The common cold has struck our house. According to my five-year diary, this seems to be a January kind of a problem. I thought I would share some thoughts about the common cold, as I’ve realized that my experience with it has changed. My poor husband is coughing, wheezing, sleeping around the clock, feeling queasy, and generally having a very bad time. I can tell my immune system is on the prowl, and my energy level is down, but otherwise I’m okay. This is how it’s been the last three or four times the common cold has blown through. After being so sick that I coughed up blood one winter, I assumed that respiratory stuff would be rougher on me as I got older. I was 28 then and I’m 40 now. Fortunately, my assumption seems to have been incorrect.
There is never going to be a “cure” for the common cold. I don’t think there will ever be a “cure” for cancer either. These are two categories where it makes far more sense to focus on prevention and living the healthiest lifestyle possible. After all, what rational argument is there for not living the healthiest possible lifestyle? It’s just that common knowledge is not the same as common action. On the other hand, I don’t think common knowledge includes everything that’s important to know.
These are the factors I think have helped me boost my immune system the most.
I’m not a doctor. I may be completely, utterly wrong in all my ideas. Just because I don’t really get sick anymore doesn’t mean I understand why. It could be a coincidence. On the other hand, maybe I’m onto something. In the last 22 years, I have virtually never had any kind of stomach bug or digestive issue; I’ve thrown up on only four occasions, the last one nearly 7 years ago. I quit having migraines two years ago. Now I can say that I don’t really get respiratory bugs, either. There are no drawbacks that I can think of to washing our hands more thoroughly, getting plenty of sleep, being functionally fit, eating more cruciferous vegetables, cutting sugar and soda, keeping a cleaner house, or being at a healthy weight. It might even be less expensive to live this way. Making a complete paradigm shift to a lifestyle that is different at a core level is really challenging for most people, though. We prefer to stay in our comfort zones even when they aren’t all that comfortable.
I feel a little cruddy as I write this. My hubby has gone back to bed. He came home from work early, took a four-hour nap, went to bed early and slept 12 hours, ate breakfast, and now he’s sleeping again. Leave it to an Upholder like him to be sick over the weekend. Poor guy. I’m glad I feel strong enough to cook dinner tonight. No matter how sick we both get, there are certain things we still do: we still load our dishes in the dishwasher, we still put trash and recycling in their cans, we still eat at the dining table, and we still put our laundry in the hamper. To our way of thinking, it takes the same amount of time to put a dish in the dishwasher as it does to put it in the sink. It takes the same amount of time to drop clothes in the hamper as it does to drop them on the floor. There is always a tail end to a sickness, when we’re trying to get from 70% to 100%, and it’s no fun to try to clean up a disaster area when our energy levels are still low. Maybe the bathtub doesn’t get scrubbed one week, and that’s fine, because that only means two weeks between cleanings. Being sick is one of many times when it pays to live an orderly life the rest of the year.
I hope I’ve presented some ideas that may be helpful. The common cold is something we all understand, one of those annoyances that should help us feel compassionate toward one another. One way to demonstrate that compassion is to hole up at home when we suspect we’re contagious. We can also demonstrate compassion toward ourselves. We can take care of ourselves, treat our bodies as well as we know how, and try to avoid bummers like a cold.
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I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.