Sunday, February 10, 2008

What's the deal?

After being sick almost constantly since Christmas, I finally started feeling better at the beginning of last week and then BAM! got hit again with yet another cold. This one took out almost everyone in my lab, and on Tuesday we actually canceled our usual weekly meeting due to nobody being there.

Wednesday was the worst, but this was the day of a Big Workshop being held at UW for my research interest. I had pulled some serious strings to get into the workshop and several of my collaborators were going to be there. I knew I had to go. Tuesday, when I could feel the thing coming on (and all my other coworkers were calling in sick), I headed home early and jacked myself up on Vitamin C, zinc, echinacea, healing tea, humidified and filtered air, and a nutritious dinner. Despite my efforts, Wednesday morning I woke up feeling like I had been run over by a dump truck. I dragged myself out of bed and went to the workshop. I took a little purse full of cough drops and Kleenex and stayed three feet away from anyone I talked to so I didn't infect anyone. I was surprised that I actually made it through the day without too much drama, but it wasn't fun.

By Thursday I was already feeling better, and I went into the weekend with some residual coughing but not too bad off. To be safe, I canceled our plans to go snowshoeing (again) and spent the weekend taking it easy (again). The Studly Hubby and I have been sick so much over the past few months that our apartment is starting to look like a war zone so we spent some time tidying up (it feels good to launder everything you can see as soon as you start feeling better). Now he's busy baking us a chocolate cake to boost our immune system this week.

Seriously, why have I been so sick this year? I am very academic about these types of questions, and thought up five possibilities:

1. I'm getting old, and I just can't handle the tough stuff like I used to.
2. My friends are getting old, having kids, and the kids are extremely germy.
3. Seattle doesn't agree with my immune system (if this is it, hopefully it's temporary).
4. I've made some significant lifestyle change other than moving to Seattle that doesn't agree with my immune system.
5. This winter is a beast and it's bringing everyone down and there's no fighting it except to just stay inside and complain.

It's probably some combination of the above. With respect to #4, the lifestyle change that is a most likely possibility is exercise - I used to be an aerobics instructor and as such exercised more regularly and intensely (and always indoors) in my previous life. Now I exercise just as much overall (well maybe a little less) but not as regularly or intensely. Could this be it? I looked it up (aka 'google search') and found that yes, it could - I need to try to sweat more, or run faster, or some combination of the two. So next time you see me out there I'll be wearing extra warm clothing and sprinting hard uphill with the hope that it wards off the next cold that comes my way. But stay away, I'll probably be awfully smelly.


Peggy said...

I think your immune system is running up against a whole lot of new strains of infection it has never come across before. I could very well be because you've moved to Seattle. To reduce the chance of getting another cold, stay away from people and wash your hands more. If you do this you will run the risk of becoming a Howard Hughes sort of oddball.

Don't worry, it'll pass.

susan said...

I think it's new all those slimey kid germs on top of that.

Next year will be better. Your choice of immune builder cracks me up!

Uncle KT said...

What about another possibility--additional stress wearing down your immune system?

Perhaps you should take this as a sign that you should go and get a massage!

Katy said...

I agree with Uncle KT. Warning...sometimes too much exercise can lead to a depressed immune system as well.