The Mortal Coil

Today, I’m “recovering” from a bad cold after five days of suffering.

I know how I got it – I was stressed out. I haven’t been sick in years (two years in fact – I wrote about getting a cold in April 2013!) Since then, I haven’t had so much as a sniffle. (All that healthy living, I’d like to think.)

But last week my body broke down in what seemed like moments.

It’s true that stress takes a toll on your immune system, and I’m sure that’s what did it for me. I felt the waves of stress on a Monday and Tuesday. On Tuesday night I felt the cold “coming on” and by Wednesday morning I lost my voice.

I’m not sure why, but when I get sick it’s always an upper-respiratory thing. And when I get sick, I lose my voice. It’s happened this way my whole life, so there’s no surprise when I start croaking like a bull frog. If I talk to anybody on the phone, they have no idea who is on the other end. (Yeah, it’s that bad.)

What bothered me most about getting sick this time around was how fast I deteriorated into a sneezing, sniffling, body aching pile of goo that couldn’t lift my head off the pillow.

I mean, here I am … going to the gym several times a week like a religious fanatic, eating tons of veggies and super-healthy food, stuffing my gob full of vitamins and good-for-me supplements, but two days of stress and the entire house comes crumbling down.

What’s up with that?

It made me realize how tenuous it is to be “healthy.” Maybe I’m over-reacting since it was “just” a common cold that hit me, and now, six days later I am coming out of my funk … but still, the experience shook me up.

I don’t know. Maybe, if I wasn’t as healthy as I am normally, the cold could have been much worse and I would have been sick for 2 weeks instead of 6 days (I am still counting today as a recovery day since I am not fully back to normal.) Or maybe, if I’d been in truly poor health, my cold would have turned into bronchitis and that could have become pneumonia.

Is this how things break down with the body?

Something innocuous like a cold starts you downhill, and then the other germs pile on and attack different parts of you until you’re done?

It’s a gruesome thought.

I’ve been taking Zinc and 2000 milligrams of Vitamin C every day of this ghastly cold, along with a daily Echinacea supplement. If you read up about this cocktail, you’ll get some people swearing it reduces the severity and length of a cold, and another group of people saying it does nothing.

I’m not a statistical sampling of one, but I do believe these items helped reduce the length of the cold. As to reducing the severity, it’s hard to say. My experience is what it is – I have nothing to compare it with – I suffered with plenty of body aches during the worst of it.

It’s unpleasant to be reminded how easily a bacteria or viral particulate, so tiny I’d need a powerful microscope to see it, can take me down.

I’m glad I never had to go to a doctor to get over this, and did not have to request antibiotics or if I had gotten some severe bronchial thing, something even stronger.

Yes, I’m on the mend now. But it gives me little peace of mind to be so “healthy” when I see how easy it is to take my legs out from under me.

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