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Zak of All Trades: Seasonal sickness isn't all bad, right?

September 20, 2013

It all started with a little bit of soreness in my joints on Tuesday afternoon.

In all honesty, I was hoping that it was just a change in the atmospheric pressures or something, indicating rain that night, that was causing my pain.

Alas, it was what I expected, and Wednesday morning, I woke up with a case of the sniffles.

Being sick is something that I typically don't look forward to — obvious, right? — but something that I've gotten used to.

First of all, I have a birthday approaching, and I'm almost always sick on my birthday and on Christmas. Charming existence, right? Well, if that's my worst problem, I suppose I'll take it.

But it's not just on special days; I'm also akin to getting sick when seasons are changing, because I tend to not wear a jacket when I should.
In the first days of fall — my favorite season — I go jacketless thinking that surely it's not cold enough to risk making me sick yet. Wrong.

And in the spring — my other favorite season — I always put the jacket away far too soon, thinking it's warm enough I won't catch a cold. Wrong, again.

So, being sick is something I've grown accustomed to. I still don't like it, but I put up with it.

My colds always start out the same way — in one nostril.

In a way, I suppose I'm lucky, because it always starts with one stuffed nostril and one clear one. This was Wednesday's gig.

You could hear it in my voice. I was a bit congested and sounded like I was "starting to get sick," as so many would say.

"I'm already there," would be my typical response.

But, after pumping through a box of tissues bought just for the cause during my work hours on Wednesday, I made it home in one piece and feeling pretty functional.

But as I lay me down to sleep, I could tell Phase 2 of the sickness was just around the corner, which is exactly why I chugged a dose of NyQuil before heading to bed.

The NyQuil did it's job, and I slept quite well — and fairly comfortably — through the evening, and through most of the morning.

At 11 a.m. Thursday, I woke with a full day of work ahead of me and with my cold having moved to Phase 2 — the other nostril.

Again, I was expecting this and was actually a bit glad it worked this way.

After watching its counterpart run the entirety of the previous day, my left nostril decided it was its turn to get in on the action, and all day Thursday, it gave right nostril a run for its money.

In the end, I used more tissues in Phase 1, but Phase 2 came with the groggy feeling too, so I'm not sure which one ultimately won out.

With that said, though, I made it through Thursday with a little bit of caffeine and a few tissues, so I was feeling pretty confident that the cold was ready to move on to its third and final phase by Friday.

I was right, and Friday morning brought my least favorite part of the cold — the dry, sore throat.

My colds always come in these three phases, and I was glad that it had progressed this quickly, but I was pretty bummed that this phase was here. It's a double-edged sword, because I hate this phase, but it's almost always the last one, too. So, it's hard not to welcome it, at least a bit.

So, as I sit here writing my column on Friday afternoon, I'm hoping that this phase only lasts as long as its fellow phases — 1 and 2 — and that by tomorrow, I'm feeling myself again.

That's just it, though. This cold actually got me to thinking.

I've had worse colds, and throughout the duration of this one, I've at least been able to get out of bed and go to work — quarantined as I may have been — and get some work done.

But what I was pondering was this: "If I were never sick, I'd never know just how good I usually have it."

If I never caught the "common cold," I'd never stare at the ceiling wishing I could "just breathe through both nostrils like I normally do."

A lot of times, normal gets a bad reputation, but on days like Wednesday and Thursday, I'd like nothing more than to be my normal self.

I guess you could say Friedrich Nietzsche and Kelly Clarkson were right: What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not going around hoping to catch cold and flu bugs left and right, but when I do catch them, I suppose I can at least use them as a reminder of how good I have it when things are "normal."

No promises I'm as cheerful about it if I'm still sick on Sunday, though!

Zak Lantz is the editor of The Spirit and is looking into investing in stock in Kleenex.

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