Mr. Cold sat next to me on my plane trip the other day. He was coughing and sneezing, and I watched the crystal droplets light upon my lips, nose and hands, almost like snowflakes.
I've been thinking of him constantly as I replace boxes of Kleenex throughout the house, faster than I can suck a lozenge.
I started coughing. Laryngitis set in, and not a moment too soon for my family. It's Thanksgiving, and I have count- your-blessing type speeches planned right through dinner. I have a story, a poem, and several songs in mind...
Today I was unloading groceries when I started feeling unbalanced. The room was spinning, as I dumped the sacks of potatoes onto the counter. Dee asked how I was feeling, but I couldn't hear him. Moments later I felt dizzy and we sat down to watch the news. Dee had the sound turned down very low for some reason.
Deep inside my head tonight I felt a sharp pain, which returned and settled in my ear. Within an hour it was causing a writhing, moaning sensation in me. I recognized the prelude to a breaking eardrum. I've experienced this trauma several times in my life, so it's become frighteningly familiar.
There's extreme pressure at first, which settles into a pulsing throbbing pain. It increases, with strange, squeaking noises that rumble deep inside, randomly surprising me with loud squeals that nobody else can hear. I was alone tonight in my agony, pressing a hot washcloth against my ear.
Sometimes the pain has been excruciating, taking hours to resolve. This time it was more like a tender torture and then a quick piercing, that only took a half hour of biting my cheeks and pacing the kitchen. The pain slowly subsided, while a feeling of liquid gently sloshed in the ear canal. There must be a new tiny opening deep inside letting out the infection.
Experience has taught me that I'll get better quickly now. Tomorrow I'll feel dizzy, and I know I have a few weeks of feeling lopsided, and turning the TV up a few decibels. There will be unexpected pops and creaks as the eardrum heals itself.
Thanksgiving will be practice for my stroke years: deaf, mute, and off-balance. I'll be in a quiet little world, dancing to my own beat, and laughing at what I thought I heard someone say. It ought to be lots of fun!