Women not the weaker sex when it comes to colds

Posted Monday, Nov. 04, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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“There’s nothing worse than a ‘ummer code,” Mr. Sniffles says through a stuffy nose. I hear him mumble as I pass into the kitchen with a basket of used tissues from the computer room. Awe, poor thing.

“Oh yes there is,” I say.

“Every year I get this nasty code right at the end of the ‘eason,” he goes on, wiping his drippy nose on a paper towel I conveniently tucked down the front of his T-shirt. He sniffs hard, wrinkling his nose to no avail.

“But there is,” I counter, looking back into the living room at the mound of quilts covering the body in the easy chair.

“Ya’ know,” he blows hard, “I can’t even sleep.”

Me either. He coughs in his elbow and looks up at me with watery blood-hound eyes. I hand him a cough drop. He shakes his head, hitting it with the heels of his hands trying to stop the ringing.

“I feel terrible.” He sniffs again. “Did you say something?” he asks, sticking a finger in his ear like that’s going to help his hearing.

“Can I get you some tea?” I ask.

“I just went,” he answers, “Do you have any bourbon, a little honey, some lemon?” He tries to laughs, coughs and grabs the soggy towel to cover.

I pat his shoulder and leave him sneezing down the front of his shirt. Bourbon, did he say? I might need that myself! Not because I’m thirsty and I certainly don’t have a code, I mean cold, but the big fella I married does.

Yes, there is something worse than a summer cold and he lives in my house. He sleeps in MY bed. He moans. He groans. He reverts to infancy. I am so never THAT sick. Yep, I’m so much better at being ill than he.

“’Udy.” And I was quiet when I tiptoed around him. “I need a glass of water,” cough, cough.

“’Udy, my throat is scratchy can you make me something to scratch it?”

“Why yes, yes I can,” trying to humor the patient, “but I’d just clipped my nails, otherwise I’d be more than happy to reach down your throat and scrape it for you.” I look in the pantry for scratchy food.

There’s no need for conversation here. Silently I just hold up items and get either a pitiful nod or a pathetic shake of the head.

“’Udy,” sniff, sniff, “do we have any ….”

“Any what?”

“I’m cold, I need a blanket. Phew, I’m burning up. Can you turn on the fan, change the channels, feel my forehead, and tell me a story.” Well, maybe not the story part. “What’s for dinner?”

“Let me put some Vicks on your chest so you can breathe, dear, instead of making me get up to get you a throat lozenge.”

“No, no. I hate that. It smells terrible.” Like he can smell anything.

As for me, Vicks, I love the stuff. I slather it all over my body in hopes it will penetrate somewhere and unclog the breathing passageways. See the difference? Do I complain about the smell?

I am able to handle my summer cold with the same energy I exhibit every day. When that alarm goes off, I hit the snooze four or five times and then pop right out of bed ready for a new day. I’m considerate enough to have my Kleenex stuffed up each nostril to avoid the nasal drip. Not piled on the night stand, like someone I know.

Aspirin, who needs it? He says it doesn’t work. I down the bottle.

“Can you take my temperature, I’m burning up.”

I, on the other hand, know when I have a fever. I’m hot. I don’t need a little glass tube to tell me how hot.

I feel his forehead, “You’re ok.” Gee. Reminds me of our daughter when she was 7 and Big Fat Wesley asked her to go trick or treating. She wanted to have a fever, too.

“I ache all over.” Of course he does. That’s because I jump on his chest when he’s asleep. Not really.

“Phew,” he sighs again, “I sure could use a glass of juice. Do we have any bananas?”

Every woman in America keeps juice and fruit at the ready just in case her better half requests it. Or she needs a quick pick-me-up peanut butter and banana sandwich.

My needs are so much simpler. I make chocolate chip cookies (they always make me feel better) and eat as much of the dough as I can, saving the rest for the next day. Do I ask the little fella to go to the store for me? No, need. If there is one thing I always have in the house it’s chocolate chips. I hide them in the freezer so I won’t be tempted. They are, however, delicious frozen.

I do laundry even. How hard is it to put clothes in a machine and turn it on? I’d dust if I could remember where I threw that dust cloth. Gardening, sure. Being out in the heat with a fever and running nose, no problem. Fresh air is good for you.

We women are so much stronger. “Here, honey, can you please open this jar?”

We never complain about not having dinner ready because we order it. We can get our own water if we think it might help and certainly, we don’t having a problem slathering Vicks all over our bodies. Yea for us! Above all, we might even go to the doctor if that pesky ailment last more than a month. We never complain and thoughtful as we are, we sleep in the other bedroom so as not to breath, sneeze, or cough all over our weaker partners. Do you believe all this? It’s true. You know it!

I can tell you, sniff, sniff, I’ve never just lounged around with a summer cold.

“Honey, can you get me that little pillow from the couch?” Really. I don’t need any juice either unless my best friend is going to the store in which case there is a list on the kitchen table. “And pass me those aspirin. I’ll take your blanket, too because you look so much better.” Cough, cough. “My throat is a little scratchy. Oh and don’t set the alarm. I think I’ll sleep in tomorrow.”

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