Thursday, October 06, 2011

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!

5 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.