Still sick

I was feeling significantly better on Monday, but then the cold got worse on Tuesday, and continued to get worse through Wednesday, adding a cough and semi-runny nose to the sore throat. I think it's marginally better now, but still a long way from gone. (But still, thankfully, not the awful awful flu that so many other people have been getting, so I can't complain too much.)

I continue to suspect that a full night's sleep would do wonders for me, but that continues to be hard to come by. Last night, my throat started a new trick: at the moment of starting to fall asleep, instead of making a loud click like it's done before, it started generating mumbling noises. Voiced; vocal cords engaged, a sort of "uhhh" sound lasting a second or so before I jolted awake and stopped. Disconcerting.

Bhadrika and I had gone to the pharmacy earlier and acquired a whole bunch of drugs. I grew up pretty much without pharmaceuticals, and never really got the hang of them; usually when I get to the cold-remedies section of a drugstore, I kind of wander aimlessly, with glazed eyes, until I recognize a brand name, then grab it and flee. Bhadrika took me through a half-dozen common cold symptoms, described what's going on when they happen, and pointed me to the right drugs to deal with them. When we got home, she labeled all the boxes with a Sharpie so next time I'm sick I'll know which things to take for what symptoms. Very helpful.

She also explained to me more about how congestion works, and why it's important to drink lots of fluids, and so on. Very useful to know, especially because the diagrams of the nasal cavity that I've seen on websites seem to be pretty misleading.

(And btw, I always thought that pouring alcohol over something sterilizes it, but turns out that's not true, or rather that it's not nearly that simple. I'm still working through the CDC's fascinating Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings; I don't have enough brain to try to summarize tonight, but it appears to be worth looking at if you're interested in this kind of thing.)

Anyway, so I ended up trying a cough suppressant (little if any effect), an expectorant (which seemed to help some), and an oral anesthetic spray (which made the back of my throat go nicely numb for a little while, but also made parts of my tongue go numb). Oh, and I did the sinus-rinse thing a couple of times. Then I took Benadryl and melatonin and tried to sleep, but to no avail.

Eventually tried a half-tab of Ambien, which I think got me about three hours' sleep--at least, the clock seemed to jump from about 3 a.m. to about 6 a.m., though as usual for me with Ambien I didn't feel particularly more rested afterward--and then eventually I found a head position that seemed to avoid the throat-closing thing. So I got some sleep, but not really enough.

Tonight I think I'll try Ambien sooner, and maybe a full tab of it. Really gotta get some sleep. Pretty much running on empty at this point. (I tried napping yesterday afternoon, but still couldn't get to sleep.)

3 Responses to “Still sick”

  1. Mary Robinette Kowal

    Ugh. Sorry to hear that you are still sick. I hope you kick it soon.

  2. Jay Hartman


    Sorry to hear you’re still sick. I don’t have any “immediate help” suggestions, but here are some things to consider for the longer term:

    1. The “secret” of politicians on the campaign trail, who shake thousands of hands, travel incessantly, and sleep little, but “can’t afford to get sick”: Use a hand santizer often and never *ever* touch your face, especially your eyes and nose. My wife, who has a PhD in immunopathology, assures me there are good scientific reasons for this…your eyes and nose are the easiest entry points for the crummy little critters (a highly scientific term) that you don’t want to enter your body…and when you rub your eyes, pick your nose, etc, after shaking hands with a sick person (or, for example, touching a doorknob they just touched) it’s like giving the tiny bad guys (I am trying to not confuse myself with any scientific words here) a free ride right into your body.

    2. Flu shots. You ever get these? I know there is some controversy, but I get one per year and it seems to help quite a bit.

    3. Is there something that is flowing through your residence or workplace that might be causing this? I know this may sound crazy, but if your “shared wall” neighbor is frequently sick, and there is any sort of shared ducting, or other airflow between your homes, etc., it might impact you. While we don’t have any shared ducting with our neighbors, I do have one of those air filters from Sharper Image, right by my bed, that is supposed to zap germs as well. I don’t know if it does that, but it’s amazing how much crud is collected in the filter every week.

    Good luck, my brother, I hope you feel better soon!

  3. Jed

    Thanks, Mary and Jay!

    I should note that I don’t get sick often, and when I do it’s usually not serious. And even this time it wouldn’t be a big deal were it not for the lack of sleep.

    I haven’t done flu shots, mostly because I rarely get very sick. I agree that for people who do tend to get hit hard by flu the shots sound like a good idea. Sadly, I’m told that this year they ended up guessing wrong about which strains of flu the shots should focus on, and I gather that that’s why this year’s flu has been especially devastating.

    I don’t see my neighbor often enough to know if she’s frequently sick, but I haven’t ever seen her sick — and if that were an issue, I would expect that I would get sick more often.

    My theory about what’s going on is that I got an ordinary cold, it was exacerbated by lack of sleep, and then Bhadrika brought a different strain of cold with her from the east coast and I picked up that as well. So I don’t think there’s anything mysterious here; I think I just need to get rest and drink fluids and try to get some sleep, and my body will work things out sooner or later. (I think I got most of a full night’s sleep last night, though somewhat interrupted, so I’m feeling a lot more on top of things even though the other symptoms are still in full force.)


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