Interrupting Throat Trickle Painful, Annoying
– February 17, 2014 8:00 am
Mom on the Run: The Next Chapter
The tickle starts low, and way in the back of my throat. I try to ignore it. I swallow, once, twice, hoping to soothe it, sweep it away. I clear my throat, gently, carefully. But the tickle grows, deepens, intensifies, and bang! The cough erupts like a volcano.
Oh, my throat hurts. My throat hurts and my chest is heavy and my head feels like it’s full of cotton balls. I haven’t been able to hear clearly for the better part of a week and though I am exhausted, wiped out, I can’t sleep. That throat tickle interrupts even a fully medicated slumber.
It’s been a while since I had a head cold. Months. Maybe even a full year. After more than two decades of daycare and schools, I no longer have children bringing home every virus that travels through the Manassas area. I eat better, I sleep better, I don’t frequent places full of sickly youngsters. And so I generally remain healthy.
Until Super Bowl Sunday when my nose wouldn’t stop running and my ears started to clog. I stayed up late, watching the end of the game, even though I knew I needed sleep, and I slugged a cupful of cherry-flavored NyQuil before bedtime. I installed boxes of tissues everywhere – bedside table, coffee table, dining room table – and picked up a fresh, full bottle of nasal spray. I relied on DayQuil for Monday and Tuesday, supplemented with NyQuil at night, but then I decided I was better, and the cold wasn’t affecting my nose so much and the medication wasn’t ideally suited for this virus anyway. So I stopped, relied on tissues and orange juice, and waited. I read once that the average head cold lasts seven to 10 days. At that rate, I only had a few days to go. May as well power through.
But this throat tickle … it is unpredictable and powerful. It interrupts meals and work and sleep. It has gone on for days and days. I’m not used to having sore throats, and throat tickles, and this is painful and annoying. So I’m really happy when I discover in a moment of desperation that Hall’s cough drops work, and I’m delighted to discover that each individually wrapped little lozenge comes with five or six “Pep Talks”!
I’m cleaning my bedside in the morning, picking up the tissues and lozenge wrappings strewn in the middle of the night, and I take a moment to sit on the bed, unscrunch the wrappers, and read the Pep Talks I missed in the dark. “Seize the day,” says the first one, smack in the middle of the paper. “The show must go on. Or work,” is in the bottom left corner. “Impress yourself today,” advises the upper-right hand corner. “Nothing you can’t handle,” reads the lower right. And, finally, in the upper left-hand corner, “Fire up those engines!”
These things crack me up, and have been for days. My first bag of lozenges was found in the cabinet at work, fairly old though still unexpired, and obviously left there after the last cold, whenever that was. That bag was lemon and honey flavored, and did not have wrappers bearing motivational messages. When they ran out I bought a bag of cherry lozenges, just for variety, and was several lozenges in before I opened my bleary eyes enough to notice the tiny print on the white paper wrappers. And now, really, with the way my head and chest feels, they are the only fun to be had around here.
Ahh! The feeling is familiar. The tickle, low and insistent, stabbing little pangs. COUGH! My lungs hurt as the air explodes out. I sit and recover for just a minute, hand on my chest, eyes watering. Then I get up, cross the room, aiming for the magic bag of lozenges. I reach in, grab randomly, pull one out. I untwist the ends, pop the lozenge in, start to suck, and, eyes closed, gratefully feel the numbness begin to spread down my throat. Finally I open my eyes, and bring the wrapper up: “You can do it and you know it.” “Put your game face on.” “Seize the day.” “Let’s hear your battle cry.” And, most meaningfully this time, “Get through it.”
Yeah. It’s just a cold. Get through it. I can do it! Ugh.