Doubt. Skepticism. Disbelief.
I realize for many, the title sparks the above words feelings, but it's true. Aside from some sneezing due to pollen, mold or dust, it's been over five years since I've had an actual cold. Whether it's due to being back around children, chronically sick housemates or under-the-weather family visitors, I do not know, but I am definitely ill. A slight cough, that I managed to fend off, has returned and become harsh. The congestion was not present early on, but now it is here. I have so far avoided any fever, but I sense, as my body amps up the fight, it will be here soon. Sickness during a break from work. It seems like a visit from an old friend.
When I first started working with children, my immune system would fight and kept me healthy, right up until the holidays and then, the simple act of relaxing, would bring on colds like I never knew. I'd usually be in bed for three, maybe four days, and then it was gone. Gone again until the next winter. I'd usually miss a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, or at the very least, not enjoy it as I should. It became expected and then one year it stopped. I stopped getting my festive flu (never had the flu
that I know of) and oddly, despite not taking care of myself, I stayed relatively healthy when it came to my internal self. As the outside began to crumble, I changed my ways and the inner health stayed, but the body broke down. This year, despite being in the best health of the past eight years, both outside and in, I have succumbed to sickness. Once again, it has taken away any joy of holiday. No smell. No taste. No energy.
The irony of this year, is I actually had to opportunity to possibly enjoy it. I did get to see my niece, but did not get the joys of her attention beneath a tree. I did not get to wake to the sounds of her tiny feet and feel her gentle kisses on my cheek. I got to spend it with my landlords and their family and while I didn't take part in breaking bread, I did exchange presents with their grandchildren and while I keep the instances private, they reciprocated with meaningful gifts for me and my furry companion. It was quite enjoyable for a few moments and then, I drifted off into a bit of a slumber.
I'm not a good patient. I pride myself on hiding my physical pain, but the common cold does more damage to me than I care to deal with. I don't follow dosages and avoid doctors, knowing all colds eventually go away. I drink tea and it dawned on my last night, my disdain for tea is all due to the connection I've made with drinking it and feeling as if I am on Death's door. I will heal in time, because that's how time works. The odd thing about my infrequent sickness over the years is how much it has taken away. Simple moments that I hear about, often seeing in photographs, are lost on me. So many holidays spent alone, recuperating, avoiding spreading what ails me, but then I think of the last five years, in good health, but lacking wealth, spent alone, not wanting to spread what ails me.
Maybe next year, right?