January is not really an important month, but it is the first month of the calendar year. That makes it the beginning of a new tax year, the start of another quarter, the reason we buy new calendars, and the time when I get another flu shot and begin a new cold with sinus draining, sniffles, coughing, and just feeling lousy. This does not recommend January as the exciting new start of anything useful, except to get through it as quickly as possible (AQAP).
Contemplating a cold brings the worst foreboding of all to anyone who sings. It means that you have no control over your voice, and its normal sound. The notes that should issue don’t always cooperate and with the addition of a stuffy head, everything sounds different and “off” anyway. Nothing good can come of this. Your work can come to a halt and your normal routine becomes nonexistent. It seems that there is nothing to do but wait it out. Or else be proactive and attack the cold. Go after it with everything possible.
There are so many cold remedies that the mere thought can bring on a major headache. Start with the things we used when we were young, the natural cures. Vicks, herbal tea, echinacea, whiskey, cough medicines of all kinds, heating pads, inhalers, pills, and almost any combination of the above ingredients have been recommended and used for generations. Sometimes some of them work, and sometimes they don’t work. It always seems to take the same amount of time to get through the cold whether we medicate or not.
So exactly how do we wait out the cold? One way is just to feel miserable, and cough and sneeze and plod along as if everything were normal. And make everyone else sick who is near to you. This is the “misery loves company” approach. No one likes either you or this approach. The most humane alternative is to take some time off from whatever kind of work that you do. Your co-workers appreciate this, but it can become very annoying to whomever is stuck at home with you. Coughing, sneezing, watching TV and expecting service doesn’t last very long. But doing this while reading a book in a spare bedroom with the door closed might work better for awhile. Or checking into a hotel. Alone time with your misery seems to be the answer that works for everyone around you.
So at last you are alone with your miserable cold. Now what works? Books, music, television, phone, iPad, iPod, etc? All of these are short term fixes. There is really only one answer. Sleep. And plenty of fluids. Dreaming is good. But be careful of ear worms. They can be devastating when you are already miserable. So, take a drowsy pill and try for dreamless sleep. Not only will you be happy when this is all over, but you will still have your friends, coworkers, and your marriage. So the light at the end of the tunnel for me seems to be February. And looking forward to Valentine’s Day.