Rhinovirus 1, Me 0

I have been fighting off a cold for the past week.  I sternly told my body that I have no time to be sick, there is just too much to do this week, and for a few days it looked as if my internal pep talk had worked.

By Friday, however, I admitted defeat when I woke up feeling as if a 3,000 pound elephant was standing on my chest.  The cold had won.

<dramatic pause to gain your sympathy>

Friday morning I sent off a whole letter of concession to Mr. Rhinovirus, congratulating him on his successful takeover of my body and the creation of four thousand gallons of phlegm inside my respiratory system.  I then urged my body parts to become united and work together to overcome  political divisiveness , I mean the germ invaders so my body could heal quickly.

I’m a good loser that way.

Then I proceeded to follow my sick-day-as-a-mom action plan.  I designed the plan to ease any cold symptoms as fully as possible and also to garner as much sympathy from my family.

What can I say?  Sympathy makes me feel better.

The first step of my action plan is very important:  STAY IN THE PAJAMAS.  It is impossible to heal as efficiently as possible if I’m wearing uncomfortable clothing (or a bra for that matter, but that may possibly be too much information.)

It’s important also for me to wear the appropriate footwear.  I have found  those non-skid textured socks that the hospitals give out are my favorite.  They are warm and yet help me give off that helpless invalid vibe that is so important when looking for sympathy.

Yes, they are hopelessly without fashion and gaudy to boot (you should see my teal colored ones that are currently in the wash.  Whoo-boy.)  But they make me feel better.  Perhaps it’s the calm assurance that I won’t slip and fall as I shuffle discontentedly around my house sniffling that makes them my favorite.  Perhaps I just have appalling taste.  Who knows?

The next important step is selecting the right medicine, you must determine whether you need a decongestant, an antihistamine, or just a merciful bullet to the head that ends all your suffering.  My go-to favorite whenever the congestion and coughing are at their worst is some sort of vapor rub with menthol and eucalyptus.

It is impossible for me to describe how much I adore this stuff.  It makes me feel like someone is taking care of me, even as I totter around on weak legs while making lunch for the kids and answering their eight million questions.  Additionally, I must confess I love how it turns from a warm sensation to icy tingles after I rub it all over my chest and throat.  In the immortal words of Buddy the Elf, “I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it!”

Moving on, picking out the right reading material is the next step.  I have to read something every single day.  Even when I’m sick.  However, if my head is throbbing from sinus pressure I can’t read intelligently enough to make sense of a new book,  so I reread some of my favorites, especially children’s books.

I have found that when I am feeling like absolute and complete crap, the Little House on the Prairie series is the best.   I’ve read them a million times so they’re easy on my head, plus I take comfort in the fact that I don’t have malaria or scarlet fever that will render me blind.  They make the common cold seem almost attractive in comparison.

This time, however, I departed from my traditional Laura Ingalls Wilder route and reread all the Percy Jackson books from Rick Riordan.  If you haven’t read this young adult series yet I highly recommend it.  They are fun and entertaining enough to distract me from how wretched I feel while I’m sick so obviously they’re just delightful books.  The first book in the series is called The Lightening Thief.  Don’t miss out on this gem.

After selecting your reading material, it is important to choose the right comfort food.  You can’t enjoy chips and salsa if your throat is a raw throbbing hot mess, now can you?  So pick carefully.  It’s hard to go wrong with a nice warm and nourishing soup, but I must say for the record that my favorite comfort food is mashed potatoes.  (With butter.  Lots and lots of butter.  So much butter that Paula Dean, the butter goddess herself, is slightly amazed)

The final step is relinquish control of the t.v. remote to the children.  I know it goes against every maternal instinct you may have but just DO IT.  Seven hours of Dora the Explorer once in a blue moon never hurt anyone.  At least not permanently.

By giving your kids the remote you have ensured that they will sit still and mostly leave you alone.  Thus enabling you to be swaddled in a cocoon of pillows and cozy blankets, dosed up on the medicine of your choice, while you   lie lethargically until Mr. Rhinovirus decides he has tormented you enough and leaves.

Or at least that’s what I am doing.  Leave Mr. Rhinovirus, leave soon.

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