It is what it is: Coping with a cold

I recently came down with whatever strain of the crud that’s been going around this fall, and discovered that my reaction to being sick is much different now than it used to be.

Before I get into that, I’d like to make sure to thank my wife, a teacher, and my kids for bringing home all those exotic new germs during the first month of school. It’s wonderful to have a family that loves to share.

Anyway, I don’t get sick too often (knock on wood), usually one nasty head cold a year. In 20 years of working, I’ve taken just a handful of sick days.

But where being sick used to faced with stoicism, I now just get ticked off.

It doesn’t seem like too long ago that the response to getting sick was something along the lines of “cowboy up.” Colds were something to tough out. I would take my medicine, then slog through a day or three feeling fuzzy in the brain from the daytime cold formula, and groggy in the morning from the nighttime version. I’d put in a full day at the office, all the while maintaining a stiff upper lip (as well as a pile of tissues and a bag of cough drops).

This time around, symptoms included a stuffy head and a cough. As symptoms came on and gradually worsened, I found myself getting more and more annoyed with the situation. Perturbed would be a good description of my mood, and while the symptoms really weren’t all that bad, I found myself having difficulty mustering the focus and energy to get anything done. In fact, I remember talking to one caller who was asking some technical questions about submitting a graphic, and having to apologize for being unable to give him a coherent answer.

I even took up an offer from a staffer who volunteered to handle my evening duties — something I never would have done a few years ago. I’m honestly not sure if she was feeling sympathy for my condition, of if she was annoyed with my disposition and just wanted me out of the office.

In any case, I have become much more appreciative of a nice bowl of chicken soup and hot cup of tea, and found myself with less patience for those daily annoyances.

I recently saw an social media meme referring to this condition as “man flu,” implying that somehow we gentlemen are wimpier when it comes to coping with a little discomfort brought on by a cold or flu.

I prefer to think of it as simply having a better understanding of when it’s time to step back for a moment and get myself healthy. Perhaps I’ve learned that if there’s one thing worse than being annoyed about being sick, it’s forcing other people to have to cope with an annoyed sick person.

Reach Clarion editor Will Morrow at

More in Life

The 10 participants in season 9 of “Alone,” premiering on May 26, 2022, on the History Channel. Terry Burns of Homer is the third from left, back. Another Alaskan in the series, Jacques Tourcotte of Juneau, is the fourth from left, back. (Photo by Brendan George Ko/History Channel)
Homer man goes it ‘Alone’

Burns brings lifetime of wilderness experience to survival series

Thes chocolate chip cookie require no equipment, no pre-planning, and are done from start to finish in one hour. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Forever home chocolate chip cookies

This past week I moved into my first forever home

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: This purge won’t be a movie sequel

What’s forthcoming is a very rare occurrence and, in my case, uncommon as bifocals on a Shih Tzu puppy

Being content with what you don’t know

How’s your negative capability doing?

Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire
Local Tlingit beader Jill Kaasteen Meserve is making waves as her work becomes more widely known, both in Juneau and the Lower 48.
Old styles in new ways: Beader talks art and octopus bags

She’s been selected for both a local collection and a major Indigenous art market

A copy of “The Fragile Earth” rests on a typewriter on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Seeking transformation in the face of catastrophe

Potent words on climate change resonate across decades

Gochujang dressing spices up tofu, lettuce, veggies and sprouts. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Healthy life starts with healthy food

Gochujang salad dressing turns veggies and tofu into an exciting meal

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: Spring Fever

“OK, Boomer” is supposed to be the current put down by the “woke generation”

A headstone for J.E. Hill is photographhed in Anchorage, Alaska. (
Night falls on the Daylight Kid — Part 2

“Bob,” he said, “that crazy fool is shooting at us.”

Minister’s Message: Has spring sprung in your life?

Christ also offers us an eternal springtime of love, hope and life

Eggs Benedict are served with hollandaise on a bed of arugula and prosciutto. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Honoring motherhood, in joy and in sorrow

Many who have suffered this loss believe they must bear it in silence for the sake of propriety

Page from Seward daily gateway. (Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum, Juneau, A.K.)
Night falls on the Daylight Kid — Part 1

Night Falls on the Daylight Kid—Part One By Clark Fair