In Praise of the Common Cold

My husband has been researching ways to keep from catching colds.  The list includes zinc, vitamin E, fish oil, vitamin C, pomegranate juice, and it keeps growing.  But lately I’ve been thinking how much fun it would be to catch a cold.

Not the 2016 version.  In today’s scenario, you wake up sniffling, swallow an OTC wonder pill that makes you simultaneously sleepy and twitchy, and soldier on through the day.  “Just a cold” doesn’t earn you a break from school, meetings, dinner prep, paper grading.  You just keep downing the pills until your runny nose dries up.

No, I’m remembering the common cold of my childhood.  If I woke up sniffling, my mother (a pushover for sick kids, truth be told) readily agreed I needed to stay home, and I settled down for a day of being sick in bed.

Sick in bed:  that means I can sleep whenever I feel like it, all day long.

Sick in bed:  my mom drops in from time to time to straighten the covers, flip the pillows, and pick up the sodden Kleenex I’ve strewn around.

Sick in bed:  when I wake from one of my naps, I can pull out my book — probably tangled up in the bedclothes –and read until I feel sleepy again.

Sick in bed:  I lie between smooth sheets and listen to the whiny growl of the vacuum cleaner, the clank of the steam radiators, the tap of my mother’s footsteps up and down the stairs.

Sick in bed:  I’m served ginger ale and orange juice to soothe my scratchy throat.  I have Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, served on a tray, at lunchtime.  I don’t really like the soup – the long, pale noodles remind me of locks of blond hair — but it’s the official soup of the sick in bed.

Sick in bed:  It loses its charm late in the afternoon.  I’m happy to get dressed and join the family downstairs.

But it’s been a wonderful day.






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