written Monday, November 17, 2008
North Little Rock, AR
Here's a quick update covering the past week.
We arrived here at Burns Park Campground in North Little Rock last Sunday afternoon. The campground is a nice enough place and is close to our ideal camping experience because it is heavily wooded, has clean asphalt roads, and well-separated campsites. However, some sites aren't very level and the park has a neglected feel to it.
Monday and Tuesday were rainy and Dar was getting ready for her trip to Wisconsin. It's become a tradition, with her Mom and Sister, to get together on a long weekend in November and turn the farmhouse into a Christmas cookie factory. I dropped her off at the Little Rock airport on Wednesday and off she went.
Unfortunately, as much as I was looking forward to the time alone and having ALL 300 square feet to myself for a few days, it turned out to be less than what I'd hoped. About the time Dar left, it became clear I was coming down with a cold -- a depressing thought as we've both stayed relatively illness-free since we've been on this journey.
An observation... the phases of having a cold virus:
First, there's an awareness phase. This is that point in time where you're feeling "not quite right". Not bad, mind you. Just not right. You're becoming aware that something's not right.
Then there's the battle phase. Once you're aware a bug has invaded the sanctity of your body, you begin to battle it with everything you can throw at it... orange juice, vitamin C, tinctures of zinc, positive mental attitude, and various herbs, potions, and snake-oil that you've heard other people swear by. The objective is to fight it off... to beat it.
Third, is the capitulation phase. In this phase, the objective changes from one of fighting it off to one of trying to minimize the symptoms. Cold medications, cough medicines, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, decongestants. Most of what these things do is put you in a drugged stupor, which is maybe better living with the full-blown symptoms... I don't know. You hunker down and realize all you can do is let it run it's course.
Fourth, is the climax phase. A cold, like a good novel, usually has a climax... the point at which the block of concrete in your sinus passages is at its maximum, you have a Kleenex or two packed into each nostril, and no medication seems to quell the throbbing in your head. This usually occurs at night, keeps you from sleeping, and causes thoughts that there may actually be some benefits to death.
Lastly, is the healing phase. Once you've passed this "hell night", the healing phase begins. There are some lingering symptoms for a few days, but you feel hope and renewed zest for life that only grows stronger with every wad of yuck blown free from your nasal passages... with every ball of mucus coughed up and liberated from your lungs. For at least a short period of time, as the drug-induced stupor passes, you savor every moment of feeling good, of life, ... of NOT being sick.
I reached capitulation phase on Wednesday night and then climax on Thursday night. Friday, another rainy day, I never stepped foot outside. I tried to read but mostly stared at the TV and felt sorry for myself. By Friday night it became clear that I was starting to heal. I slept soundly for 10 hours and woke to a new day, in more ways than one, on Saturday morning. The sun was lighting up the woods more brightly than any time since we arrived. I was actually starting to feel alive again. I took a long vigorous walk through the park. It felt great.
By the time I picked Dar up at the Little Rock airport on Sunday afternoon, I felt much better. Unfortunately, as we greeted each other near the x-ray machines in security, she informed me that she was in her own capitulation phase. She was somehow able to hold the virus at bay for most of her big weekend, but now the virus was winning the battle.