When a cold isn’t just a cold

Sadly, my exuberant energy of the previous post lasted only 3 days. What followed was a long downslide that ended only yesterday. What caused the downslide? Hard to say, but I stayed up late while I was still feeling good because of a paper deadline and wierdness started the next day. Perhaps I would have recovered from that (as I was still waking up at 5:30, etc), but I was exposed to a cold three days later.

From then on recovery seemed impossible. My headaches returned with a vengence, my energy levels were so variable that I would literally be doing handsprings and cartwheels one moment (yes, literally, don’t you ever feel silly in the spring sun in a playground full of small children? :) and then in such pain and fatigue that I didn’t want to stand up an hour later. My body valiantly fought the cold, with nothing but a sore throat for five days, but then I finally succumbed to a full blown head cold.

What really surprised me is how debilitating a simple cold was, especially in contrast to where I’d been even when fighting it. It was easy to compare since my whole family had the same cold. My lymph nodes were swollen and tender and I spent about 4 hours in bed on the first day, much of that time napping. The next day I was still exhausted, and in fact could not complete a restorative yoga class without removing all positions that were not completely supported and rightside up. This continued for 2-3 more days, with simple things like walking up a flight of stairs or weeding the garden causing me to be out of breath and feel the need to lie down and rest. I may have also developed an ear or sinus infection, as when I tried to do yoga one evening, I caused such pressure to build up in my left year that I was crying with pain and could not sleep for almost 2 hours, even with the help of ibuprofin and sudafed. My lymph nodes were tender for most of this period and my brain was so fuzzy that I had trouble remembering the beginning of a paper I was trying to review by the time I got to the end of it, and couldn’t easily understand the architecture section.

The cough finally ended 2 days ago, and as it left my energy (and mood) picked up again, back to “normal” levels — nothing like my three days of joy, but at least no debilitating fatigue and only occasional headaches each day. Here’s hoping the upward trend will continue (and I won’t be exposed to any more head colds! yeah right :).

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