It’s often said that if you have your health, you have everything.
I’ve always figured that statement is a bit of an exaggeration — at least, until lately.
Over the past three months, I’ve fought (somewhat unsuccessfully) two nasty bacterial infections in my respiratory tract. Now I’m dealing with the last vestiges of a cold virus.
I don’t want to sound too whiny, but since the end of October, I’ve probably only felt really good for about five or six days.
For a guy who has used only two sick days in the past 10 years, this has been pretty tough to take.
I guess I should be grateful that all my ailments haven’t kept me out of the office. But they sure have made getting through the workday much more of a struggle.
I know my co-workers are getting a little tired of my frequent wheezing or hacking coughs, not to mention the occasional nose-blow that sounds like a blast from the horn section of the New York Philharmonic — though not nearly as melodious.
I can’t count the number of Kleenexes, throat lozenges, allergy tablets and associated cold products I’ve gone through in the last eight weeks.
That’s on top of all the antibiotics — a five-day dose, followed a couple of weeks later by a 10-day regimen — that I’ve tossed down the hatch. Of course, all those antibiotics have really done a number on my digestive system, so the whole experience has been a real joyride.
I blame much of this on cedar trees. I’m not quite sure why, but it took me more than 20 years living in Central Texas to develop an allergy to them. But ever since that first tickle and sniffle, my symptoms have gotten worse each year.
My wife has suffered from “cedar fever” for years, and this year is one of her worst, too. She’s been on the same antibiotics I have, and she even got an allergy shot — though it didn’t do much good. For several weeks, she’s been sniffling, blowing and barking like a trained seal. I feel so sorry for her.
Between the two of us, we’re a real pair.
When we go out to a restaurant, we try to sit in a corner so we don’t attract too many anxious stares when we go into our barking and wheezing routines. We try to shrug it off with an apologetic smile and a one-word explanation: Allergies. That usually draws a somewhat sympathetic, somewhat unconvinced smile and nod from the nervously staring folks.
It’s so nice to have our allergies on display for others to see. We’re not contagious, though — really, we’re not. But no matter what the cause, we’re so ready for this cough-and-sniffle fest to end. We’re just sick of feeling sick.
Still, despite my frustration, I’ve been trying to be philosophical about all this.
I know that once this seemingly interminable period of suffering is over, I will have a much greater appreciation for the return of my good health. I can tell you right now, when that day finally comes where I don’t feel the need to cough or grab a tissue to dab at my nose, I’ll likely be downright giddy.
Also, my daily battle with allergies has reminded me there are plenty of folks in our community who are wrestling with chronic illnesses or conditions that produce far worse discomfort and pain than I’ve had to deal with.
For a lot of these people, it’s a part of everyday life they simply accept — without nearly as much whining as I’ve been doing.
I need to realize that a little perspective is called for whenever I start going into my “woe is me” mode. Things are seldom as bad as I make them out to be.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go blow my nose.