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Curse of the common cold.

Byline: Richard Irvine

I'M WRITING this as I (cough) battle the ferocious effects of a (sneeze) terrible illness.

Unfortunately, I've got a nagging suspicion it is merely a cold.

And there's nothing more disappointing than that.

In fact, I've been through the ordeal of negotiating an appointment at the doctors, within the month I wanted to actually attend, and at a time convenient for him, only to be told I had a cold.

"You can level with me, doc, are you just saying it's a cold so you don't worry me? I can take it," I might have said.

"No, Mr Irvine, it's a common cold," he said straight-faced.

"Are you sure it's not a virus, I think it could be a virus," I said.

"No, it's a cold," he said, checking his watch.

"I've taken a fortnight off work for this, I can't tell them it's a cold," I bleated as I exited the surgery gently snuffling.

Intriguingly, he was lucky to catch me with an illness, as usually by the time I get to see the doctor my terrible malady has cleared up.

In fact, that's something the Government should look at working on.

If they extend waiting times for your local GP by another four weeks, then maybe things will either clear up or a tragedy will occur. Whichever way you look at it, they'll be saving a bit of cash.

Luckily, this time I'm pretty sure I've got a mere cold after a bit of Google time revealed you need a temperature for it to be swine flu.

But what am I to do now I've got an illness that elicits no sympathy from the general population? The best way forward was to take a well-deserved day off work to recover.

I say day to recover, but more from a humanitarian point of view, as I didn't want to infect anyone else (and daytime TV is much better at Christmas).

The next stumbling block was how to explain why I, a grown man, needed a day off due to the sniffles.

Should I go for the tea towel over the telephone receiver? Should I hold my nose so as to create the right impression about my condition? In the end, I just decided not to blow my nose for a while and give it my best shot, making sure I steered clear of mentioning I just had a cold.

"Hi, I can't come in today, it's this lung, sinus problem I've got," I said, sounding suitably deflated.

"Sounds like a cold," said my boss. "Well, I dunno, feels more like a virus, I've been sweating a lot," I said, hoping the mention of sweat would curtail any further questioning.

"Well, see you when we see you," said my boss.

That was that over and done with, and now all I had to deal with was the horrible feeling that he'd got off the phone and immediately announced to the office "Irvine's skiving - got the sniffles apparently". But I wasn't about to feel guilty for taking a day off - my nose was running like Usain Bolt and there was no way I wanted to inflict that on polite society.

However, things may be looking up, as I've just noticed my cough is getting worse.

Maybe it could now qualify as a chest infection, thereby sparing me some shame when I have to explain to others why I'm coughing.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 30, 2010
Words:571
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