Archives for posts with tag: head cold

I woke about an hour ago. It’s a bit past 3:00 a.m. now. Little point in attempting to return to sleep. No idea what actually woke me. For now, I’m dealing with this sinus headache, but, and this is just real, I’m almost delighted that I can, mostly, just breathe. The vertigo, which I think may be a result of sleeping with my neck at an odd angle, combined with this head cold, is a cruel new addition, and I’m already “over it” (meaning to say, I’d very much like to be done with this whole mess, now, please…).

I worked yesterday, from home, and wrapped up the day about 2 hours early, compared to a typical Monday. I honestly wasn’t good for much. Today, either, potentially, but I am feeling “up to it”, and no coughing or sneezing, so far, and able to breathe (mostly)… I may go into the office today. I sit here sipping icy cold grapefruit fizzy water, wondering if I really will. The advantage is small; I have more monitor “real estate” there, and this allows me to work somewhat faster, with more things open and easy to see. That’s it. The disadvantage? If I am still contagious, I get everyone on my team sick (small office space), and potentially also everyone I talk to. That’s a dick move. I resolve to stay home if I start sneezing or coughing, and decide that if I do go in, I’ll go quite early, and overlap with folks for a much shorter period of time, keeping my hands washed, and wearing a mask. If nothing else, the mask itself will discourage conversation, and reduce risk further.

…I’ll probably work half a day, get the essentials done, take advantage of the efficiency of the big monitors, and cancel live calls/meetings that involve face-to-face participation.

My coffee is very good this morning. I feel content and alert in spite of the ridiculous hour. My body feels mostly pretty comfortable, very little pain. The discomfort I do feel is largely to do with this cold, and I’m clearly getting over that. I find that to be very good news – honestly, I have shit to get done. Not being up to doing things sucks. I keep sipping this coffee, between physical therapy exercises, and wait for this vertigo to clear up; if it doesn’t, I’ll stay home. Driving to the office in the dark, in the rain, and also with vertigo? That just sounds fairly stupid.

Back and forth… water… coffee… work from home? Go to the office? More water. Another sip of coffee. How do I best take care of this fragile vessel? Water. Chicken broth. Tea. Sleep. More sleep. More water. Limited use of cold care remedies, and only those that are definitely effective, and don’t mess with my head. More sleep. More water. More broth. Food when I can eat. I don’t know what works for you – do that, though, I suppose. I do this. 🙂 I’d been going through a record-breaking number of Kleenex’s there for a day or two, but this box next to me has been open now for more than 12 hours, and it’s still half full. Progress.

…Oh, damn, do I enjoy being able to breathe? Oh, yes, yes, I do – so very much. 🙂 It’s nice having that back.

I find myself looking forward to the cold autumn air and the rain fresh breeze, when I step outside, into the pre-dawn darkness of morning. The house is comfortably warm, but not hot. I feel a bit overdressed for the indoor temperature, and remind myself that my coat is in the bedroom closet, my partner still sleeping. Going to work without my coat, in this weather, in this health, seems fairly dumb; I’ll have to go get it, probably waking my partner. :-\ It is what it is. I remind myself he would comfortable do so, himself, were the situation such that he needed a clothing item from the bedroom, while I am sleeping. lol No coat = no commute. 🙂 That’s some solid self-care decision-making right there. 🙂

I look at the time. It’s very early, not quite 4:00 a.m., but getting that kind of head start on the day will be a huge win for reducing exposure to any lingering contagion, so… I guess it’s time to begin again. 😀

…Like the lasting value of self-care. That doesn’t change much. Or the sweet comfort of not yelling at people, or being yelled at, myself. That’s something else for which I have lasting appreciation. Those are connected to each other, too, in an annoying way; I have a head cold. Yep. It is not a coincidence that I’m down sick with the latest ick to go around the office after being quite healthy all year, at least with regard to contagion. Freak outs, screaming matches, nasty arguments or loss of emotional control, all seem – at least for me – to have a direct hotline to an invitation to illness. I get pissed off to the point of losing my temper on a Saturday… by Wednesday I’m down with a cold. I have frequent exposure to sick people in my work (primarily due to the gross lack of emphasis on self-care in the American workforce, and the emphasis on strict attendance vs “stay home if you’re sick”). Within 48 hours or so of my most recent obvious exposure (in an elevator, to sneezing), I have this cold. Pretty sure I’ve been exposed to it, and others like it, all year, but this one got me. Why? I don’t know really… but… I suspect the yelling.

I’d planned to write something quite different this morning. Instead, I’m coughing. Sneezing. Going through tissues like…well… like I have a head cold, honestly. What the hell else would I compare this too?

I definitely don’t want to carry this back to my work team; we share a small office, within a larger open office space. I’m still considering work, but I don’t know how long it will last… and I didn’t bring my laptop home last night. So… the plan, this morning, is first to go get that, then maybe work from home… or die quietly in a pool of snot. I don’t know. Hard to say at this point. :-\

I satisfy myself in the moment with reminders that it could be so much worse… I could be in California. Dear friends there are in some cases worried about whether their homes will even be there tomorrow, others struggling to deal with extended power outages that don’t seem to be providing any positive benefit, just incredible inconvenience and personal cost, and creating even health or life threatening risks due to loss of power to medical equipment. What a terrible experience. This? Me? Just a fucking head cold. I’ll get over it pretty quickly, however dire it feels in this hot, uncomfortable, sticky, wretched, tissue-wrapped moment.

Okay, okay, I’m going to set aside the bitching, and make the attempt to begin again. Repeatedly if necessary, until I have to give up, and just rest. Self-care matters – so it’s fluids, and rest, and symptom relief, for now, with confidence that this too shall pass, and on the other side? Another new beginning. 🙂

I am sitting here with my coffee, grateful to be out of the office today. My coffee is still untouched, though I’ve been sitting here with it for half an hour. I have a cold and feel fairly listless and awful. It could be worse, of course, it’s really just a cold.

Having a head cold was not in my plan for today. I am volunteering some of my time… and I am so glad that’s a little later. I take a sip of my insipid, possibly terrible, coffee (is this head cold why it tasted “off” yesterday morning, too?). It was my plan to spend the remainder of my weekend shopping for a car. It’s time. I don’t much feel at all interested in that, at the moment, and I suspect it would be a colossal dick move to go car shopping while contagious. I’m definitely certain it would be grossly inconsiderate to spread this shit around knowing I am ill.

It’s weird to me that many businesses strike a pose of actively discouraging employees from calling out when they are sick, in some cases even penalizing actual sick people for not getting over being sick fast enough. Many do, though, and the effort is leveraged primarily at entry-level workers, and lower paying middle management jobs; humans involved in the day-to-day work of keeping business going. You know, “the working class” folks. I’ve not ever seen anyone in the executive class actively discouraged from being out of the office… at all. Ever. I have reached an understanding that the amount of energy put into “attendance policies” (again, those are rarely applied to senior managers or executives at all) and convincing sick people to show up for work (in spite of potential risk of contagion, or delaying a person’s recovery) says a lot about the high value of their labor – and if those employees cave to that pressure, and work while sick or develop a tolerant acceptance of their exploitation, it says a lot about how poorly they value themselves. There’s definitely profit to be made in human beings undervaluing themselves – they cost so much less! It’s an understanding that, over time, moved me further and further left on the political spectrum as a human being, as a worker, and as a manager. “Who actually benefits from this policy?” became a question I learned to ask – a lot. It is heartbreaking how rarely, in most places, the answer is ever “everyone who works here benefits equally”.

Enough about things to do with working. Bleh. Actually, “bleh” is a good descriptor of where I am with my whole experience, just at the moment. I’m not quite sick enough to give up on everything and just go back to bed (although my coffee is really not the experience I’ve grown to love, and I feel fairly crappy, generally)… and I’m definitely not well enough to pull on my hiking boots and get a couple of miles in before I head to the VA.

…Just thinking about going back to bed, and looking at the clock… I don’t know… bed sounds okay… even if I didn’t sleep… I could just lay there being miserable so gently…

…I can begin again… later…

Last night, late in the evening while hanging out with my traveling partner, I caught myself sniffling a bit. I shrugged it off and really thought nothing of it. Some minutes later, sniffling again, my traveling partner looks at me with a thoughtful expression and matter-of-factly notes “You got it. You got my cold.” I sort of brushed that off, hey – probably not? Maybe? Please? By the time we called the night over, I was sneezing.

This morning I woke too early, stuffy head, hearing muffled on one side, painful scratchy throat… I’m sick. Damn it. How tediously, grossly human. New job, new sickness? Nope, that’s for later, most likely; that one usually hits me about 3 weeks into a new call center job. lol I still have that to look forward to. This is more a souvenir of my traveling partner’s recent travels. Germs from afar! Like a present!  🙂 I’m still smiling, still laughing… probably spending much of the day in bed. I’ve still got work tomorrow. Shit. Sick at work in an open office environment is both unpleasant to endure, and likely to encourage the spread of this wicked whatever-the-fuck-it-is. I’m fortunate that I can simple grab my laptop and make haste for a smaller space in which to work, safely away from coworkers. I take a moment to feel grateful I spent yesterday on laundry and housekeeping.

This writing is interrupted regularly for dealing with the biological outcomes of being ill. I find myself wondering “why bother?” knowing I’m unlikely to get around to saying anything particularly meaningful. I frown at that thought, and wonder a bit morosely if I ever do; life filtered through the misery of sickness. lol I’m okay. It’s a cold. It sucks, but it’s very human.

I write a bunch more words, about nothing much at all. I delete them due to lack of substance. I write a bunch more words, about mundane details of life. I delete them, too, due to a perceived tone that seems subtly whiny, and carelessly inattentive to points of privilege I am fortunate to enjoy (a roof over my head, a secure place to sleep, potable hot and cold running water, indoor plumbing, a private bathroom, a well-stocked pantry, a fast internet connection… an internet connection, at all… there’s a lot that is easy to take for granted). I’m sick, and my writing reflects it. There are a lot of people who have a rough time of things in life. I’ve just got a head cold.

It is a head cold though, and having one feels miserable. Safe social practices make sense: hand-washing, covering coughs and sneezes, refraining from close contact, refraining from sharing utensils, food, or beverages, avoiding food prep tasks for other people’s meals, bleaching counters and surfaces – where possible, as I go. It’s not a lot, but these steps tend to slow the spread of illness. Even as sick as I am, I’ll take these steps as consistently as possible; being sick sucks, why would I spread that around? I “play it like a game” to stay mindful of good practices, since being sick also tends to cause a certain lack of fucks to give about pretty much everything else. I “win the game” if no one else I interact with catches the cold. 🙂

Today is a good day for exceptional self-care. Today is also a good day to be mindful that I’m ill, and that illness is contagious. Today is a good day for a large box of tissues, and a handful of practices, and a good book. 🙂

…In sickness and in health…

Life's simple glory, complicated, simple, strange, wonderful, new or familiar; it matters every bit as much as it doesn't matter at all.

Life’s glory, complicated, simple, strange, wonderful, new or familiar; it matters every bit as much as it doesn’t matter at all.

This is a pretty fragile vessel I occupy. Backaches, tendonitis, headaches, sore feet, bumps, bruises, bad days, and…head colds; being human isn’t pain-free, convenient, or particularly easy some days. Today is one of those, and I do indeed have a head cold. Worse, I have a head cold on the handful of days that my traveling partner is visiting home. I have a cold instead of hugs and lovemaking, because I choose to take responsible steps to prevent the spread of illness, where I can. I find employment, generally, in call centers. It’s humble enough work for an analyst, and head colds go with the territory – in fact, I have numbers on that, and some trending. lol  Love isn’t hindered by a head cold, though, and I enjoy the companionship of my partner in spite of it.

Annoyingly enough, this is also an extraordinarily busy week at work; as much as I’d like to, taking the day off to be sick isn’t an option. From my perspective, neither is getting all my coworkers sick, however trivial the illness, so I am working from home today – for as long as I can bear to toil over numbers. Every choice we make matters, in some context or another, to our own experience, or to someone else’s. My sleep was disturbed and restless last night and I woke from some surreal dreaming meditation on this particular strange thought; it all matters so very much, and it’s so interconnected, I lose sight of how irrelevant and unimportant any one detail really is. Perspective, balance…and the strangeness of the observation that ‘the opposite of what you know is also true‘. Is it? Isn’t it? Certainly it is an idea, for me, that sparks contemplation on perspective.

What we face, what we turn away from; we choose the world we see.

What we face, what we turn away from; we choose the world we see.

I can focus on the head cold if I choose, certainly it tends to be in the forefront of my thoughts and awareness this morning, or I can choose to be aware, awake, and observant of other details. The taste of my coffee, the trickle of the aquarium in the stillness of dawn, behind me, the internal glow of being well-loved, the moody gray sky outside my window…being present and in the moment, for me, still involves choices; what do I attend to, and what do I turn away from? For a lot of my life, I have ‘turned away from’ myself, and anything else I could turn away from, that built on ancient pain. I didn’t understand that by ignoring myself and my own needs, by showing myself no compassion, by disregarding my hurts in life and treating myself callously I was teaching myself that this was an acceptable way to behave towards others, and that it was also acceptable for them to treat  me poorly. It set up a see-saw of emotional abuses over time, many of them self-inflicted through assumptions, thinking, and internal story-telling that have done a lot of damage to my relationships, and my own experience of life, and myself.

Lately, I am making it a point to treat myself well. I don’t mean lavishing myself with expensive trinkets, costly vacations, or inflating my ego; that doesn’t work for me, personally. I am learning better habits about treating my heart well, though, and studying the neuroscience of emotion, practicing nurturing behaviors, learning self-compassion…and the results are more valuable than sparkly jewels, by far.  As with meditation, there’s a verb involved and practicing requires actual practice. Having a head cold, I rather expected it would be pretty easy to treat myself well…but being human isn’t really different just because I am feeling ill, and the requirement to be aware, present, mindful, and making choices that meet my needs are over time still requires small, continuous acts of will. It is, admittedly, harder to care when I feel ill…but surely in that case it matters even more to make the effort?

We create beauty by seeing it, we create love by loving; so much of who we are is what we choose to be.

We create beauty by seeing it, we create love by loving; so much of who we are is what we choose to be.

So. Yeah. I have a head cold. I’ll try not to be cross or irritable. I’ll choose to treat myself and others well, in spite of feeling poorly. Today is a good day for choosing wisely. Today is a good day for kindness and consideration. Today is a good day to change the world.