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.