This has been a rough cold and flu season for many.
For months, we've all heard about the spread of the flu across the nation, with doctors and other health officials encouraging everyone to get a flu vaccine. I did not heed the advice this year, but to be fair it's been several years since I've really gotten the flu, let alone anything else more than a slight cold or bad allergy attack.
The same had been holding true this year. I've been fortunate that I really haven't been affected this year. Outside of a few days back in early December where I had almost lost my voice, I hadn't experienced even a significant sniffle.
I should have known better.
I woke up last Sunday morning feeling absolutely exhausted, despite having a full night's rest.
I soon also felt the pressure surrounding my eyes and nose I always get when I'm congested.
Yep, despite my best attends to quarantine myself from everyone else in my life who had been sick in recent weeks, I had caught something.
My guess is it was someone's way of getting back at me after mentioning the lack of snow we had gotten this winter, especially since last weekend we also had received around 5 or 6 inches of the white stuff.
So, if someone out there had managed to put together a voodoo doll of me, message received.
I've spent the majority of this week with a stuffy head, dealing with coughing fits left and right, sneezing all over the place to the point I'm sure at least a couple coworkers would have had no problem throwing me out a window, and at least one major headache so bad I couldn't even look at a light.
The timing couldn't have been worse, either. We're working on several projects here at the newspaper. The most visible of those projects at the moment is our annual Pride and Progress publication, set up to showcase some of the good things going on in our region.
This publication requires some extra effort from all of us here, which also means there is no opportunity for sick days.
There's also the Mardi Gras Gala held by the Rotary Club of Weirton Heights. It was last night, so I'm hoping it was well attended. I promise I'm not contagious right now, so anyone there who gets sick, it wasn't my fault.
Nope, not my fault at all. I've been on antibiotics, been sucking on cough drops and drinking several cups of herbal, caffeine free teas (primarily mint and pomegranate for anyone interested.)
On the plus side, I think I've slept better this week than I have in months.
I don't know of a single night I've woken up until it has been time over the last several days. When I'm healthy, on the other hand, I tend to find myself awake at least two or three times during the night. Maybe that's part of the problem.
Either way, being sick has slowed me down quite a bit, and I'm sure I could have accomplished more this week if I had been fully up to speed.
There are calls that still need to be made, articles to write, reports to put together and other plans to be made.
So, if anyone out there wonders why I haven't been my usual cheerful self or why I haven't seemed nearly as interested in everything I'm supposed to be doing, it's not my fault. Blame whatever germ has been residing in my body for the last week.
Of course, it could have all been much worse.
At least I'm able to get to work and get something accomplished in between coughing and sneezing attacks. I'm able to write a an article or two while running between my desk and the restroom to blow my nose.
I've been able to clear my throat enough to talk for a phone conversation or two.
I've powered through the days without having to find some dark corner to hide until my headache eases a little bit.
So, yes, it has not really been a good time for me to be sick. The work is still there, and I'm running a little behind on it from where I'd like to be.
But, like everything, there's a lesson to be learned. We all could take some time to take better care of ourselves and prevent becoming ill if we can.
Maybe next year I'll even give more consideration to getting that flu shot.
Because, really, there is never a good time for any of us to be sick, is there?
(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)