Colds suck. I hate the sinus headaches, the sneezing, the itchy eyes, and especially that “I can’t breathe” feeling.
Chest colds suck worse. There’s something especially disheartening about the soreness that develops in your chest after coughing. And coughing. The only upside is that getting the mucous in your lungs reminds you that the “I can’t breathe” feeling from a head cold is actually not that bad. You could breathe with the head cold, it’s just that breathing through your mouth constantly for several days feels awkward. But actually having mucous build up in your lungs forcing you to cough and cough sometimes before you can take a breath? That’s awful.
An actual bout of influenza sucks much, much worse. There’s the coughing, of course, but also the all-over body aches, and those days of fever where you alternate between feeling as if you will never be warm again, or sweating so bad that you just want to lay down in one of those giant walk-in freezers. I’ve only had the actual flu a few times in my life, and each time, I remember how much worse it is than the worst colds I’ve ever had. Those memories are one of the reasons I have been getting flu shots consistently for 20-some years.
Unfortunately, flu viruses come in many, many varieties thanks to constant mutation, and so annual vaccine can never inoculate you against every possible variant. Or, sometimes the variant you run into is close enough to the one you’ve either encountered before or that was in one of the shots, and so you catch it, but it doesn’t last as long as it might have.
This year I have gotten to be the proof that sometimes that shot isn’t enough.
I had the extra joy of getting an opportunistic infection on top of the flu: bronchitis.
I’m at that annoying stage nine days past the end of the fever, where most of the symptoms are gone, but I still have a bit of the cough, echoes of the body aches, and no stamina at all. Even with a convenient four-day holiday weekend where I got to sleep in and lay about as much as I wanted, I still feel exhausted after being up and about for only a few hours.
So I’m getting through my work days, being fairly productive. But then I’m like a zombie for the rest of the night.
I’m tired of being tired.