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Autobiographical Essays

Beate Caspari-Rosen, MD (1910 - 1995)


Just A Cold

In the beginning the throat feels a little sore and the nose starts to run, but otherwise you feel fine and think: "Aha the grass pollen start of my spring allergy" and you are not very concerned. And then you find yourself attacked by a fierce animal that invades your body. The head blows up like a balloon filled with cotton wool, you cannot breathe, the throat feels as if it is lined with sandpaper, the eyes start to tear, a cough tries to explode from your lungs, and your whole body aches. If lucky, one develops a slight fever which gives one an excuse to stay in bed. Your appetite disappears, everything tastes like paper. THIS IS THE COMMON COLD.

Slowly the body recovers. Tylenol helps to conquer the worst aspects of the headache. The nose opens its flood gates and breathing becomes easier. The eyes allow reading, at least some of the time. The first positive sign that recovery is truly on the way to is boredom. You become so bored. Even the television is boring. Where are the good programs? You wait for telephone calls, but the phone is silent. Have you been completely forgotten? You become depressed. Appetite begins to return, but the taste buds are still asleep. Your body feels  drained. Your mind desires human contact. Should I go downstairs to dinner? [Whitney Center provides a dinning room for residents.] I don't dare. A sudden coughing spell might occur and everyone would look at me reproachfully. Better stay in the apartment another evening.

The enemy slowly retires from my body and waits for another opportunity to attack.

 


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