Hiccups every few minutes for several days predict a bad head cold for my husband. Sure enough, a weekend of hiccups were followed on Monday by a cacophonous, multi-sneeze cold. I started force-feeding orange juice, more cups of tea than are usual for him, and a potion a friend recommended.
Every time I approached, spoon in hand, Peter said, “What’s that for?”
“Your cold,” I answered again and again.
“Do I have a cold?” he croaked between sneezes.
“Yes,” I said, over and over. “Mmm-m.”
Tuesday, when I asked if he felt well enough to go on the usual Nobby-the-therapy-dog visit to the adult day care facility, he asked if he’d been sick. Then he sneezed and sneezed and sneezed. I cancelled.
Same again this morning. A nursing home visit was scheduled for Nobby. “How do you feel?” I asked. Peter patted himself all over and said, as he always does, “I feel fine.” He sounded worse than Louis Armstrong on a good day. I cancelled the visit.
There are so many horrible diseases humans contend with, but often it’s the common cold that makes us the grumpiest. Dementia is a bit like Kleenex – it wipes away the last sniffle, the dripping nose, the streaming eyes. The cold is still contagious, but dementia in all its guises, is not — and that’s a good thing.
My husband isn’t grumpy when he has a cold, he’s sneezy. But when I catch his colds, lookout, I’m grumpy.
Sneezy and Grumpy sketches: “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” ©Walt Disney Studios, 1937
Header photo: A sneeze magnified.