Monday, December 15, 2014

An open letter to a very bad cold

Dear nasty little microbes currently colonizing my lungs,

I really owe you a big round of applause: you've avoided the Forbidden Zone for the entire semester. Thanks to your admirable self-control, I didn't miss a single class session because of illness for 15 weeks, and I was able to enjoy concerts and meetings without causing a ruckus with my coughing.

But all that changed last week when you decided that it was time to mobilize. Thanks to your efficiency, I went from glowing good health to Total Sinus Impaction overnight, and then you started invading my lungs.

I have to admire your sense of timing. After all, it doesn't really matter if I'm up all night coughing right now since I don't have any classes to teach in the morning, and I'm fully capable of plodding through piles of final papers despite that annoying tickle in the back of my throat. If I occasionally have to stop to cough up a bit of lung, it only makes me appreciate my decision to accept final papers electronically--at least my violent coughing fits aren't propelling nastiness all over my students' papers.

It's possible that the cough-syrup-and-antihistamine haze may affect my clarity of thought, but grading slowly and deliberately seems to offset that problem. Of course, you've slowed me down enough to make the grading stretch over an entire weekend that I'd hoped to devote to other things, but I persevered through the coughing and the grading is now done. 

Now it's time to get started on the Eight Million Things I Need to Do before Christmas list, but here's the thing: I can't breathe. Well, okay, that's an exaggeration; most of the time I can breathe pretty well, but when a coughing fit hits, I'm pretty much incapacitated--I can't even keep my eyes open, which pretty much rules out driving anywhere.

So here I sit, ready to plunge into my winter break and start enjoying non-teaching-related activities, but all I can do is sit and drink hot tea. And cough. I've gotten really good at that.

The good news is that the coughing fits are coming farther apart today, so there's hope that they may end soon. Soon I'll be bidding farewell to all you nasty little microbes, and as much as I've appreciated your efficiency and power, I can't say I'm sorry to see you leave. Your commitment to colonizing the damp recesses of my nasal passages and lungs suggests some real affection on your part, but if you really care, you'll do one simple thing: lose my address and forget you ever knew me. 

So goodbye! It's been real! Don't let the door hit you on the way out!  

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