The 5 Stages of Having a Cold

by Kara LaReau
Originally Published: 
Box of Kleenex as pat of the five stages of having a cold
1. Denial

Uh-oh. Is that a tickle in my throat? No, it can’t be. I’ve been taking care of my poor, sick husband for the past week, but I’ve had him quarantined in our bedroom the whole time, while I’ve slept on the couch, like the selfless Florence Nightingale I am. There’s a bottle of hand sanitizer in every room, and I’ve been using it religiously. I’ve also been eating right, drinking lots of liquids, taking my vitamins, and sleeping soundly. I am a healthy person. There is no way I am catching this cold.

2. Anger

I hate my husband for giving me this cold. After an entire week of waiting on that germy bastard, this is the thanks I get? My throat is raw, my eyes are watery, and with what little energy I have left, I literally have to show him how to boil water to make me some tea. I also (and mostly) hate myself, as I am unable to take care of my son, do anything around the house, write, or binge-watch House of Cards. That last one really stings. I’m sure that Claire Underwood can stave off a cold using sheer force of will — and that even when she does succumb to illness, she is resplendent in her white silk La Perla pajamas.

3. Bargaining

Please-please-please don’t let my toddler catch this. There can be only one sick, whiny baby in the house, and right now it’s gonna be me. If I can keep my son germ-free, I promise I will do all the chores I’ve been putting off. Even cleaning the refrigerator is preferable to dealing with a sick child when I’m under the weather — though, in my condition, trying to wrangle a playful, rambunctious child is not much better.

4. Depression

I’ll never know what it feels like to breathe through my nose again. Also, I think my sinuses are about to explode into my eye sockets. My mother calls me and insinuates that I’m sick because I haven’t used enough hand sanitizer. I’m too weak to argue. The days are long and full of Caillou and Daniel Tiger. The nights are long and full of “productive” coughing.

5. Acceptance

I haven’t showered in three days, and I’ve ingested nothing but applesauce and Whole Foods chicken soup doused with sriracha. My husband seems horrified by my shambling, mucilaginous form. I barely care that he’s been eating McDonald’s for dinner all week, and that my little one is now eating his crayons. At least they have appetites. Despite all this, a tiny part of me remains hopeful that someday, I will feel better, and might actually look back on this experience and laugh. Maybe, someday, I’ll even write about it. But that day is not today. Today, I’m giving up. I’m closing my eyes, lying back on my bed of snotty tissues, and asking the Lord to take me away. And by “the Lord,” I mean NyQuil.

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