There have been a lot of coughs and colds around, this winter. Sometimes people assume that, living in Cyprus, we are immune to such things - but that's not the case at all. We seem to have had more bugs and viruses since living here than we ever did in the UK. They last longer, too.
It doesn't make sense... we get plenty of sunshine here, and we eat more healthfully than we ever did in the UK, with the wide variety of locally grown produce available so inexpensively. I don't volunteer in a classroom as I did in the UK; I don't even teach Sunday School or help at Mothers and Tots any more. This year, with all the walking, I am fitter than I used to be.
Yet it's only today, around eight weeks after Christmas, that I begin to feel as if I'm truly on the mend.
Perhaps it's just related to getting older. Sigh.
We caught the colds shortly before the New Year, when we were probably a bit run-down after the short but unpleasant norovirus bug just before Christmas. The colds didn't last long, but the coughs lingered... and lingered. We didn't really slow down much, but felt constantly tired and decidedly under par.
Richard seemed to have recovered from his cough in the last week of January, when he flew to Italy for a week. A couple of days after returning home, he started a worse cold which was possibly the flu for a couple of days. He is pretty sure he caught it from someone he spent time with while he was away. By then I had almost stopped coughing from the first cold.. but, unsurprisingly, caught the second one about a week after Richard did. And felt decidedly rotten for some time.
I still managed my walks with Sheila, but when she and her family went away for a few weeks, it was a lot harder to feel motivated. I think I've been three times in a little over two weeks... and only once thought to take a photo:
We don't tend to visit doctors here. We could - we have insurance, and they're pretty good here, but we prefer to use home remedies wherever possible. So we've been drinking copious amounts of hot lemon and honey (lemons supplied by friends who grow them, so fresh and organic). We've been eating a lot of onions and garlic, too. I did buy some herbal lozenges, and some liquorice ones too (for Richard), which seemed to help. But the coughs continued, and our energy levels have been decidedly low.
Oddly, the end of this particular bug seems to be worse than the beginning. The cough seems to get better, only to be replaced by a horrible sore throat. And that subsides a day or two later, followed by a feeling of the throat having swelled, of swallowing being difficult and wind being trapped. A couple of nights last week I was up at 2am coughing uncontrollably, and had to have a hot drink before it calmed down.
I would have been more concerned, perhaps... but it was following exactly the same pattern that Richard's virus did a week or so earlier.
About a week ago I felt the need for something warm against my chest. I wished we had a hot water bottle. We did buy some, years ago, but they weren't great quality. Or perhaps they perished in the Cyprus summers. In any case, we had too many problems to bother with them again.
But inspiration struck. I had a bag of 'wheat berries', bought ages ago and never used, and a lot of random material which, years ago, we used for making juggling balls. It was the work of a moment to cut out a suitable sized rectangle and hand-sew it together, filling with the wheat:
Not exactly beautiful, but I'm hardly going to use that material for anything on display.
Two-and-a-half minutes in the microwave (with a half cup of water next to it) and I have a warm and cosy bag to cuddle. It feels very good indeed. Cleo, our oldest cat, rather likes it too....
I did walk on Thursday, having read that exercise and early morning air were good for pretty much any infection, but on Saturday woke too late, and felt too tired. Yet today, at last, the coughing has eased and I'm beginning to feel as if my full health is returning. I hope so. It has been a very mild winter, even for Cyprus, and is rather a shock to realise that March will be starting this week.