Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Son of The Cold from Hell, Part I

Prologue About The Blog:
I haven't used this blog in over a year at this point. My thinking has been directed more toward a story series I started at about the same time I skipped out from here. Therefore, I've dropped my personal manifesto to be deep and meaningful here and am simply going to use it as a public journal. I'm not going to be meticulously editing these entries and it will show. The blog will also be more obviously maniacal because I won't be filtering it much for professional quality and I'm maniacal. It's a journal.

The Cold from Hell:
After naming this worst rendition of the common cold at least twenty years ago, I've probably had every new variant for each of those years. However, I haven't had any version of it at this point for nearly three years.

What is a cold? It is an infection of the head/throat/chest/eyes/ears by a virus and only a virus. It is just about always followed by a secondary infection by opportunistic bacteria. Typically the bacteria are already present before the viral infection. They happen to notice the ravaged cells left behind by the virus and have a picnic. Bacteria never start colds. They don't travel around with cold viruses. There is in fact no association with the cold virus except that 'cold' bacteria like to eat what's left over after the virus has ravaged you. Think of them as the ever present clean up crew, ever ready to eat to excess when the opportunity arrives. I'll obsess about our actually quite remarkable symbiosis with bacteria some other time. In the meantime, read the book 'Lives of a Cell' by my hero Lewis Thomas.

It is not an influenza virus. I've had influenza a few times and know. Instead, it is a branch off the Rhinovirus family that has gradually been obtaining the destructive abilities of actual influenza, and then some. I personally have no doubt that with time it will become a new epidemic that will inspire its own yearly inoculation shots. For want of further knowledge about it, I call it a 'pseudo-influenza' virus.

Very much like influenza, the CFH knocks you off your feet with its initial attack. For many years this 'flat out' state lasted for two full days. A few years back, one strain stretched that out by an extra day. The worst aspect of this initial onslaught is the fever. Sleeping each night resulting in me being absolutely soaked in sweat. This is of course accompanied by fairly extreme dizziness and weakness. I also find my appetite drops as well. You know the fever aspect of this cold has ended when the sweats have ended.

What makes it the cold virus 'from Hell' is that it has an extreme and determined backlash after each cycle of infection. In other words, it reinfects healed tissue in repeated onslaughts. Typically the CFH (Cold from Hell) starts in the throat then heads either up or down, to head or chest. The ears and eyes can get walloped any time in-between. There are then brief periods of the victim's recovery, almost as if cured. At that point the virus reverses course, back through the throat to the other end with a full on new onslaught. This back and forth nastiness goes on for several WEEKS. There is no counting the days with the CFH. It goes on for weeks. For years I could tick off five weeks and know it was about to finally die off. In more recent years it had broken the five year barrier to six weeks or beyond.

Again note. This is not influenza. None of the above paragraph fits influenza. Despite the far more vicious and dead attacks of influenza, there are times I almost wish I had influenza instead specifically because the CFH is so damned persistent. And nothing you do stops its persistence. You are forced to wait it out and become beyond exhausted in the process, an prolonged exhaustion that makes influenza seem almost merciful. That's why I call it 'Hell'.

The Son of The Cold from Hell
I first caught what I call 'The Son of' the CFH, on December 5, 2011 while at home in the evening. It occurred when I opened and ate dried mango out of a package from The Philippines. (No, it wasn't Listeria infected mango. Please look elsewhere on the Internet for that subject). I imagine that whoever had handled the bags and/or mango somewhere along the picking, drying and packaging process was profoundly infected with SCFH, The Son of the Cold from Hell. More likely, the initial person infected and infected everyone there en masse, resulting in the dried fruit being heavily dosed with the virus.

Please note that this is a very rugged virus that withstands a lot of outside extremes in temperature and humidity. It takes standard sterilizing techniques to kill it. It doesn't need to ride along with water droplets or land on neutral pH substrates to survive. It lives anywhere people live and breathe, and apparently eat. I didn't breathe this virus. I ate it.

Having discovered my throat as I ate this very nice dried mango, it bit in and started depositing DNA/RNA into my throat cells, turning them into SCFH factories, killing the cells in the process. The cold had begun. I first noticed this the next morning as an achy throat. I did my usual throat clean out routine and the ache dissipated. I subsequently ate more dried mango. The throat ache roared back as worse. I treated it and it receded. I ate more mango. On December 10th, the throat ache was back alongside an entirely new phenomenon in the world of the CFH, a full on attack of everywhere at once. That meant my head, my eyes, my throat and my lungs. All areas were hit together, at the same time, in equal force. Only my ears escaped the effect, thanks mainly to my method of fending off secondary bacterial infection, which is the subject of another article.

It is now December 17th, a week after the onslaught and I am just able to stay on my feet and happily walk around, alert and unencumbered with a cold attack. THAT'S A FULL WEEK of initial onslaught. That's a record for the CFH. It was easily the worst attack ever, the most painful, the most exhausting, the most demoralizing.

IMHO this throws the CFH right out of the rhinovirus family off into a family of its very own. I'm now calling it The Hell Virus. I thought maybe The Hello Virus, sort of sounding like 'Rhino' virus. But that reminded me of cute little Hello Kittie stuff. No way. Remember that sweet little aphorism that goes 'Whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger!" That one goes on the funeral pyre alongside all the other aphorisms celebrating simple-minded thinking. The SCFH doesn't kill you, but you wish it had because it makes you so incredibly weak. And then it comes back. Just kill me, please.

Yes, like its predecessor, The SCFH has the lash back effect. It nailed me early this morning with a relentless bout of coughing. There was nothing there to cough up by this point. Therefore, I have to assume the coughing was from the fact that The SCFH was again attacking my lung cells. Therefore, as per The CFH, I jumped back on my cough medicine as well as head medicine to stop the worst of it.

Part II of this posting will cover The Rest Of The SCFH as well as my medicine regime, for which I am extremely grateful.

BTW List:
- I always cover my mouth & nose when I cough or sneeze. I you don't, there's something wrong with you called 'SELFISHNESS'. Change your ways selfish person. I saw you not care! Why are you alive? Seriously! What is your life for if you allow yourself to be just a disease vector? Reevaluate and respect yourself. Respecting others will result.
- I take baths when I get colds, not showers. I enjoy soaking in fairly hot water. It's good for killing off the secondary bacteria and the humidity is blissful.
- I wash my hands and face all day long when I have a cold. This helps prevent myself spreading the virus all over the house. I like that. But I don't like chapped hands or nose or lips. Therefore, I also moisturize! It's a necessity. Get over the cute and feminine factor guys.
--> If you have a cold out in public and you don't wash your hands and face all day long, there's something wrong with you called 'SELFISHNESS'. See above. Get some self-respect.
--> And yes, this fits you lunatics who don't wash your hands after using the bathroom to relieve yourself. I see you just walking out after taking a dump! Selfish selfish selfish! I pity your lost world. So sad for you, so sad...

Stay healthy kids!