April 15, 2012


I swear we are going to rebound here.

I don't know if it is the sunnier weather, the running, the infrequent use of vitamins or just dumb luck, but I rarely get sick these days. Even though there is more exposure (lots of friends with kids dragging home sniffles) I have managed to avoid catching anything that has blown through the circle of friends. It felt like I was coated in Teflon, and germs had no place to grab on. I'd like to say it is the clean living and good diet, but I think we would all know that to be a lie.

My spotless record is no more. This time I got taken down, and I have been sick for almost two weeks. I am not even sure where I picked it up, but I know how it got in.

The night of Kristy's birthday kicked it off. Not so round meals, plenty of sangria and wine, and a very short night of poor sleep. I was up at 5:00am the next morning to run the Carlsbad 5000. The next two days were filled with shovels, concrete and jackhammers, and shorter nights of sleep as we were working four hours from home. My body was beat down and the welcome mat was out for any virus to come waltzing in. They brought lots of friends and have set up camp.

I don't like taking pills. I'm not sure why or how it started, but I avoid medication if I can. It is not a distrust of "Big Pharma", though I am bothered by all the commercials telling me to "ask my doctor about..."  How about if my doctor who went to school for all those years suggests an appropriate drug, and not the patient who saw a commercial between episodes of Survivor. I digress.

If something is seriously wrong, I don't hesitate to take the appropriate medication, but my reflex is to let the thing run its course. I don't take Advil after a hard run, for example. Not only do I know exactly why it hurts, but the pain is the body healing itself and I don't want to interfere with that. Nearly (probably every) drug has some sort of undesired side effect. Advil is hard on the stomach and kidneys, Tylenol is hard on the liver, etc. Let the body fight its own battles when it can.

I read some article years ago and it stuck. It said that all of these over the counter cold remedies did nothing to speed your recovery. They attempt to mask the symptoms, but you actually don't get well any more quickly. The side effects of the medication are probably less permanent, but much more noticeable. Decongestants make me spacey and/or sleepy, things I don't need any help with, so I usually just let the thing run its course without any interference or delay. I don't think the article said that you actually get better more quickly by avoiding medication, but that is how I have taken it. Let your body be sick, let it recover.

Except for coughing.

At some point of the cold, after days of sinus issues, the hacking cough arrives in the dead of night. Out come the cough drops, tea with honey, throat sprays and anything else I can think of. It is always worse at night, and sleep is precious. My body needs sleep to recover, and I don't want to keep everyone else awake by hacking through the night. Out goes the aversion to drugs and I dig through the medicine chest for relief, hoping that what I find doesn't have an expiration date from the 90's.

Exhaustion and the desire for sleep will trump many a principle, especially those based mostly on hunches. Thank you Chloraseptic. You haven't aged a bit since your expiration date last June.

1 comment:

Me said...

"though I am bothered by all the commercials telling me to "ask my doctor about..."

I could not agree with you more about this.

What about those commercials about a drug that has been out for a few years and they say, "If you have taken such-n-such drug and have experienced... blah... blah... blah... or death, please call the law offices of blahty... blah... blah... and you could be entitled to..."

I agree with you, let the body run its course. I hope you feel better soon!