There is nothing more disdainful than the onset of a cold in the middle of spring.
Over the last few days the sun has been dousing East Grinstead with an abundance of rays, leading to a heightened anticipation for the summer months. Would you believe it, there were even whispers of heading down to the beach! In April! And who can blame them? By the time spring finally leaps into action, everyone is crossing their fingers for warm weather. But although I was basking outdoors and enjoying the immense satisfaction of wearing shorts and not feeling a bit nippy for the first time, I was also struggling with a blocked nose and constant sneezing. If I even dared to leave the house without a box of tissues, I was done for.
It doesn’t help that my Dad, who often works from home, is also stricken with the virus, although the combined pressure and stress from a formidable workload has made his spell far worse. The constant coughing from his study could give the sound effects department for Jurassic Park a run for their money, and whenever I ask him how he is his reply is low and hoarse, which doesn’t exactly reinforce his assurance that he’s “getting by”. But that’s the problem with the common cold in 2015; we are all too aware of its symptoms, and we know how best to treat it- rest, plenty of fluids and eat healthily- but instead we take it for granted that we will simply “get better.”
In this instance, the fact my Dad works from home is both a blessing and a curse. On a positive note, he doesn’t need to go into the office in any case, meaning there is no risk of him passing on the virus to other workers and making them fall behind with their workloads. On the downside, it’s even easier for him to hobble down the landing to his study and get on with his work- for if he doesn’t do it, who will? Shrinking work forces mean there is no one to pick up the slack. In this day and age, we simply cannot afford to be ill.
Maybe I just worry about my Dad too easily; I mean surely I should be getting some rest too? The difficulty is that I don’t feel like I need it. After all, the severity of the common cold can range so widely, and the general advice is that only you yourself know when you’re fit enough to resume work and regular activities. Of course, if I was feeling particularly lazy, I would use the cold as a way to spend the day in bed cuddled up with a hot water bottle; lord knows it would be a good chance to immerse myself in all the shows I want to watch on Netflix. But thankfully I know better than that, or at least my conscience does, and after persevering it feels like I have made it over the hill. What did I have to be worried about in the first place?
Nothing I suppose; it was only the common cold, after all. But as my Dad sits spluttering next door, I can’t help but wonder how severe it has to be before we finally say enough is enough.