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February 04, 2004: Better living through chemistry

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Monday morning I woke up completely in the thrall of the winter crud. Ugh. I called in sick, then crawled back into bed and spent most of the day curled up under the blankets, occasionally honking up more snot than any nose should ever be physically able to produce. Apparently this thing is making the rounds and knocking people out everywhere - three of Richard's coworkers were out with it on Monday and Sunday afternoon two of our bible study group members were also complaining of the same sore throat and head stuffiness I was coming down with. So at least I was not alone in my being sick. Small comfort, that.

By the time Richard got home I had slightly more energy, enough to make it to the airport and meet my mom's plane from Chicago, where she got to do the nifty go-through-customs dance on her way back from Germany, and I kept her company (albeit sniffly company) on her drive home so she wouldn't fall asleep on the road after being up for 24 hours. And then I crawled back into bed and crashed again because oh yes, being sick with the winter crud is just oodles of fun.

Yesterday I felt marginally enough better that I decided to go into work, if only because I knew there was a brand new writing assignment waiting for me that I wanted to get started on, as well as a lengthy teleconference that I really wanted to attend. I tried to make it the whole day, but eventually just gave up and went home around 2, which I am sure pleased my coworkers to no end, since this meant they no longer had to listen to me blowing my nose. And on the way home I finally broke down and stopped by the store to buy some more decongestants. I didn't really want to take them because I remember what happened the last time, but yesterday afternoon I didn't really have much choice, so I gave up. An hour after I took it, I could feel my nose finally clearing up, and my energy started to return, and I started to feel cautiously optimistic that perhaps this time I wouldn't have that really cool side effect of -

Wham. Wrong. It hit me like a ton of bricks at about 8pm, and after that it was a lost cause. I was up until midnight, wired and completely wide-awake. Even when I finally managed to get to sleep, every time I rolled over I was immediately wide-awake again. The alarm buzzed this morning and I did my usual smacking of the snooze button, but it was only a futile gesture. My brain was ready for action. It was time to Wake Up and Get Moving, because to my screwed up metabolism, decongestants are the next best thing to either popping speed or sucking down about ten pots of extra strong coffee in rapid succession, but without that heart-racing thing that caffeine gives me if I've had too much. Also, and perhaps more important than the whole pinging-off-the-walls effect, I can breathe without making lovely music through my nose. Is this stuff great or what?

But hey, at least I have discovered a way to combat the early morning lethargy that's been plaguing me lately. Just pop one of these little suckers and for the next 24 hours I am wide awake and ready to go, go, go. There is also that little unpleasant dry mouth effect (because after all, the whole point of the decongestant is to dry out everything. And I do mean everything), but hey! I am SOOOOO wide-awake!

On the down side, I did not bring another pill with me to work today, which means that the last one started to wear off before the end of the day and I spent a miserable remaining hour or so at work getting progressively more and more stuffed up before I could go home and take another one and start the cycle of ping-ping-ping all over again.

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