Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 5, 2014

Sharing life and illness too

Associated Press

— — First comes love, then comes marriage. Then you give each other colds, viruses and superbugs. I celebrated the end of Christmas Day sick. My husband spent the following day buying sports drinks, my favorite diet soda and flowers. The next day, I bought him orange juice and chicken broth. No flowers though. Instead, I rented “Thor.” I figured an action movie about a superhero with a magical hammer would be more appreciated than a rose. The good news is the virus only lasted 24 hours. Funny how sickness always makes an appearance at the holidays. It was a first Christmas to remember. It seems the whole town is sick. Or at least everybody on my Facebook news feed. The flu, common cold and 24-hour viruses have invaded homes across the two Virginias. We were two hits on the list.


I average about two colds a year. If I am lucky, I get the flu. Last year, I took a flu shot and still got the flu. The doctor said I found a new strain. How nice. I am blessed to have no allergies. My colds are typically mild, no strep throat or bronchitis. There was times, when I was a child, where I spent the entire winter sick with ear aches, strep throat and fevers. It cleared up after I had my tonsils out and tubes in my ears. I spent a lot of days home from school watching cartoons. Medicine, the grape-flavored liquid, tasted good as a child. But it doesn't work for adults. Do they suddenly think my taste buds have changed? Grape will always be better than fake cold medicine that taste like metal. Of course, the superhero part of my personality seems to think it can overpower the cold virus. I spend the first day in denial, ignoring the tickle in my throat. Or believing the sudden onset of a sinus headache is from lack of water or caffeine. A diet soda and a piece of chocolate is all the medicine I need, right? Then I wake up the next day with a throat full of fire.


When we were sick during the holidays, boredom made the house tiny. My husband, who gets stir-crazy, was  annoyed his routine was disrupted by a virus. One thing I dislike about any sickness is the love/hate relationship I have with fitness and rest during an illness. A post-cold or virus workout is hard. A lot of people don’t like to workout during a cold. But sometimes it makes me feel better and refreshed. Most fitness experts believe running with a head cold is OK, if you follow the neck rule. If you hurt below the neck with body aches and pains from a fever, or have a chest cold or bronchial infection, stay at home. Research at Ball State University believe running with a head cold, as long as you don’t push beyond a comfort level, is beneficial. But for the sake of others, run solo or workout at home. They might not like your germs.


There was no running during my 24-virus. My body felt heavy and tired. Sleep and rest became my best friend. I skipped CrossFit for the week as well. On Saturday, two days after the hit, I went out for an afternoon run. The weather was nice for December. After two months of running in the cold, mild temperatures in the high 40s and low 50s was tropical. It was hard. I felt every step in those three miles. I had to stop and walk, breathe. I was tired at the end. I sat down at the door to take my shoes off, too exhausted to stand up. I was happy though. The first workout after being sick is always the hardest and it was over. So was the superbug that invaded our house. There is nothing like fresh air, the promise of a new year and knowing you disinfected the house from top to bottom before your run.

Jamie Null is the lifestyle editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at or on Twitter @BDTParsell.