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Insomniaville -- All the Stuff that Keeps Me Up At Night

3/21 -- Why the Surgeon General Can Just Bite Me.

(The Flying-Apart Coughing-Fit Brothers appear via the Lileks (James) Orphanage of Cast-Off Mascots.)

Fly-Apart Coughing Brother No. 1What is the deal?

Why is it that every freaking time I try to make a Healthy Lifestyle Change, I end up getting sick over and over again?

It's been like this for as long as I can remember. Every other year or so I'd make one of my periodic attempts to quit smoking. I'd stay off the cancer sticks for a month or so, and then I'd get socked with cold after flu after cold. It's as if the nicotine and the tar and the black nasty crud the cigarettes left in my nose and throat and lungs acted as some sort of protective shield against influenza and cold germs.

I finally kicked the habit for good in January of 2000, but perhaps it was because the symptoms of another impending health development were distracting me.

And now it seems to be happening again. I've been exercising regularly since early January. I wouldn't go as far as to say I'm on a diet, but I am trying harder to eat smaller portions and balanced meals featuring foods that I didn't order over the phone or buy from a teenager in a paper hat. And Bill and I no longer make bi-weekly trips to McLean's World of Beer to buy big cases of Dundee's Honey Brown or Sam Adams Cream Stout.

In February I caught the Martian Death Cold that swept through the area this winter. Almost immediately after I got over that, I caught one of those annoying 24-hour stomach bugs. Sipping ginger ale and eating pretzels all day definitely wasn't part of my healthy-eating plan.

Now I have the beginnings of another cold. I came home from work last night with the full intention of eating a light dinner, followed by a brief session on the treadmill and my first attempts at some of the exercises in the Pilates book I bought this weekend. I ended up on the sofa, wrapped up tightly in two of our ratty blankets (but still freezing), waking up long enough to endure convulsive sneezing fits. I went to work today with a nasty cough and a pounding headache. What a great combination. Cough. Ow. Cough. OW. Etc. ....

Is there some kind of molecule in junk foods that scares off cold germs? "What the hell is that? It smells like sour cream and onion!" "I dunno, dude, but I'm not messing with it." Do I breathe in too many airborne flu bugs when I exercise?

It's not fair, dammit. I've been sitting in the armchair tonight under a ratty blanket, watching trashy TV and wondering if having chest muscles that ache from all the coughing and sneezing means I'll have more developed pecs tomorrow. It's muscular exertion, right? It counts, yes?

Bleah. I think I'll go to bed.

Fly-Apart Coughing Brother #2

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March 2001