Yesterday at work, my new manager mentioned that some of her family members seemed to be getting the cold I've had for the past couple weeks. I said I guessed that made me an early adopter. She said I had beta-tested it.
It's beginning to sound like everyone's getting it now. So I figured I'd toss in a couple of thoughts about it:
The main symptoms for me have been sore throat and exhaustion. I felt bad about missing work on account of a sore throat—it seems like such a minor thing—but it was the exhaustion that really did me in.
And a lot of that was because I wasn't getting much sleep; I think I was hovering around four hours a night.
Eventually, I remembered the phrase “post-nasal drip.” It hadn't quite occurred to me sooner because (a) it never does (sore throats don't feel to me like they have anything to do with my nose); (b) my nose wasn't running; and (c) my brain wasn't working (see earlier re exhaustion).
But around the fourth or fifth time that I woke up feeling like I was choking, it occurred to me that if I could temporarily dry up whatever it was that was dripping into the back of my throat, I could get some sleep, and that would probably improve everything.
So I finally threw NyQuil at the problem. Usually that would've happened sooner, but I've gotten used to thinking of NyQuil as a sleeping drug rather than a cold medication, and for me it loses its effectiveness for sleep after one or two consecutive days, so I try to use it only when I really need it for sleeping.
But each of the last four or so nights, I've taken one NyQuil “liquicap” just before going to sleep, and I've gone to sleep easily and slept pretty well for six to eight hours. It doesn't seem to be having its usual effect of knocking me out and giving me four hours of very restful sleep, but whatever it's doing is working. I don't know for sure that it's drying things up and preventing dripping, but that explanation would fit with the available evidence.
My throat's still sore (two weeks and counting), but not nearly as much so as before. Now it's more an occasional cough than anything else.
I tried various other things along the way, but none of them helped. Drixoral cold & allergy had no effect at all. Benedryl also didn't seem to do much. Nasal irrigation seemed like it might've helped, except that it revealed that I had a bloody nose (in one nostril, anyway), so continuing to do it seemed contraindicated. Cough drops help, but only very briefly. Camomile tea with lots of honey didn't seem to do anything, bad or good. Odwalla orange juice, oddly, felt kind of soothing on my throat, so I drank a lot of it. I haven't tried various nasal sprays and such that I have around the house from my last serious cold a couple years ago.
A couple of people have asked if I've seen a doctor. I haven't. I used to get colds every fall, and they would sometimes last ten weeks; eventually I would get so sick of them that I would go to a doctor, and I would wait a long time in urgent care and then finally see a doctor, who after two minutes' examination would tell me, “You have a cold. Drink fluids and rest.” And that would cost a hundred dollars or so, and I would feel like I'd been being a hypochondriac.
So these days when I get a cold, I just try to keep hydrated and rested, and figure I'll get over it sooner or later.
(Side note about duration: is it just me who gets colds that last for weeks? I don't get sick often, but when I do, it lingers. I figured everyone got long-lasting colds, but some people seem to get alarmed when I talk about a cold lasting for two weeks.)
Anyway. I don't have any wise advice or panaceas for this thing; mostly I wanted to (a) express sympathy to everyone who's been coming down with it, and (b) mention that, at least for me, NyQuil has been indirectly helping a lot with the sleep, which makes the rest of it much more bearable.
(With the amount of shilling I do for NyQuil, they oughtta pay me. Except then I couldn't mention that liquicaps seem potentially dangerous to me—several times, one has gotten stuck in my throat when I try to swallow it. Lately I've started holding them in my mouth for a while to soften them up first, and that seems to help, though it can reveal the extremely bitter taste of the liquid inside. . . . You may be asking why I don't just use NyQuil in its liquid form instead; it's because in my experience, the liquid is entirely ineffective in making me sleep. I have no idea why that would be, but it's been consistently true.)