Tag Archives: common cold

Lame Adventure 415: Head Games with Head Colds

This week I’ve been gradually recovering from a cold named Colossus. If it were a movie it would be in IMAX 3D. My most special effect is a thundering phlegm-filled cough that strikes fear in every subway rider standing in my soggy, heavy breathing presence. I have wondered what germy New Yorker passed this monster onto me. How I wish I had deflected that pass. I recall my blood running cold when a store clerk suffering stage four sniffles rubbed her nose as she handed me my change. But that was a few weeks before I fell ill. When I returned home from that encounter, I played it safe: I bathed in bleach.

My concentration has had lapses. I’m more focused on sneezing, wheezing, hacking and hoping one day my ears will unclog. Then I can once again savor my fellow commuter’s iPod leaking tinny percussive sounds. Sounds played by a small orchestra. Possibly an orchestra comprised of a herd of hamsters bred with minute opposable thumbs that have discovered the triangle.

My thoughts are all over the place. When I was in the vitamin and health section of my market trying to remember what I needed while coughing that was when my thoughts left the building. It was as if The Head Thought declared:

The Head Thought: I don’t know about you guys, but I’m out of here.

Apparently, all of my other thoughts followed that charismatic thinker. So I completely blanked on getting cough drops. Now thoughtless, I impulsively picked up a box of green tea that has done zilch to silence my cough.

Product placement.

Product placement.

The next time I went to the store I repeatedly said to myself “get cough drops” like a mantra. I got the cough drops. I brought them home. I placed them on my table and then my thoughts apparently went on spring break because I forgot to take the cough drops with me when I went out. If there were a medical procedure where I could have a package of cough drops sewn discreetly into my body, if it was covered by my insurance and did not cause too big a bulge, I’d seriously consider it. If there could be room for a pack of tissues and lip balm, better yet.

I responded to the email from a House Manager at a theater company who scheduled me to usher an off-Broadway play on May 17th by declaring, “Thank you for scheduling me to usher on March 17th.” That matter has since been resolved. I assured him that “I am on top of my game this 2004 theater season”. I suspect that he is now completely convinced that I’m senile.

When I was returning home from doing my laundry last night I saw a fireplace mantle strategically placed over a city trash can on the street corner. I continued walking, certain that my flake-filled head had imagined this. Then, I walked back. Here’s proof that I remain somewhat lucid in my delirium. But maybe not the greatest picture taker while holding a laundry bag. At least I wasn’t coughing.

"Hon, what should we do with this old mantle? do you think one of the kids would want it or should I just throw it out on West End Avenue?"

“Hon, what should we do with this old mantle? Do you think one of the kids would want it or should I just throw it out on West End Avenue?”

Lame Adventure 205: Sniffling and Sneezing

After a day of denial where my loyal friend, Coco, insisted I was fine and that my sniffling and sneezing had been caused by exposure to mold, a conclusion likely reached as she reflected on the mold-covered bathroom in my think-tank department, Tile Labeling.  Yet, that problem has been eradicated.  Recently, Elsbeth, my lord and master, was motivated to have the mold removed after I said the twelve magical words every employer longs to hear:

Me:  Our bathroom’s a real health hazard, Boss.  Do we want a lawsuit?

Fast-forward to a few days ago, as Coco and I are sitting in a watering hole pounding beers while I sniffle, sneeze and wonder aloud:

Me:  Do you think I’m sick?

Coco (reasoning):  No, you’re fine.  You live in New York City.  The whole city’s covered in mold.

I have quit denying the obvious, and for the first time since February 2010, I have admitted that I am actually suffering a cold.  Even though this is not a monster, phlegm-filled, butt-kicker of a cold, I opted to stay indoors where I sneezed and sniffled for most of the July 4th holiday.  While on a tissue replenishment run, I did take a few photographs.  This one made me think that if Milton and I had ever mated, our spawn would have been this creature.

"You can take my picture, but do not, I repeat, do not photograph my left side!"

Meanwhile, Coco emailed me a slightly more dramatic shot as she observed the barges in the river that would launch the fireworks over the Hudson that night.

Waiting for the works!

When I returned to work on Tuesday, still sniffling and sneezing, I emailed Milton the details about my cold that had primarily nestled in one eye:

Me: It seems completely confined to my left eye where I feel like I’m holding three gallons of fluid.

Milton: Yuck! I have so many different allergies now that I have no idea when I have a cold.

To take my mind off my flowing eye and my sniffling and sneezing, Coco emailed me a video she shot of the fireworks display I did not attend because I was too busy – sniffling and sneezing.

Lame Adventure 14: Sick and Sick of Snow

For the past eight days I have been suffering a common cold.  Therefore, I have been feeling rather lackluster.  At first, I was in denial of the obvious that I was falling ill.  The first signs of my oncoming illness were nasal congestion and sneezing, that I initially experienced in a screening room last week.  I assumed that I was sitting near someone with a cat, since I am deathly allergic to kitties, and this is a normal reaction I have to cat people.  My brother, Axel, is a bonafide cat-man. Whenever I’m in his presence, I sneeze frequently.  Oddly, though, when Lola and I saw the play Grey Gardens at the Walter Kerr Theater three years ago, I had a sneezing fit when several cats were projected on a screen at the rear of the stage.  Lola handled my distress with her usual compassion.  She bellowed in a loud whisper, “You’re looking at pictures of cats!  Stop sneezing!”


What I have now is definitely a cold for I am in my very own no cat zone sanctum sanctorum sneezing thunderously as snow falls at a steady clip outside my window.  This has been a very snow-packed winter.  It is definitely not one of those years where we’ve only had a pathetic dusting and we’re all saying knowledgably to one another, “Global warming.”  As I look out my window, I’m seeing vivid proof of global cooling, as well as major roof shoveling.  Mounds of snow are flying off my roof and landing with loud thuds.  One of the guys who maintains my building is shoveling snow off the roof, proving that there are worse jobs out there than being the sap who cleans out the Ricola horn.

Ugh job.

My friend, Roz, who has just recovered from a cold, emails me: try a neti pot – i hear they are great.  i have one but have never used it.

I email her back: They make me nervous. I fear all the crap I’ll try to flush out will somehow slide down my throat instead of out the other nostril and I’ll gag endlessly.

Roz responds: I understand about the neti pot – I bought it 2 years ago and have been afraid to use it.  I take it out and look at it periodically.  I took it out this morning and put it on the counter.  It’s still in its box, though.

The superhero in me is now challenged.

I am on a mission to conquer the neti pot, but first I have to figure out where to get one.  Roz lives in New Jersey, so she either got hers there or maybe ordered it on line.  I want an immediate neti pot.  I approach Elsbeth, my boss, who is sitting at her desk eating a salad.

Me:  Hey Elsbeth, do you know anything about where to get a neti pot?

Elsbeth puts down her fork, rises from her chair, digs into her massive satchel, removes an 800 page manual on neti pots, and hands it to me.

Elsbeth:  You can get one at Rite-Aid.

Since we have a Duane Reade down the block from our office, I decide to try there first.  I make a beeline to the blow-hole section of the store, snag the cheaper Duane Reade brand neti pot, and hightail it back to work.  As much as I would like to resume breathing at my earliest convenience, I refrain from trying out my neti pot in the Tile department restroom.  I wait until I am in the privacy of my own abode where I can indulge in obnoxiously disgusting behavior guilt-free.

I read the neti pot instructions three times.  It is recommended starting with a half bag of solution mixed in warm water.  My proboscis is the most D cup aspect of my person, and it occurs to me that I probably require two bags of solution per nostril.  Therefore, I commence with one bag.  It might be more to my benefit to use a neti kettle, but for now this appears to be a one size fits all noses product.

I diligently prepare the solution per directions, and insert the spout into my right nostril, tilt my head accordingly, and as I wait for something to happen, on cue, I sneeze voluminously and the sink, mirror and me are all immersed in neti pot solution.

I change my shirt, dry off my bathroom, and mix a second pot of solution, when the phone rings.  The caller is my friend, Rhonda, who asks, “How are you feeling?”  I tell her I don’t have time to talk, but we’re on the phone for half an hour.

For a third time, I mix a pot of solution, insert the spout into my right nostril, tilt my head, and fluid starts raining out of my face.  Finally, neti pot success!  I then repeat the process with my left nostril, and encounter a second victorious deployment.  I can shout from my snow-cleared rooftop that I have conquered the neti pot. I can email my friends and family about this achievement. I can even blog about it lamely since my imagination is essentially in mothballs right now.

Only drawback to trendy nasal irrigation, it’s not very magical, and I do not feel much different.