For the last couple of days I’ve been fighting a nasty cold, the kind where it feels like shards of glass are at the back of your throat and your forehead weighs more than a pregnant elephant.
Yesterday at work, I told G— (our desks face each other) that if I started hacking uncontrollably not to worry. I was just having a routine coughing fit. And telling her that reminded me of an episode I had a few years ago.
Ikuni was taking dance at the time and her school was rehearsing of a mini-version of The Nutcracker that they performed each December. The hallway outside the practice room was jammed with backpacks, leg warmers, and ballet moms. I had stationed myself near the door, so I could watch the dances. That, I would come to learn, was a mistake.
Like now, I had a cold, and every so often I’d get an irresistible tickle in my throat. I’d armed myself with a bag of Hall's cherry cough drops, thinking they would be enough. But, no. Right in the middle of the pas de deux (when everyone was crowded near the door, trying to see if the cavalier could lift the sugar plum fairy all the way up before his arms gave out), it grabbed me. A tickle so monstrous, no cough drop on earth could constrain it.
I decided to quickly find a bathroom where I could cough in peace. That was easier thought than done. Instead, I inched my way through the gauntlet of mothers, while choking and spluttering, nose running and tears streaming. One after another, concerned women would ask, “Are you okay?” and all I could do was wave and nod and just keep moving, slowly.
I never did make it to the bathroom, but I did find a water fountain where, after guzzling off and on for about five minutes, the tickle finally subsided. After that, I took a water bottle with me whenever I had a cold. It worked better than cough drops. And I also made sure I had a clearly defined escape plan.
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Addendum: while typing the above post, I think I discovered something even better for a tickly throat than bottled water—an ice cold Seagram’s Pineapple Coconut Calypso Colada flavored cooler. Highly recommended.