Five days into the new year, I come down with I call “The Crud.” The condition starts off with all the usual symptoms of a head cold. Stuffy yet runny nose. Post nasal drip that quickly leads into a sore throat. Falling asleep within moments of sitting down to watch TV. Just wanting to wear one’s fleece pajamas all day long. Possessing the mental acuity of a yawn.
I started slurping organic elderberry syrup, popping the occasional throat lozenge, and drinking plenty of hot green tea (I prefer green tea over black tea when I’m feeling poorly). Despite having a nearly non-existent appetite, I fix small but healthy meals with plenty of veggies, few carbs, and no processed sugars. Even the portions of orange juice are small in order to keep the sugar count as low as possible because sugar can diminish immune function.
The lethargy and malaise I feel keeps me away from mindful blogging, tweeting, and working. I can only muster up mindless scrolling of Facebook and Twitter.
To get the rest I need I skip all group exercise classes. I also don’t want to share this crud with others. I become a hermit.
Ten days pass and I still feel like…”kaka.” I drive to an urgent care clinic primarily to make sure this isn’t going to get any worse. I’ve seen what pneumonia is like and I definitely want to avoid that! During the recording of my vital signs, I learn my systolic pressure (the top number of blood pressure reading) and my heart rate are up (normal when dealing with an illness), and I have a low grade fever (99.1 degrees). When the doctor confirms my condition, she tells me to drink plenty of water (check), eat well (check), get Emergen-C® fizzy tablets and Costco’s version of daytime and nighttime cold medicine. She also writes a prescription for Robitussin A-C cough medicine with codeine. I also get a printout about upper respiratory infections. I then go to Costco, pick up the recommended over-the-counter medicines (plus a few other things to make the trip worthwhile) but I forgo the prescription. I opt for regular Robitussin 12-hour cough medicine in case I need it.
For the next few days the cold medicine provides sinus relief but I still feel punky…with an increasing desire to get outside and have a long walk in the sunshine. But I don’t. Not because it’s cold, windy, and on some days rainy, I just don’t have the physical energy to do so. So I try dancing to some fun music but that only lasts maybe ten minutes. My sinuses are flowing, I start coughing, and whatever energy I had is spent. Gawd, how I loathe being sick!
Does this mean I’ve been able to just stay in bed during this time? No, of course not. Life goes on including working, paying bills, doing laundry, and more.
I’m now approaching my third full week of having this crud. A good pal of mine got sick shortly before Christmas and is only now feeling like her ol’ self. So now I’m fretting: If I read that handout correctly, I either have another week of this crud or I should go back to the doctor again? When will I be well enough to get back to the gym? When can I get back on the bike to start training for the 5K time trial at the Mesquite Senior Games in late March? Is my resulting weight loss from muscle instead of fat? Will my weight continue moving south once I feel better again?
So what’s the answer to dealing with an illness that derails one from being active and working out?
I wish I had one.
So I’m trying to focus on a few positive things during this frustrating time: I have kept to eating healthy meals and not given in to the temptation of baking a cake or other sweet dessert. I savor my hot green teas. I even did a set of crunches and bridges this morning.
That last effort may not be much but it’s something…something I can feel good about. Even if it makes me sneeze.