Going rhinoviral

I’ve had a cold. To be precise, I still have a cold. It made itself known on Saturday morning as a bit of a sore throat, became a lot of a sore throat over the course of the weekend and then really kicked off on Sunday night, damning me to most of the week spent sitting around at home, feeling grim. Yesterday I thought I’d probably be fine to go back to work today, so got up at my normal time this morning and, over the course of about half an hour, realised that I totally wasn’t fine to go back to work today.

Which was really annoying. I have a redesigned site that we launched last week, and I’d much rather have been at work, taking care of it properly instead of intermittently poking it from here. And the most annoying thing is that it’s a cold that’s been responsible.

I may need to explain. I have this theory. There are colds and there are colds. You have the colds that amount to a bit of a sniffle and not much more, which seem to come and go within a couple of days, and then you have the ones that build up for a bit then leave you feeling fairly horrid for a few days, with a full complement of symptoms in varying amounts and definitely unfit for the workplace.

What I reckon, though, is that over the years people have had increasingly tended to say that they have flu when in fact they just have a full-on cold. If you’re going to be off sick for a few days then, well, it must be flu, right? It can’t be a cold. If you have a cold, you take some of those maximum strength pills and then go to work, like it says in the adverts!

It’s the whole idiotic ‘man-flu’ (a term I really hate) thing, and it’s kind of devalued (is that the right word?) having a cold. Having been battered by full-on flu 16 or so years ago, though, I know the difference. So, you think you have flu? Here’s a brief checklist:

  • Does your entire body hurt as if your central nervous system is being sandpapered?
  • Is the very idea of moving simply too much to contemplate?
  • Is vomiting a fun distraction from the main theme of feeling entirely dreadful?
  • Have you come to the conclusion that you’re going to die and found that you’re actually quite looking forward to it?

If so, well done! You have flu. Enjoy the next two weeks of whimpering under a blanket on the sofa, try to get some liquids down you.

If not, it’s a cold. AND THAT’S FINE. Take a few days off work rather than spread it around, and when you call in sick, for pity’s sake say it’s a cold and not flu. It’s okay, we all get them (about twice a year on average) and we’d all be much happier without needing to over-dramatise them, or feeling that you’re some kind of lightweight malingerer for being off work with just a cold.

That’s what I hate. The innate sense of fraudulence for being off work with a cold and not flu.

Or am I just imagining it? I’m not sure, brain’s not entirely straight this week. I should get to bed; back to work tomorrow!


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