----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: Progession of a Cold

The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Progession of a Cold

It starts with a sneeze. But I sneeze a lot anyway. Who's to say these sneezes are any different? Still, I have an inkling that they are. They're more frequent, a little...jucier. And my nose kind of itches. And yet, I do not rush to the pharmacy and buy Cold-Eeze or Zicam or Airborne or Emergen-C. Instead, I figure that it's just a minor thing. How sick could I get? I got my flu shot, after all. I blithely ignore the fact that the flu shot protects against one virus strain, and there are about a zillion cold and flu bugs out there, just waiting for someone to infect.

By that evening, the symptoms are piling on: I've got sneezing, itchy nose, watery eyes, sore throat, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, low-grade fever, irritability. Well, I've got irritability a lot, especially on days like this one where I go in to copy edit for people with a very tenuous grasp on grammar. So maybe the irritability doesn't count. Regardless, I take some NyQuil, thinking that a good night's sleep will be just the thing to cure me.

The next morning, I wake up after a solid 10 hours of sleep, which seems like a lot, until you realize that I try to get nine hours on a regular basis. I'm not one of those people who can cut it on very little sleep. There's the aforementioned irritability thing, plus my tendency to immediately contract cold viruses such as the one that my immune system is now battling. Now I start with the Zicam and the Tylenol Cold capsules. "Now with instant CoolBurst sensation!" the package declares. The pills do taste faintly minty. But they don't do much to keep the cold at bay.

It's kind of hard to take a sick day when you work from home, but I give it my best shot, lounging around in bed and doing the bare minimum on an article with an impending deadline. I flip through our DVR selections, trying to find something humorous to watch. Those few episodes of Freddie offer exceedingly mild amusement. I also have a new symptom: loss of appetite. This cheers me for a moment, because I think that maybe I'll lose a couple of pounds of water weight, at least. Then I realize that my loss of appetite does not apply to chocolate, and I've got a two-pound box of See's sitting on the counter.

Midway through the day, I venture out to pick up an unrelated prescription and run a few errands. Of course, it's a beautiful sunny day. Of course, I didn't get a cold during the miserable, wet, flooding days. Upon my return, I discern that leaving the house was a bad idea. Exhaustion overtakes me, so I put on my pajamas, insert earplugs, turn off the phone, slip on eyemask and get in bed. It's 4:30 in the afternoon. I get some fitful sleep, characterized by disturbingly realistic dreams. At 6:15, Mr. Pink comes home and immediately wakes me up. On purpose. "Don't you know you're never supposed to wake someone who's sleeping?" I say (irritably). "I'm sorry, I just thought you might want to know I was home," he says. "What if we had a baby?" I ask. "Would you wake it up when you got home? You never wake up a baby! There are rules about this sort of thing!" Now I am completely unreasonable. "It seems like I already have a baby," I hear him say as he leaves the room. I let the insult pass without comment. I am too tired to argue.

I drag myself out of bed and roam aimlessly around the house. This does not take long, as we have a very small house. Mr. Pink asks what I want for dinner. "Nothing," I say. "I'm sick. I'm not hungry." He goes to the store to get the ingredients to prepare himself a favorite meal from his bachelor days, and I have a slice of bread. And some chocolate.

At 10:00, Mr. Pink orders me to take more NyQuil and go to bed. I follow his orders, but the NyQuil does not work its magic this time. I sleep until 2:30 and then wake up and never fall deeply asleep again. Instead, I have disjointed dreams about living in Los Angeles and the green bridge in Napa and my estranged aunt and soft-serve Foster's ice cream dipped in chocolate. (Again with the chocolate!) At 5:30, I take more NyQuil. Again, it fails me.

At 8:00 the next morning, I take my temperature. A hundred and one! I am definitely too sick to be out in polite company. I call my mom and tell her I can't go with her to Napa today. Then I sleep until 10:15. When I get up, I feel woozy and dizzy and weak. Still, I take a shower and blowdry my hair and put on makeup and get dressed. I don't know why I do these things, but it's a deeply ingrained habit. Even in the throes of chemotherapy and radiation, I would get up and dress and apply makeup each day. I didn't have to worry about my hair, because I didn't have any. I wonder if this makes me slightly obsessive-compulsive, or if it's my way of not giving into the disease. Vow to ponder more deeply later.

At this stage, delirium has set in. I am dressed and made up, for absolutely no reason. Then I have a coughing fit and choke on some phlegm. Wonder if it is possible to die this way? How terrible. I envision the headlines in our local paper: "Local woman chokes on own phlegm and dies alone in apartment. Hair and makeup look nice, though." There would probably be some typos, also, because the paper is really a very bad one.

I sit at the computer and try to write my article, but clear reasoning evades me. Instead, I go out to purchase more cold medicine. The CoolBurst! capsules are going fast. At Target, I have to get the Tylenol Severe Cold (with CoolBurst!) from the pharmacist behind the counter. It's a new rule so that the meth addicts can't get to them and buy dozens of packages and cook it up with lye and battery acid and lawn fertilizer to make more meth. Seriously, do they know what's in that stuff? Disgusting.

Anyway, back at home, I take another stab at the article. I feel lonely and neglected because no one has called to check on me all day. Then, within 15 minutes, both mom and Mr. Pink call. Decide I am loved. Article does not get any better, though. Finally give up. Decide to put feverish ramblings online in blog instead. Get the chills. Decide a hot bath is in order. Mr. Pink is home now, so chances of falling asleep in the bathtub and slipping into a watery grave and/or burning house down with scented "relaxing" candles seems remote. The end.


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