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Laura Kessel is managing editor of The News-Herald in Willoughby. She writes a weekly column and shares her thoughts here.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Time of the year for all the hacking to begin

It’s December.

That can only mean one thing.

It’s time for me to cough.

I’m perfectly healthy in every other way. It’s just that every once in a while, I launch into a coughing jag that follows a desperate gasp for air.

But I’m fine. Really.

I’d tell you all about it, but I can’t make it through two sentences without coughing.

No, really, I’m fine.

There’s no fever, no chills, no stuffiness, no chest or lung pain.

It’s just a cough.

Trouble is, it hits every year about this time and lasts a good two months.

At least, that’s what’s happened the past two years. The first time it happened, I headed down to South Carolina for a week on a story assignment, and it sort of dried up. It wasn’t warm down there, but the air is more dry, so it helped.

But, about 10 minutes after the plane landed — BOOM! — the cough came back with a vengeance.

It was almost like it whispered to me, “hello, old friend, did you miss me?”

I tried to be pre-emptive this time, sucking down a package of pills to remove whatever is causing the tickle in the back of my throat.

No dice.

So, I’m mainlining decaf coffee in an attempt to keep the throat clear of this phlegm ball that’s made itself at home once again.

It doesn’t really bother me that much, because, as I said, I’m not sick any other way.

In fact, most of the time, I forget about it when I’m sitting around or at my desk working. But when I go to speak, after a few words, I’m hacking.

It’s right about now that you’re probably wondering why I haven’t been to the doctor yet?

It’s not a cold. It’s not the flu. It’s nothing antibiotics could treat.

Why waste the time or the money to head in to the doctor’s office only to have them send me out with a suggestion that I pick up some cough syrup with -tussin at the end, or a pack of Mucinex to clear out the phlegm.

I already beat them to the punch on the second part of that — taking a full pack of the extra-strength variety for a little over a week.

And, yet I still cough.

I’m beginning to treat the December cough like I do my sweaters: I put them away in spring, and dread their arrival in late fall.

Maybe my next step will be the -tussin aisle at the drug store.

If you haven’t been there in a while, it’s a complicated journey that usually involves gazing for what seems like an eternity at boxes with terms such as “expectorant” and “suppressant.”

I’m not a doctor, but I periodically play one in the aisles of area drug stores.

Over time, I’ve learned one of those words means “cough stuff up” and the other one means “put aside.”

It’s which is which that sometimes confuses me. I’m sure you’re the same.

Well, not if you’re a doctor. And if you are, can you give me a call to tell me what to do about this ridiculous cough?

I’m sure you’ll be able to diagnose me in a matter of seconds, because as soon as I say “hello,” you’ll know what I’m talking about.

I’m going to excuse myself. It’s time to cough.
Twitter: @Lauranh


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