Worst Cold Ever

There is much illness-related talk ahead. If that makes you squeamish, you probably don’t want to keep reading. (I’m not overly descriptive about it, or anything, I just list ALL of the symptoms.)

It seems that getting married has opened me to a whole new world of first-hand medical knowledge. First, it was the UTI. Easy fix, but also easy to forget the preventative measures. I’ve now had two in as many years. Ironically, no pain. The first one was several months before we realized that something was wrong and that I should see a doctor. (If your urine smells funny for more than one or two trips to the bathroom, get it checked.) Then, I got Pink Eye. Yes, for the first time. No, I did not pick it up from small children. We still don’t know where it came from. I probably stuck my finger in my eye. I’m hyper-sensitive to things getting in my eyes, so I do this frequently to clear away gound, eyelashes, etc. My husband was shocked to discover that I had never had Pink Eye before. Now, it’s just a cold. But it’s the worst cold I’ve ever had in my life. And I am not exaggerating in the least.

I’ve always had a really strong immune system, thanks to growing up with cats and frequently playing outside. I also had a habit of picking interesting bits of garbage out of the gutters as I walked to and from school or friends’ houses. And I shared a room with two little brothers all growing up. So dirt and germs are nothing new to me. When I did manage to get sick, it was either so mild that I couldn’t even stay home from school, or it would only last a day or two and then I would be fine. The worst it ever got was when I got food poisoning on a date, and that only lasted two or three days, including post-illness recovery. (I was very low on electrolytes after a day of no food or water.)

It is now Day 8. Eight days of nasal congestion. Day one, I knew I had a cold. A little runny nose, nothing unusual. I was glad that it was on my day off. That night, I woke up at 2:30am, just after my husband got home from work, ran up the stairs to the bathroom, and puked my guts out. My wonderful husband had followed me upstairs to see what was wrong, and held my hair back for me. I promptly texted one of my coworkers to ask him to cover for me the next morning. Luckily, he hadn’t gone to bed yet, so I could rest easy knowing that I didn’t have to open the store while sick. And I did sleep great. When I woke up, I thought I’d be better by the end of the day. Nope! I had malaise ALL day. (Malaise is that achy feeling you get all over your body when you’re sick.) I barely ate, due to having tossed my cookies the night before. Still, I figured it was just a bad cold. Day 4, I even went to work! I wore a sick mask, and everything. :) It was great! I still had a stuffy nose and a little bit of a cough, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle. I’d had much worse, and I was sure that I was on the mend and would be fine by tomorrow. After work, my husband and I went to our friends’ house to pull some of their weeds. (I like pulling weeds, for some strange reason, and they need all the help they can get with their yard.) We got a huge section cleared out, and it was great!
That night, I did not sleep well. I felt sluggish and my forehead ached. As I drifted in and out of consciousness, I recall sweating under the comforter far more than was normal, especially with how cold it still was at night. At one point, I slipped my hands between my thighs(because for some reason, I do that when I’m in the fetal position.), and I noticed that my legs were soaking wet. I remember thinking that I must be sweating out a fever. In the morning, I felt okay. Still sick, but okay. It was already the worst cold of my life, simply by lasting longer than any other illness I’ve ever had. Surely, this had to be the last day. It was Saturday, and the store was running the PPTQ(a big Magic the Gathering tournament). I wore my sick mask and my pajamas and showed up on time, and I felt like crap. Not even an hour into work, I started feeling feverish again. I talked to my boss, who was also there, and he said that if I needed to go home after the rush, I could. So I did. I went home, ate soup, drank Sprite, and prayed that I would get better. And good timing, too. I had diarrhea not long after getting home. I spent a lot of time sleeping, and even more time wishing I could do more than lie in bed and try to sleep. My temperature was 99-something. Not technically a fever anymore, but my normal temperature is a little below the average, so it was still pretty high for me. After a nap, I called my mom and told her how I was doing. It took an insane amount of effort to speak in anything that wasn’t a whisper, and I hadn’t even been coughing much! I lost my voice for a week back in November, but that was due to a couple days of violent coughing. This was just ridiculous.

Sunday came, and I sent my husband to church without me. We’re in the Nursery, so I was not about to go to church and get everyone’s kids sick. So I slept, thinking that I would at least get to go play D&D with my friends. Nope. My temperature fluctuated between 97.6(my normal) and 99.6 all day. And my voice was not up to consistent sound, which is kind of essential when you’re the DM. But I was coughing up phlegm, and it was brightly colored, so I was sure that wellness was just around the corner!
Day 6 came, and my nose was literally a faucet of snot. No, I do not mean figuratively. I mean that there was a constant flow from my nose to whatever paper or fabric I held up to it to try to stem said flow. I soaked half a pillow in the early hours of the morning. It was disgusting. And my poor husband, who had woken up when I chucked the pillow towards our hamper, didn’t remember why it was on the floor the next day. While amusing, I was still not terribly coherent, so trying to clarify took far too much effort on my part and some excellent guessing on my husband’s part.

At this point, I had taken generic sudafed, actual mucinex, and many much ibuprofen. I had done everything I knew how to do for a cold. And on Day 6, we went to the doctor. Not because the cold was lasting so long. No, that was still not too big of a deal. It was annoying, more than anything else, and I was certain that I was about to be well again in a day or two. We went to the doctor because my ear was so blocked up with congestion that I could barely hear. I’d had my first ever earache the day before. (Yes, ever. I have no recollection of ever having earaches as a child, and I remember being 3.) My husband was really concerned about my ears, and was afraid I had somehow managed to perforate my eardrum, or something. So we got it checked out, me constantly holding a tissue to my nose. The doctor was wonderful. Very understanding and to-the-point. We told her what all had been going on, and she said “Yeah, you’ve definitely got a cold.” She checked my ears, mouth and nose, and informed us that my blocked ear was just full of fluid, and would be perfectly fine once it drained, which it would do naturally when my sinuses were clear. The other ear, which had given me practically no trouble up to this point, had the beginnings of an ear infection. The first ear infection in my life. That one took me by surprise. Nothing else had really surprised me much up to this point, including the fact that I had woken up that morning with my back molars hurting due to the pressure in my sinuses. But an ear infection in the ear that had been behaving? Did not expect that.
And that’s not all! My throat and tonsils were totally fine, but my nose was not. On the same side that was so plugged up with fluid that I can’t hear, the doctor found signs of a sinus infection. I had suspected as much the night before, when I was looking at how ridiculous this cold had been so far, and now my suspicions had been confirmed. My cold gave me two out of three possible bacterial infections! The third one, the one I DON’T have, is pneumonia. My chest and lungs are totally fine, ironically. All coughing is due to swollen glands/nodes in my throat and my nose trying to drain down my throat as I breathe. (Pneumonia would have scared me, actually. My grandmother died from pneumonia, thanks to malpractice on the part of someone at the hospital.) So “yay!” for not being pneumonia!
As for the rest, I’m on an anti-bacterial pill. It’s gross and huge, but I can break it in two, and it’s only for ten days, so that’s not too bad. I’m also still taking the generic sudafed decongestant. And ibuprofen when I hurt.

 

Yesterday was Day 7, making it a full week since my cold began. And I was coughing up a lung. And still occasionally feverish. I went to work, but I left early. And just in time, too, since my body was not done tormenting me. I got home in time to run to the bathroom with diarrhea. And then I was fine, aside from the coughing, the runny nose, and the plugged up ear.

And now, it is Day 8. And far too early. See, I tried to sleep early, to recover faster. My body would have none of it. It decided I had been sleeping far too much already. “But I spent all of yesterday folding laundry!” I protested. “I won’t cough as much if I’m asleep!” But my body would not be reasoned with. So I tried staying up. It worked until a little after midnight, when my regular medication kicked in. I was relieved to be falling asleep. But it would not last. No, I awoke at FIVE IN THE FRIKKIN’ MORNING. Which some of you might not think is too bad. But my husband works a graveyard shift. We are Night people. Five AM is so early that my husband has usually not gone to bed yet. Such was the case this morning. I woke up before my husband went to sleep. AND I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO GO BACK TO SLEEP SINCE. Every time I tried to go back to sleep, my throat itched and itched until I fell into a violent coughing fit, in spite of cough drops. It felt like I was going to cough up my right tonsil, no joke. So I gave up on sleep and have meandered here to make an update of my life and a record of this cold. And to this cold, I say “screw you.”

On the plus side, I am FINALLY on the mend. And I am super awake, so I will be able to get lots of things done today, with only a cough, a slightly runny nose, and a plugged ear. And since I can’t sleep, I get to watch my husband sleep. <3 He’s adorable and snuggly when he’s asleep. <3 Husbands are the best.

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