I’ve hacked and coughed and sniffled and snorted my way through this past week, which has made me realise that it’s been quite a while since I was last ill, which I attribute to simple living, high thinking. It has also made me realise that while I was once a fairly stoic patient, I am now an accomplished whiner, which I attribute to my personality.
My nose is blocked and I can’t breathe, my ears are blocked and I can’t hear, my throat hurts and scratches, the epicentre of the whole thing seems to have shifted to my chest, my back hurts, the edges of my nose are raw from nose-blowing, my sinus twinges all the time, and most of the time I’d rather be asleep. My eyes water, my head is woollier than usual, my feet ache, and my shoulders are stiff. My skin is warmer than usual, but the thermometer is registering lower-than-normal temperature. I feel like a giant petri dish, cultivating evil-looking bacteria even in places not normally associated with this kind of sickness, like the back of my knee.
Chronically ill people are generally excellent patients because they very quickly realise how boring it is to go on about one’s symptoms ad nauseam, and for the rest of the world to hear about them. My grandmother, who suffered from terrible arthritis for decades, never seemed to mention it much at all. My mother, who has chronic asthma and various other ailments, takes care of herself with minimum song and dance.
However, people with ox-like constitutions who aren’t used to being sick, think that the sky is falling on their heads and cannot believe that other people are carrying on with their lives. My exceedingly robust father brought the household to its knees when he had a cold once in six years; I think it was a rare chance for him to be fussed over rather than having to fuss over other people. For my part, I deeply resent the whole US presidential inauguration thing, which went ahead as if nobody there knew or cared about my condition. It’s that kind of insular and insensitive foreign policy that will cost the US valuable friends.
It’s a good thing that I’ve stayed away from the internet these last few days, because I’m a shining example of a cyberchondriac. That’s somebody who compulsively looks up their symptoms on various nuance-free medical sites and concludes, from a runny nose, that they have cancer, or a bad heart, or, in the case of the worst exaggerators, are already dead. I’m not quite that silly, though I should mention that I do feel very poorly indeed.
A rough inventory of healthful and pharmaceutical products I have consumed over the last four days, because I understand that you won’t sleep until you know: two inhalations and gargles daily; two gallons regular tea and 78,000 cups ginger tea daily; two capsules three times a day of some dodgy-looking Chinese medicine sent a while ago by my sister, and embraced without question by my mother, despite the fact that she isn’t sure how to take them and consequently invented the two-capsules-three-times-a-day dosage; one large-sized bottle of ayurvedic Joshina cough syrup; and one medium-sized bottle of ayurvedic Adusol tonic—clearly named after the weird, socially-inept guy in the college dorm who doesn’t have any close friends but lots of acquaintances who hang out in his room because the music is good and there’s always something to smoke, as in, “Let’s go freak out in Adusol’s room, yaar. Maybe he had a shower this week.”
There, I bet you enjoyed listening to me complain! I certainly did. Oooo—my ears just popped.