine . . .but my ears hurt.

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