Originally created 03/11/01

Ailments can yield insights



Adversity has ever been considered the state in which a man most easily becomes acquainted with himself.

- Samuel Johnson

When February slunk out of town with its usual lack of monthly achievement, I, for one, was glad to see it go.

That's because I spent the entire month - all 28 days - under the influence of a head cold that would not go away.

I am like most of you in that I get sick a couple of times a year. But, I have never been sick for so long. And this time I have learned a thing or two.

For instance:

Handkerchiefs work - Call me old-fashioned, but I'll take a good, sturdy cloth handkerchief over paper tissues any day.

They're functional, fashionable, and they last. I am still using a supply given to me as a birthday present by my grandmother 35 years ago.

Honk if you love breathing - There is no polite or discreet way to blow your nose, so don't even try.

Excuse yourself and retire to a place of privacy. The back yard is suggested, unless there are any migrating geese in the vicinity.

Coughs are a pain - A couple of nights I rolled out of bed in the wee hours, awakened with spasms of coughing as animated as a bad actor's death scene.

This usually meant I was banished from the bedroom and urged to take up residence in the den, where I sat upright in a chair and watched whatever was on at 2 a.m.

You look terrible - And while you're staying up watching the Weather Channel at 2 a.m., you'll see lots of cold remedy commercials.

That's when it dawns on you that most of the cold sufferers in TV land wear crisply pressed pajamas and sleep in very neat bedrooms bathed in soft, blue light.

By now, you're not only feeling bad, you feel like a slob because your sleeping area is a mess of tissue boxes, assorted bottles and the usual flotsam of over-the-counter cures.

Cold remedies - Speaking of which, when others suggest over-the-counter cold remedies, I act interested, but rarely commit to a purchase.

I have my own theory - every cold product you can buy in a drug store or grocery will work once, maybe twice if you're lucky.

Your germs, however, are clever fellows, and they will come up with a way around it.

Next time, you might as well be eating gumdrops, because that expensive, frequently advertised cold remedy isn't going to work.

Go off and die - "Misery loves company," they say, but company could care less about your misery.

I have noticed that those sniffling and coughing are usually treated the way a reindeer herd will deal with a sick member.

Despite a polite show of sympathy, you'll generally be shunned, tolerated only because any wolfpack in the area will go after you first, giving others a chance to escape.

That's OK. Their day will come. Everyone's does.

That fluttering tissue ripped from its box is a white flag of surrender.

Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 107.