Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Is it just me or have coughs and colds become more virulent, lengthy and painful in the past few years? Sure sure, we get given antibiotics if a cold lingers on for too long and it's clear that a throat or chest infection has kicked in or there is too much chunky, lime-green snot on tap, but I honestly don't remember colds being that harsh when I was growing up.

Whilst at the moment we have news of the latest space shuttle's trip to the moon with 'our' Andy Thomas floating about in it doing some sort of mechanical work, the old saying of 'We can send Man to the moon, but can't cure the common cold' seems particularly relevant.

'Our' Andy, who's about as Australian as Greg Norman and speaks about as much strine as Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon, is obviously a pretty smart bloke. He's participating in a huge NASA program that supposedly costs more than the African continent's overseas debt to tootle back over to the moon and around the earth a few times. Why, I have no idea. What on earth are they going to see, feel or discover that hasn't already been done during so many visits before? It's hardly going to be a future competitor against places like the Bahamas as a fun holiday spot is it?

Shouldn't Andy and his buddies be focussing their efforts on curing colds, or eliminating them right from the outset? In the past five years or so, I've seen strong, fit and healthy people deteriorate into stooped and exhausted shells who can barely be understood behind the head full of mucus they're having to lug around from place to place. This snotty and coughy state is no longer able to shaken off with a hot honey and lemon drink and a day off, but carries on for weeks and weeks and weeks. The suffering person has, by this stage, completely given up on common social courtesies and will simply trumpet their nose into a tissue with a noise not unlike that of a distressed elephant lost from its herd in a vain effort to rid themselves of a mugful of mucus. I'm sure I'm not the only person who has seen these poor bastards blow holes in their tissues due to the volume of phlegm that's been flung out of their facial flutes.

And the coughing....! I was convinced that my husband Dean was about to hawk up a lung last week. He looked like the Marlboro Man in his retirement years with a puffy red and sweaty face from the effort of it all. And there was no rest for him - or us, his loving family - at night either. Once his sweats and shakes had subsided, his throat was revving up for its turn in the spotlight. Or should I say soundscape. With his snot-filled noggin, his stuffed-up chest, regular puffs from his inhaler and struggling to breathe, that fleshy little punching bag at the back of his throat was in fine fettle. (What is a 'fettle' anyway?). The resultant snores sounded like an outboard motor that had been stuck in a swamp.

A loving jab in his back with my elbow did not nothing to stop the noise - even when he rolled on to his side - so he was kicked out of the marital bed and exiled into the spare room. Only out of concern for his own welfare, you understand. With eighty year old double brick walls and two solid-wooden doors between us, his snores were now muffled to the mere level of a leaf blower at my bedside table.

It's so easy when you're not the one with the cold to think "Ah, it's just a cold, stop being a wimp," but when it's you with the cold, all you want to do is shove two test-tubes into your nostrils to let them drip freely and save you the bother of wearing away your face with continued tissue wipes.

So Andy, lovey puss, sweetie darling honey boo - would you please consider parking that shuttle indefinitely and finding a way to eliminate this dreadful affliction. You'll get more gratitude and news coverage than if you farted in the capsule.

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