“it’s going around” they say, “everyone is getting sick”. I may try to ignore the signs, yet I can’t help but notice my voice is slowly turning into mere croaking, my sinuses are clogging up, and I’m cold. All the time. It’s not uncommon to get a cold at this time of year; the seasons are changing, and the stress busting days of summer are too far behind us to lend any enthusiasm to working life. Yet all my fellow cold sufferers seem to be pushing through their days: a little grumpier, and often interrupting important conversations with a hacking cough- but overall seem not so badly affected.
On Fridays (TGIF, am I right?) I only work from home, yet even crawling into my bed with my laptop to respond to some emails seemed like an exhausting thing to do. Instead I opted to put on some new episodes of Breaking Bad (and by new I mean Season 2 because I am very behind- no spoilers please!) while stuffing my face with soup, fruit, crackers, and tea. By noon my cough was beginning to break and my nose was running heavily. I could feel success beginning to trickle in – I’ll be back to my normal self in a few days.
I know a cold isn’t supposed to be a big deal. I know I’m meant to be able to go to work or school and take some cold medication or Advil if I need it to get through the day. But do I really want to just get through the day? I understand the necessity on certain occasions, but more often than not doesn’t it just turn into getting through the week…month…year- this event, or that course- until eventually, I’m just getting through my life. I know our jobs are meant to be these all important entities, holding dire consequences if a project gets finished a couple days late. Yet more often than not those dire consequences are just someone else being a little bit grumpy that it’s a day or two late.
What’s the worst that could happen? Can’t I just take a few days off. CFS has forced me to listen to my body, even when I felt like my body wasn’t listening to me. We somehow learned to have conversations, and eventually become friends and allies. If I am willing to nourish my symptoms of CFS, shouldn’t I be willing to do the same for any ailment- including a cold?
I’m sure I could just ‘get through’ this or that if I needed to. But wouldn’t I rather rest and be with myself- and my television and my books for a couple days, and then really give my best energy to my work. I’ll enjoy it more, my work will be of higher quality, I’ll be more excited to learn and move on to something new- and yet the message I’m often sent is taking those couple days is unacceptable- it makes you weak. Yet, when I hold those two images side by side in my mind; one taking cold syrup every few hours, and sitting at her computer with a pile of Kleenex and sleep deprived eyes, and the other, a well rested and energetic woman, a couple days behind on her work but facing it with enthusiasm and bright eyes- it’s no mystery to me which one is strong.
What about you? How do you deal with a cold on top of your CFS symptoms? Would you take the day off?