Sniffling, snuffling and … sulking

I've made a horrible discovery about myself this week … after years of believing I was a stoic sufferer of minor ailments, I now find I am nothing of the sort. In fact, far from being uncomplaining and zen-like in my sickness, I have become grumpy and intolerant.

I'm not sure when that changed, after all it's not like I never have colds. My Mum, who fortunately rarely has a cold of any kind, never mind a heavy one, takes every cold she does get as a personal insult. As though mother nature is being unfair to her. It's a bit of a bone of contention and, to be honest, subject to a lot of mickey-taking too. Because my Dad and I are always having colds. Well, not always, but you get my point.

            I could have posted a picture of my red nose … but

            that would have done none of us any good!

 And believe me I've had colds at the most inconvenient of times. I've had them over birthdays, through Christmases and on countless holidays. So famously, in fact, that we've even named certain types of cold after places I've visited. The Victoria (contracted during a coach trip through British Columbia), the Singapore (trip to the Far East) or the Salem (a week in New England).

I've missed important occasions because of colds, I've had apparently fabulous meals ruined by not being able to taste them and I've gone five weeks with my blocked ears distorting every sound to a squirly mess. And I didn't complain.  Okay, if you ask my family, they might think differently but largely, given the number of colds I have had, I think I've been pretty reasonable. So why did the cold I've had for the last week particularly aggravate me?

It's been a nasty one - I've ached, coughed, sneezed, dripped, lost my taste and so on, but that's pretty typical for me. And I've come to the horrible conclusion that age has caught up with me. Or at least being grown-up has. I've just realised that having a cold as a busy adult just gets in the way of life. When you are little, particularly when you are at school, while you don't look forward to being ill, you do appreciate that there are certain advantages. Days off school, hours of television, treats and the unadulterated attention of at least one parent or other. At some point, according to my Mum, she'd know I was feeling a little better when I asked to play with my Lego.

But as an adult you can't really revert to childhood, hunker down, play with Lego and eat nothing but ice cream. Well you could, but it wouldn't really garner you much sympathy, now would it? I mean it's not like we realistically expect to be cosseted anymore. No-one's going to write a note for you so, unless you're at death's door, you generally have to show up for work. As a self-employed person I don't really need to write my boss notes or call in sick but, as any self-employed person will tell you, we generally end up working right through the coughing, nose-wiping and sneezing regardless.

But, even though a cold isn't, in the overall scheme of things, that bad - don't even adults deserve just a little cosseting? Okay, we're busy. We have things to organise, kids to look after, chores to complete and work to do. And we don't want to be held up by a silly cold when we have a life to live. So, instead of accepting that we're temporarily poorly, we fight it. And the truth is, it doesn't make it any better. It probably doesn't make it any worse, but in my experience it rarely does any good to try to beat nature. When you're a child, you accept that you're sick, that you can't do what you want to and, while you don't get better any quicker, neither are you stressing about the things you aren't getting done. Will it really do any harm to accept that you're ill? Or cuddle up on the sofa under a blanket with a box of tissues? It's unlikely that the world's going to stop, or the sky fall in! Most things can wait a day or two, surely?

So I've come to the conclusion that, for my mood's sake at least, the next time I have a cold I'm going to give myself a break and allow myself just a little wallowing. That's not to say I'll never again be grumpy when I get a cold - especially when I can't taste my Mum's fish and chips - but I will try to be a bit more gracious.

And deciding this has made me feel a whole lot better.  Now, I wonder where I stashed that old Lego …