I’m Listening to My Body, and Here’s What It’s Saying:

Sorry not sorry

I’m supposed to be doing things

Writing this blog post, for one, which is taking about all the energy I can muster, so if it trails off somewhere in the middle, please understand. Also by now I should have recorded another blogcast episode.

Shameless plug here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1860172, available on almost all platforms and new episodes landing weekly!

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Also I should have reorganized and cleaned out the bathroom cabinet because we’re having the whole thing remodeled right after Christmas and all that stuff is going to have to live somewhere else for the duration.

My current novel-in-progress languishes somewhere around Chapter 16, because I can’t summon the will to figure out how to get my protagonist out of the fix she’s in and then place her in a worse one. I just can’t even.

No, I don’t have COVID

Two home antigen tests, done 40 hours apart, both negative. So it’s not that. But whatever it is, it’s kicking my butt, and it has been for six days now.

Yes, I have all my vaxxes and boosters. Yes, I’ve emailed my doc. Yes, I’ll get a PCR test if she advises it.

If this is a cold, it’s one of the nastiest I’ve ever had. It has utterly defied my every attempt to mitigate it: rest; liquids (I’m awash in tea and Gatorade); Vitamin C (I know, I know, but it can’t hurt); a few gentle at-home sessions of restorative yoga.

Instead of politely receding, whatever bug has colonized me has responded by steadily ratcheting up the symptoms. A mild sore throat became eye-watering whenever I swallowed. To say I’m congested is too feeble a description: at this point, I believe my brains are leaking out of my nose. And I have the energy of a limp dishrag.

Yes, I have a neti pot, and I do use it. Even though it makes me feel like I did when I would swim as a kid and get water up my nose.

My husband is treating me like a plague victim

Sympathetically, of course. He’s as solicitous as he can be from a distance. He deposits tea and toast and Tylenol in locations where I can reach them without coming into contact with him. He’s moved into the guest room.

I don’t blame him. When it comes to respiratory bugs, he is usually hit much worse than I, so I shudder to think what the next few weeks might be like if he comes down with this. It would wreck Christmas, and who needs that after last year’s? That explains why we’re wearing masks inside now. So far, he’s unscathed.

Last night, I spiked a fever. On Day 5! What’s up with that? I’m getting more pitiful instead of less despite all my earnest efforts. Not fair!

So, what’s the greater message here?

Because I always like to think there is one. And in this case, the bulletin from my body is clear.

I am not in control.

I don’t think of myself as a control freak, because who wants to take on a label like that, but I do cherish the illusion that, with resolve and a positive attitude, I should be able to keep my life’s train on the rails, choo-chooing along in the direction I’d like it to go.

But it turns out I’m not the engineer. I’m just a passenger. And right now, this train is chugging through a rough patch. It doesn’t help when I complain about the scenery.

This is nothing serious

At least, the overwhelming odds are that it’s not. A bad cold, if this is what this is, is like a paper cut: the pain is way out of proportion to any actual damage. I have people in my life who are struggling with long-term, life-limiting, severe illnesses. Whatever this bug I have is, it’s nada by comparison.

Right now, my body is in charge. All I can do is keep it as comfy as possible and let it do its thing. My ego, grumpy and muttering, just has to sit in the back.

So there’s a useful lesson after all. But if you want to feel sorry for me, don’t let me stop you.


  1. Sending good vibes to you from PA, Jan. I hope you are feeling better by Christmas (if not before). I had a nasty bug a few months ago, which I was convinced was Covid. It wasn’t. I didn’t learn the lesson I should have from that incident. Thanks for teaching me now.

    • I think I’m already starting to turn the corner, Laurie, so your good vibes are working. As for the lesson, I’m pretty sure it’s one I’ll have to have repeated several more times as I’m very resistant to it! 🙂

  2. If it is any comfort Jan I am going through a similar situation with a cold which by the sound of it is not half as bad as yours but got steadily worse ending in sinus infection so now I’m on antibiotics. I have also had a Covid test last week which was negative. However what I noticed was peoples reaction to me having a cold. Now I don’t blame them / in the old days everybody stayed clear of someone who had a cold and rightly so but now a cold translates to maybe Covid and one is treated like a leper. I am almost over my cold right now but made the mistake of telling someone who is attending the same event as me this evening and the old is it Covid question came up again . So I have to do a home test today to reassure everybody that I do not in fact have the dreaded disease. all this is understandable but frustrating to the poor old person who only has a good old-fashioned cold and one that is almost over at that ! Anyway you have my heartfelt sympathy.

    • I am so sorry to hear that you’ve had the misery too, Susan! I haven’t emerged from the house in six days so I have yet to encounter peoples’ reactions, but my plan is to wear a mask even while walking the dog and maybe a sign around my neck: NOT COVID, I CHECKED!

      Anyway, sinus infections are awful so I hope the pills kick in fast and that you feel MUCH better soon!

  3. Yikes! Maybe the other bugs are trying to compete with Covid? Like a viral bacteria bowl to see who’s the champ? But if all else is failing you, try this fever breaker: dump a standard box of baking soda and a teaspoon of dry mustard in the hottest bath you can tolerate (it’s like an immersive mustard plaster). Soak in it for 10 minutes but no more than 13. Breathe the steam deeply. Drink lots of cool water before, during and after. Have Michael within earshot, as you may need help if you get weak and lightheaded. Get out and bundle up in flannel jammies/robe/socks/piles of blankets and SWEAT. I have broken many fevers with this technique. Plus, you are replacing a lot of bodily fluids due to the drawing/purging effect of the soda, so recovery accelerates. At the very least, the hot bath will ease a bunch of symptoms. Feel better, sweetie! 😍

    • Good to know! My fever has abated and I think I’ve crested the hill on this malady and am beginning to tiptoe back to normalcy. But cautiously, and I’ll keep your technique in my arsenal. Thank you for the good thoughts! xo (from a distance)

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