I’m finally over the annoying illness that’s kept me on a reduced schedule these past few weeks. I’m calling it bronchitis, though my doctor never used that term, and it’s possible it was something else entirely. In general I’m not a person who gets sick for more than a day or two, so it was frustrating to feel lousy this long.

It wasn’t until conversations at a cocktail on Saturday that I realized a huge chunk of my writer/actor/lawyer friends have or had the same thing, with symptoms roughly as follows:

  • Gurgling when you lie down to sleep.

  • Mild fever, or chills or headache — but not enough to make you feel sick-sick.

  • The kind of cough which, if you heard it come from an actor in a period drama, would telegraph the character’s impending death by consumption.

The insidious thing about this bug is that I generally didn’t feel bad enough to go the doctor. I’d skip the gym or go to bed early, but truly thought I’d be able to ride it out. I finally went in to get some drugs, and was better in a week.

In conversations with everyone who’s had it, the treatment always seems to comprise three things: an antibiotic, a decongestant and cough syrup. The brands change, but that’s always the cocktail. Of the three, the behind-the-counter decongestant (Claritin-D) required the most paranoia-inducing paperwork.1 But the prescription cough syrup was also unsettling, because it worked so well and felt so good. I was careful to limit my doses.

Just when I thought I’d beaten the bug, it roared back to life like Glenn Close leaping from the bathtub in Fatal Attraction. I’m pretty sure now that last jolt was just me kicking the cough syrup, despite my moderation.

Still, it feels good to feel like me again. Though I now have less excuse for endless Fallout 3 sessions.

  1. It contains pseudoephedrine, with is used to make meth, so the government tracks every sale.