Colds are my kryptonite. They hit me two or three times a year and when they get me they get me bad. Maybe I am vulnerable to a female version of Man-flu, maybe I am just a wuss. All I know is that for me a cold is serious business. My nose will be blocked and runny at the same time, my throat will be sore and my sinuses just a mess. My head feels fuzzy, thoughts won’t process and my hand to eye co-ordination drastically declines. My body will rapidly switch from being cold and shivery to feeling way to hot. The worst part is trying to sleep as I end up with half asleep, half awake stressy nightmares where I have to complete impossible jobs. And I know it is a dream and I am really in bed but I can’t stop worrying about being late to a meeting because I am lost in a labyrinth. It’s horrible.
Now there may be no cure for the common cold but there is Cathy’s survival method to get you through it. My friend, Lorna, once told me that the average cold lasts only five days. That means surviving a cold is a bit like getting through your period. The first two days are tough, the third is where you turn a corner and day four and five you are in steady recovery. By day six it is all a distant memory.
(In the interest of honesty I should share that whilst I hold this as a fact in my mind, Rob insists that my colds last for much longer but that I change the days that I start counting from. I disagree but it is possible that the cold impedes my ability to count)
The trick is to get in the right supplies to get you through the first two days. So here is my essential tool kit for surviving a cold:
- Two boxed of tissues with balm – one for the lounge and one for the bedroom. Trust me you get tired from carrying that box with you everywhere
- Packs of tissues with balm to keep in your handbag (always carry at least two)
- Vapour rub – Essential for allowing you to fall asleep. If you don’t like having a sticky/shiny chest during the day carry the pot with you so you can have a discrete sniff now and then. For some of us this is as close to a drug addiction as we will get
- Orange Juice – Get that vitamin C in you, plus it is full of sugar and will give you enough energy to get through a day of work
- Pain killers – I do have a feeling that painkillers should be reserved for when the pain is really unbearable but I have found that a couple of Aspirin or Paracetamol does clear my head and allows me to construct complete sentences
- Whisky, hot water & honey – This is a recent addition to my cold survival kit. Rob made me a hot toddy last time I was suffering and boy it did the job. It relieved the worst of the symptoms and left me feeling very relaxed and floppy… maybe a little bit too floppy. This should only be used as a medicinal night cap and not if you have to go out in public, operate machinery or do anything productive.
I should note here that I not a Doctor or have any medical training at all. Instead all I have is plenty of experience. Also if any of you are wondering why Lemsip is not on the list, it is because Lemsip tastes disgusting, and I would rather feel ill than drink it.
My final piece of advice is to have at least one evening where you give in to it. Let yourself be ill and get cosy. Have a night in, get some comfort food. Watch a film whilst wrapped in a soft blanket with a box of tissues on your left and a bin on your right. Let your body rest.
Today I myself am on day one of what I already can feel will be a nasty cold (spent last week camping in the rain so it has not come as a surprise). But I have my supplies and I have tonight all planned out. We’re going to have minced meat and gravy and mashed potato for tea, then I will get wrapped up on the sofa and watch Dumbo as part of my Disney re-watch drive, Rob has promised me a hot toddy nightcap, then an early night in freshly washed and snuggly pyjamas. You see when you put it like that, having a cold isn’t so bad. Achoo!