Cold at Christmas

In the Good Old Days, when a pint of beer cost pennies rather than pounds, people caught colds. No longer. These days, you “get a virus”. I am not sure why this change from “cold” to “virus” has occurred but it seems everyone is at it. “I’m off work with a virus,” they say. Or “There’s a nasty virus going around.”

Colds always did evince a variety of symptoms and no two infections were ever quite the same. Whether use of the word “virus” is somehow intended to explain this variety of symptoms and levels of seriousness, I don’t know. Are there really different “viruses” or are they all the same species, or at least related species, like the flu virus that cunningly changes its coat every so often to fool the immune system?

I am old-fashioned and when I find I have a sore throat, a slight fever and a runny nose, I still say I have a “cold” and have no plans to change this verbal habit which has served me well enough until now.

Be that as it may, Tigger and I both have colds. On Thursday evening we both said we had a dry cough and on Friday morning found we had the classic symptoms of a sore throat and runny nose. In my experience, such synchronicity is rare. Couples usually catch cold serially rather than concurrently, passing the infection back and forth between them like a slow ping-pong match until one is robust enough to shake it off. As Tigger remarked, the problem with both having it is that there isn’t one sick person to be pampered and one well person to do the pampering: both are ill so who will pamper us?

For me, this has added to the shock of Christmas. Christmas always catches me more or less unawares. On Friday I had to write the date on something. I wrote “December 21st 2007”, then did a double take: 21! Christmas is only 4 days away!

I prefer life to pursue an even course, much like sailing down a gentle river perhaps. Events such as Christmas interrupt life, rather like sailing round a bend to find a weir cast across my path. Panic! Throw out the anchor!

Don’t misunderstand. I have nothing against Christmas per se. As I have said elsewhere, any occasion for a party is a good one. The religious nuts can moan and complain but if the rest of us want to relax and over-indulge, we have a perfect right to do so. I intend to relax and over-indulge with the best of them. Despite having a cold.

Last year we spent Christmas in Margate. We stayed in a hotel and found a little cafe that was open over Christmas where we could have breakfast and lunch. This year we are staying at home, enjoying our refurbished flat and, above all, the lovely central heating. We shall travel down to Margate on one or two days to see family, the train fare costing less than a night in the hotel.

Having a cold over Christmas is a nuisance but look on the bright side: we at least have a good excuse to pamper one another so it’s not all bad!


About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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5 Responses to Cold at Christmas

  1. emalyse says:

    Bad news about the synchronised colds. Usually my partner and I yoyo our colds and are rarely virally in synch (I must stop this pseudo corporate speak).Here’s wishing you both as pleasant a Xmas as you can manage whilst suffering mutual colds. There was a time when I was a brow beaten employee of whip wielding masters that Xmas time off would always see me with a cold as my body went into de-stress shock. It was easier to take the Xmas work shifts.You’re right about the word ‘virus’ becoming the new catch-all for everything from a sore-throat through to the full screaming ad-dabs.

  2. athinkingman says:

    I am sorry to hear about your colds. Mutual pampering in a centrally-heated flat sounds very cosy. I wish you both a happy Christmas and a speedy recovery.

  3. SilverTiger says:

    Thanks both for your good wishes. We are having a lazy day today, despite having lots of things we ought to do, in the hope that this will hasten recovery.

    Time for tea, I think! 🙂

  4. Ted Marcus says:

    If you went (unnecessarily) to the doctor about your “cold,” the entry in your chart would probably read “URI.” That’s the official medicalese term for what you have– an “upper respiratory infection.” Since something like 200 different viruses can cause “cold” symptoms, it’s really impractical and pointless to be any more specific than “URI.” It is therefore possible that you and Tigger coincidentally got two different viruses, or else you were simultaneously infected with the same one. Alternatively, it could be some evil spirit infesting your house, for which the appropriate ritual would be in order to banish it. I think viruses are a more likely culprit, however.

    That said, I definitely sympathize with you and Tigger. ‘Tis the season for viruses. The last two consecutive years I came down with the aptly-named ILI (“influenza-like illness”) right before New Year’s Eve. Writhing in bed with a high fever begging for death is hardly an appropriate way to spend what is supposed to be a night of celebration. So be glad you only have URI and not ILI.

    I had a flu jab both times, so this surely was one of innumerable other viruses that cause the same misery. I can perhaps explain how I got it two years ago, since I had spent much of the previous week in very crowded Las Vegas. But last year I barely left my house during that week, so I’m at a total loss to explain where the virus came from. As you can imagine, I’m counting down the remaining days of the year with a definite sense of foreboding and trepidation.

    I’m sorry that the virus (or viruses) marred your Saturnalia and Solstice. But with sufficient mutual pampering in a heated flat, you could well be feeling all better by Christmas, or perhaps by Kwanzaa.

  5. SilverTiger says:

    We’ve had our fly jabs so, all being well, that’s one misery we won’t have to suffer. On the other hand, I read in the paper that one of the flu experts is predicting that flu jabs will be less effective this year. Ho Hum.

    All being well our colds will not spoil Christmas too much. We plan to spoil and pamper ourselves.

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