The saga of my backwards cold continues. I am to the unexpected sneezing stage where a sneeze rises up out of nowhere and without warning--no “ah, ah, ah” before the “choo” --and projectile snot is flung unceremoniously at whatever object is in front of me. All this violent expulsion of snot at 90mph has caused my nasal passages to swell which kept me up half the night. I cannot breathe through my mouth when I sleep--I know it’s psychological--of course I can breathe but I get the distinct feeling I am drowning or suffocating and the sensation is so claustrophobic that I rise up gasping for air and get really pissed in the bargain. Because the moment I rise my nasal passages unswell and I can breathe through my nose. But the moment I get the least bit horizontal BAM! They slam shut again. Which leaves me huffing like a hippo, muttering and swearing trying not to (but always succeeding) in waking Spiderman who pats my arm and mutters sleepily worlds like “Poor pussycat” before rolling over and falling back to sleep. Must be nice. I have resorted to taking a decongestant in the hope it will dry up my projectile snottery but then discovered the reason the box said NON DROWSY FORMULA was that it contained caffeine. Shit. Could this be the other reason I can’t sleep?
I ended up steaming my head with water to try and relax my nasal passages which had decided at midnight to clamp shut even when I was vertical. I have this nifty contraption I bought at the chemist that is a cup with handles on either side--making it rather resemble Mr Rumbold from Are You Being Served--that you fill with boiling water and then snap on the spill proof lid (rather like a sippy cup for toddlers.) Then click a little anatomically shaped mask on top like the ones that you imagine would fall down in case of loss of oxygen on an aeroplane and (you must say this bit in your best stewardess voice) place it over your nose and mouth and breathe normally. The steamy cup works and feels great on both the nose and any lingering chestiness I have. After about 15 minutes I can breathe completely normally and am feeling a bit drowsy from all the steam so I slither back to bed and enjoy a few hours of sleep until the decongestant wears off and then the whole things starts all over.
The other weird thing besides my nose being able to tell horizontal from vertical is that my nose can tell time. Seriously. All fecking night it won’t let me lie down, preferring to make me gasp for air like an old man with emphysema, but in the daylight suddenly horizontal is acceptable. I can lie down and breathe reasonably well without the aid of decongestants or steam. I don’t want to sleep all day and stay up all night. I am not a vampire. But having a cold always does this to me. Why is that? My theory is that I have been visited by an MMM (Malevolent Mucus Monster.) One whiff of horizontal during the night and it pinches my nose with a magical clothes peg so I can’t breathe. Then in the morning, mission accomplished, it nips off home for a spot of brekkie and a nice kip leaving my nasal area unobstructed. Laugh if you must, but it is the only plausible explanation I can find.
The good news is all the throat and chest issues are gone. I sound normal again not like a husky Russian spy and my chest doesn’t feel like I am breathing broken glass any more. I do have the occasional cough but it is not agony. My nose, on the other hand, looks like Rudolph and I am still trying to qualify for the snot Olympics of 2012. Hopefully this stage will pass quickly as we have (long awaited) concert tickets to see the Bad Shepherds in London on Saturday and I am not missing that for the world. Snot or no snot.