All in the Narrative

Back in September I had this really bad cold. It went on for 10 days. I felt so weak that there was a day when I didn’t manage to propel myself out of bed at all. My throat hurt so badly that I would wake up at night. I have a very high pain tolerance, so for me to register pain it’s got to be major. Every joint in my body hurt.

I still didn’t miss a single day of work because I don’t see the point.

I’ve had this exact cold at this exact time of month since 2004. This year wasn’t even the worst. Usually, the cold is accompanied by an eye or an ear infection, or both at the same time. And even then I never lose a day of work over it not because I’m a work fanatic but because the time goes faster when I’m occupied.

Yes, this is the most boring story in existence. But if I told this exact same story (without the part where I’ve had it for 16 years, of course) and added a COVID-positive test at the end, people would immediately find it fascinating because they would invest it with a meaning that a regular cold doesn’t have.

It’s all about the narrative, folks.

One thought on “All in the Narrative”

  1. I find this interesting. Since you say it’s a cold, people will automatically assume it’s a cold. If you add a COVID test, they assume it’s COVID. It’s like when my mom went to get swabbed at an urgent care and the PA told her she probably just had a cold and he shouldn’t even send the test in.

    Now granted, my mom, grandmother and I all got hit pretty hard and we all have some pretty damn awful residual symptoms, which doesn’t usually happen with a seasonal cold. But they’re all different symptoms, which is also notable. Every single person but one had it in my household, and it presented differently in all of us. For me personally, the residual symptoms are the absolute worst, but then they’re mostly getting better except for this new-onset chest pain, which has been getting worse (for those concerned: yes, I went to the hospital. I was discharged as low-risk and I’m still seeking medical care).


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