Friday, 24 January 2014

Don't mention it

I have a cough at the moment.

Prescott's Golden Rye & Rock for coughs and lung disorders. (front)
photo from the Boston Public Library
It's a lingering relic of the chest infection that knocked me flat late last year.  I'm all better, and have been for ages, but this wretched cough still sticks its head up every so often.  It won't even be shifted by the fluorescent pink codeine-laced cough medicine that gets you a bit high if you forget you've already taken it and accidentally overdose.  Umm... not that I'd know anything about that.

It's become something of a conversation starter.  "Gee, that sounds like a bad cough."  "That cough of yours is no better, is it?"  "You've had that cough for a while now, haven't you?"

Yes, it is.  No, it isn't.  Yes, I have.

And if it's all the same to you, I'd rather not discuss it.

I know people only say that because they're expressing sympathy, or they're trying to make conversation, but I also know it's loud and annoying and sounds gross, and the constant reminders that I'm still making this damn noise because my immune system just won't get its act together just makes me feel like an even bigger freak than I usually do.  I don't much care for attention - I'm one of nature's lurkers - so getting it, for such a crap reason and one I can't control, is awkward.

And I've only had this for two months.

I can only imagine what people go through if they have a permanent cough or tic or twitch or limp or stammer, or any other easily visible or audible sign of difference.