Ever wonder what happens to the snot that gets dried up when you take that lovely flu medicine?
I have a summer cold, and that thought is the first one I had this morning when I awoke to wracking spasms of coughing at 2:30 a.m. I don't particularly care to have an answer to the question, all I really want is for the hacking to stop.
I stumbled out of bed and headed for the 'sick cup' whereby I can warm my hot water to place the Theraflu. I try to hit the appropriate buttons on the microwave, precisely one minute and not another second more, so I can get that warming liquid into my body to stop the infernal machine gun fire sounding hack.
My lungs hurt. My stomach hurts. Most of all, my throat hurts.
I checked my throat yesterday with a hand mirror. After some thought as to how I was going to shine a light and hold a mirror at the same time, I believed I had found the perfect lighting solution. Good thing no one could see me in the backyard (or can they???). No matter. I am a woman on a mission. Some how visual confirmation of what I feel is the only thing that will satisfy my OCD.
I grabbed the hand mirror from the bathroom, and headed out to the backyard. It was early morning. First, I tried looking straight into the sun holding the mirror out in front of me. My rationale was flawed. Instead of the sun shining straight into the back of my throat like a flashlight, it blinded me so I could not see my throat even if the shadow cast from my front teeth weren't there. Moron.
Next, I decide to flip around with the sun to my back. If that darned sun was so blinding perhaps I could capture it in the mirror and reflect it back into the mucus cavern I called my throat.
I searched for evidence of strep. I, of course, know nothing about strep except I had heard it looks like streaks. I saw streaks, or are they? Blotches were more like it. The road map of red veins captured my attention for a few seconds, then I was on to sleuthing out the source of the infernal irritation. EEEWWWW, I grew wide eyed as I spotted the whitish spots. Irregular in shape and dotting the back of my throat. Victory! Now I have something to visualize when I whine about the soreness of my throat with every breath I take.
Somehow that knowledge brings me comfort. Sometimes I think I am a hypochondriac. Or maybe I am from the great state of Missouri. I need to see it to believe it. In any event, I march back into the house feeling weirdly relieved.
Another day passes. Therafluing it every four hours; narcoleptically going through the hours of the day and night. Actually I started out with the classic Nyquil, but it just wasn't cutting it. I really dig the warm liquid as I slowly sip the cup of lemon flavored magic down. That is when I can get it down without spilling half of it on myself because I am hacking up a lung.
Precious liquid spilled. I NEED it in me, not on me.
I am happy to report as of day three I have now perfected the containment process. Perhaps I should call BP and offer my services????
Day three passes like day two with the exception of an entire hour of my life devoted to paralyzing spasms of cough so bad they could only be relieved with a steam shower. How is it possible to cough and wretch at the same time?
I turned up the AC, it is 90 degrees outside, and step into the soothing effects of the steam. It takes a couple of minutes for the steam to work its magic. As I stand naked, coughing and wretching, I look out through the fog to see three sets of brown eyes peering at me. Both standard poodles and my tiny yorkie are in attendance. They wait patiently for me to emerge so they can lick me dry. A real oxymoron, isn't it?
I finally get myself calmed down, dried off, and blow dried. I dig out the Mentholatum and slather my chest and under my nose. I get a nice warm t-shirt and wrap some towels around my chest. I put some mentholated magic on a washcloth with the intent of sniffing it whilst I sit staring like a zombie at the television.
All 12 legs pitter patter after me as I drag my hacking self back into the living room. I am exhausted by the 20 minutes of extreme exertion of taking my shower. I do feel a bit better though.
I begin making cup after cup of warm water with lemon squeezed into it and a single teaspoonful of honey. The uncontrollable coughing ceases. For the minute.
I get myself into bed and sleep like a dream for four hours. At precisely 2:30 a.m. I am awakened by a renewed attack of coughing.
Now we are back to where we started. I am thinking why cough if there is nothing to cough up???? Day four of Theraflu has taken care of the presumably copious amounts of mucus I should be producing if I had not been so diligent in medicating my symptoms. Where is the liquid? Should I be trying to get rid of it? What if my body needs to produce it to get rid of the vicious virus? Have I somehow short circuited the body's defense mechanisms and thereby actually participate in prolonging my misery? I guess I will never know. I crave relief from these nasty symptoms.
Today, day four, I went to the doc just to make sure strep wasn't in the picture. After going through the litany of things I am allergic to, the final diagnosis is, "Go home and do whatever you have been doing. Oh, and drink lots of fluids."
I left there feeling both relieved and confused.
I forgot to ask him where all that liquid goes.