Friday, July 12, 2013

Coughing at midnight: an open letter to my summer cold.

[NOTE: this is yet another installment in the saga of my summer cold. I noted to a friend last night that this cold felt both karmic and punitive. Yes, I am ascribing motive to my ailment. Anyway.]

Dear my summer cold,

Things that keep you up at night can feel like a curse. I have often felt, when in the grip of an insomnia, that my own body is not my friend. I've tried, though, to shift that point of view, to see the occasional sleepless hours as a gift of quiet, time to think, a clear space. The last two nights, though, were not gifts, my summer cold, when you and your fits of coughing, brief but epically intense, tore me from my bed, and sleep, and needed rest.

The first night, I read several chapters in a spy novel and drank more ginger tea. Last night, I thought I would prepare by gargling with salt water (time-honored home remedy) and keeping a couple of lozenges by my bedside. But no. Same coughing, same intensity.

I got up. Bruiser lay on the couch on which I wanted to rest. We did not, precisely, come to an accommodation. He allowed me to settle in, then we sat/lay there together. Which was sweet, but not particularly restful. I coughed a little and read some stuff. He sighed and slept.

I went back to bed and fell asleep, but woke this morning feeling like I hadn't slept enough, because, in point of fact, I hadn't slept enough. I went back to sleep until 9:30.

My summer cold, I wish I could understand why your coughing seems to confine itself to the late, then early, hours, when I should be, want to be sleeping. This brings me back to the point: is my body trying to punish me? Is it trying to teach me a lesson? If so, what lesson? If it's trying to tell me I need to take better care of myself, I know this lesson already. I am trying to spend the summer enacting it. But a cold that lingers like a doom does not help in this regard.

This is the problem with your rigid law-and-order, eye-for-an-eye mentality, my summer cold. A little mercy is in order sometimes. It's more productive.

I'm begging you,



  1. And a productive cough is what you want. Sorry, HT. Can't imagine what you did karma-wise to deserve a summer cold. Get thee hence, demonic cough!

  2. Oh Hightouchy, I'm aching for you. No one should have a cold in the summer first of all, let alone one that keeps them coughing in the night.
    Also, I don't think this self-blame could possibly be good for you. You take good care of yourself and your people and your planet. Tell your immune system you deserve better!



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