Skip to main content

the stages of a cold


I have been living with a stupid, nasty cold for 10 days now.  I suppose the fact that it is still partying in my body means that it is perhaps not so stupid and in fact pretty smart.  But I still maintain that is it nasty!  Whatever the case, over the course of the last week and a half I have observed a few different stages that I have gone through with this cold.

1. Denial.  It is just a wee scratchy throat.  It will probably be gone by morning. I'll just ignore it.
2. More Denial.  It's been a few days and I am starting to cough, so I think that's a sign that it is almost over.  I am sure I will feel much better tomorrow.  And besides, I can pretty much function as normal.
3. Impatience.  Why is this taking so long?  It's been a week and I should be feeling better!  It is interfering with my life.  (At this point I started asking for helpful suggestions to get rid of the thing).
4. Anger.  Okay, that's it!  I have had enough.  This sucker is done! (I bought cough syrup and cold medicine and started stuffing it down my throat).
5. Disappointment.  I can't sleep!  I don't feel any better!  Why isn't this medicine working?  Everything is useless.
6. Make a plan. So the cold medicine is keeping me awake at night and not really helping.  I'll forgo all the medicine and change my diet.  No dairy products (which feed the phlegm) and no sugar (which feeds the bacterias and viruses).  Just clear liquids, fruit, and vegetables.  And I'll go to bed earlier.
7. Small improvements.  I got good night's sleep!  I am not coughing as much!  I have a bit more stamina!  Yes, things are getting better!
8. Gratitude.  This morning, I noticed myself rejoicing over small things that I take for granted much of the time.  Things like being able to sleep through the night, having energy to do my work, a clear head and mind, being able to walk without pain, a loving husband who forgives me for coughing on him at night, a shower in the morning, a beautiful home, a sunny day, fresh tomatoes, a glass of orange juice, clothes to wear... (and the list goes on and on).

I have done my share of praying during this cold.  I asked God to heal me, to help me sleep, to take away the cough, to clear my head.  I whined, I complained, and I pleaded.  When nothing much seemed to change, I was disappointed that my requests went pretty much unanswered.  Why would God let me suffer this long without loving intervention?  It seemed cruel.  This morning, I realised that my goal of 'feeling good' is perhaps not the same goal that the Lover of my soul has in mind.  He always seems more concerned with things like character, maturity, patience, gratitude, and other things that, if they are truly real and present, should not be affected by any amount of suffering or inconvenience.  In our weak moments, we see where our strength really lies.  I hope that my strength does not depend on everything going well in my life.  That would be a pretty shallow and temporary strength.

One of my strengths is a grateful and trusting heart. Today, I am trying to grow and nourish it.  That means that I am even thankful for this cold which has shown me how ungrateful I can be.


Photos:  Top - cold paraphernalia.  Bottom - flower blooming this morning on my back porch... so pretty!

Comments

littlelamb said…
Did you take a salt bath? I am always super thankful for salt after I take one when I have a cold. It clears up SO fast! Thanks God for salt! (or gargling/salt compresses)
Matte Downey said…
I tried a eucalyptus salt bath a few days later. Wow! It did do me wonders. Thanks for your suggestion.
Anonymous said…
I came across this blog as I had Googled "stages of a cold". I am in the early stages, but rather than complain I will hopefully remember to thank and praise my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thanks for writing this.
Ashley said…
Great post! I was being very ungrateful and impatient, instead of being focused on Christ. I should be happy that I'm even still alive. Thanks for this!
Anonymous said…
I came across your post while in the stages of a seemingly unending cold.

As a holistic health care practitioner who rarely gets sick, the whole experience brings a whole new level of compassion for those who become ill frequently.

Thank you Matte for your insight and for reminding me of the "Bigger Picture".

Kaaren J.

Popular posts from this blog

what binds us together?

For the past few weeks, I have been reading a book by famed psychiatrist M. Scott Peck which chronicles his travels (together with his wife) through remote parts of the UK in search of prehistoric stones. The book is part travel journal, part spiritual musings, part psychology, and part personal anecdotes. A mixed bag, to be sure, and not always a winning combination. At one point, I considered putting the book aside, not finishing it, but then Peck started writing about community. He is no stranger to the concept. He has led hundreds of community-building workshops over the years, helped start a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering community, and written a compelling book about the topic, one which greatly impacted me when I read it oh so long ago.[1]

In preparation for a course I am teaching next year, I have been doing quite a bit of study on unity and community. Once you start thinking about it, you see and hear evidence of it everywhere. (See my blog on the impact of b…

job hunting

I am on the hunt for a job. PhD in hand, I am a theologian for hire. The thing is, not a lot of places are hiring theologians these days, and if they are, they are usually looking for scholars with skills and experience outside my area of expertise. Today I found job opportunities for those knowledgeable in Religion, Race, and Colonialism, Philosophy and History of Religion, Islam and Society, Languages of Late Antiquity, Religion, Ethics, and Politics, and an ad for a Molecular Genetic Pathologist. Not one posting for a Dramatic Theologian with  a side order of Spirituality and a dash of Methodology.

I know, I know. My expectations are a bit unrealistic if I believe I will find an exact match for my particular skills. I know that job descriptions are wish lists to some extent, so no candidate is ever a perfect match. I also realize that one must adapt one's skill set according to the requirements of the job and be flexible. But there are so few jobs which come within ten or even…

building the church

Imagine two scenarios: 1) Give every person in the room a popsicle stick. Ask them to come together and put their sticks onto a table. Invariably, you end up with a random pile of sticks on a table. 2) Give every person in the room a popsicle stick. Show a picture of a popsicle stick bird feeder and ask people to come together and put their sticks on a table according to the picture. You will end up with the beginnings of a bird feeder on a table.

What is the difference between the two scenarios? In both, each person brought what they had and contributed it to the collective. However, in the first scenario, there were no guidelines, no plan, and no right or wrong way to pile the sticks. People came, placed their sticks on the table, and walked away. In the second scenario, people were given a plan to follow and as a result, something specific was built. Instead of walking away after they made their contribution, people huddled around the table to watch what was being built. Some were…