I've been sick.
It started innocently enough last Monday night; I came home wirh grand plans to go to the gym with Himself and I became aware that I had a bit of a sore throat. I made a cup of tea and dinner, did a yoga DVD, and generally got over myself. By Tuesday my nose was plugged up so completely that every swallow produced this disgusting 'snerk' and I was resorting to open mouth breathing to stay snerk free and keep my blood oxygen level somewhere in the 90s. Wednesday I stayed home.
I have to be careful when I get colds. I had walking pneumonia in college and ever since then, if I don't creep around and drink gallons of water and care for myself like a frail, fainting creature it all drains straight into my chest and sets up base camp to begin filming an IMAX film about bronchial infection. One bout of pneumonia was more than enough; I have no desire to spend another eight months taking theophylline (a delightful asthma medication with all the jittery excitement of double clutching on the yellow line heading eastbound and down with a trailerload and a deadline popping NoDoz like Pez) and sleeping propped up on pillows like the Elephant Man so I don't drown in my own gravy.
I've reached the downward side of this cold; the middle of my face no longer appears as if I rubbed it briskly with a microplaner and now that I don't have to fortify myself with night time cold medicine, the cast of Barney Miller has taken a merciful hiatus from my dreams. My consistent need to evict various nose goblins with fistfuls of Kleenex kept me out of the movies, not wanting to inflict my noises and juiciness on the ticket-buying public. But Sunday came, and I needed to go to church.
Himself advised me on the way in that we'd have to sit in the back, owing to his violent poinsettia allergy. We slipped into the pew normally reserved for the 'slightly late'. I took off my coat and indulged a quick succession of barking coughs that echoed off the rafters. The woman seated directly in front of us abruptly stood up and moved three rows ahead, which was apparently not enough of a disease barrier for her since she turned around and gave me a dirty look every time I coughed after that. I hoped she knew that the 'Passing of the Peace' was suspended so she wouldn't have to risk my cooties in the interest of sharing the love of Christ. Her place was taken by a Woman in a Hat.
You don't see too many of these anymore. Most of them are 'ladies of a certain age'....ladies who remember when all ladies wore hats in church. And gloves. I sat still, trying not to bark, admiring the silk roses and angel pin tacked on the faux fur. Himself said she had strong perfume on, but I couldn't smell it.
I whispered my way through the last verse of the last hymn and started putting on my coat. The Hat Lady turned around. I wondered idly what age ushers in the drawing of the eyebrows half an inch higher than they used to be.
"Are you the one with the cough?"
'Yep, that's me," I said, wondering where this was going.
"You know what you need to do? You need to get yourself a big bermuda onion, and cut it in half and put it in your bedroom. I've been doing that three years running and its worked every time. A nurse up at the hospital (oh, good God) told me about this."
"Well, um, thanks. I'll have to give that a try!"
We drove home. I don't have any onions. I wonder if a carrot would work.