Treat and retreat

Saturday February 16, 2013

In December of 2011 I got the flu. I didn’t feel better until sometime near the end of February. I figured that’s the price you pay for not getting a flu shot. I vowed that 2012/2013 would be different, and made certain that I got a flu shot as soon as the new vaccine came out. Sure enough, in early September I got my flu shot and did not think about it again ...until late December. Just like last year, I came down with something, although this time around it didn’t knock me down, but it sure slowed me down. The flu shot must have worked because they say that you may get sick but it won’t be as severe. December proved that out.

In January I got it again, got over it , and got it again. Now we are in February and I think I’m on my fifth go round with this cold/flu thing. Not as severe as last year, but it has cost me a couple of days and is just wearing me down. So far I have spent two weekends in February taking it easy, trying to get over this thing. On Monday the 4th I went to the doctor’s. His verdict? "It’s viral, on top of all the allergic stuff you are already dealing with." He prescribed a nasal spray, and it helped for two days. I got into a moving project, and that really riled up some dust, which I am allergic to, and I was right back where I started by Thursday afternoon. So I get it ... viral on top of allergies.

I’m allergic to animal dander and dust. We live with two cats. I’ve vowed not to get rid of the cats. One is very old and frail and I’d like to ensure that her life is stress free until the end, so no cats are going anywhere for the rest of their lives. Call it stubborn foolishness, but we committed to care for those cats for their entire lives, and we’re going to do it. Therefore, I’m going to have underlying issues with allergies for a good long time to come.

As far as this latest cold is concerned, I’ve tried zinc and vitamin E, lots of vitamin C, echinacea, all of that on top of the allergy meds, and so far this winter nothing has any kind of sustained positive effects on the cold cycle. I’m sure that part of this is just the simple fact that its winter. Winter was fun when I was a kid, but now it is just a long, dark, cold inconvenience. Getting older doesn’t really help either. Yet I consider myself very fortunate when it comes to getting sick in winter. I’ve recently come off a 10 year stretch where I’ve hardly ever gotten sick. Sure. I’d suffer the occasional minor cold, but major cold/flu illnesses? Didn’t have any. That’s a nice run.

When you get into February and you aren’t feeling well, it makes the winter drag on like a never ending depressive dark cloud following you everywhere you go. For me, it takes a toll to the point where I just want to jump a plane for a tropical island for the remainder of the season. That’s not feasible for me, so I just put my head down and keep on bullin’ ahead.

Now I’m trying some new vitamins and a full spectrum light bulb to see if there’s a "seasonal affective disorder" component to my never ending cold. I’ve got a pretty open mind when it comes to this kind of thing, so I’m up for just about anything. Garlic tablets? Sure. Vicks Vap-O-Rub stuffed up my nostrils? Why not? Toxic cleansing? Uhh, maybe. Sauna time? Chiropractic adjustments? Sure, anytime.

I’ve heard all kinds of differing views on flu shots, and all I know is what happens to me when I get one. Generally, not much. You still get viral colds, you can still get a sinus infection (the most long lasting miserable thing known to humankind) and stuff like stomach bugs still occur. There is no panacea for the enclosed life of winter in New England.

All that being said, time is the only cure for this kind of ongoing blah feeling. Taking care of myself, being patient, and stay focused on that Vernal Equinox, when we start feeling the effects of more sunlight and the first stirrings of spring. It’s coming, as it always does. While I didn’t expect it, all of this whining has not helped one bit. There are so many folks that are genuinely sick right now. My wish is that we could cure ‘em all and send them to a warmer climate until they are better. Maybe that’s what we need to do for national health care ... treat and retreat.

Arlo Mudgett’s Morning Almanac has been heard over multiple radio stations in Vermont for nearly 30 years, and can be tuned in at 92.7 WKVT FM Monday through Saturday mornings at 8:35 a.m.


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