I am very fortunate. Even though I'm starting to feel the gradual deterioration of my body as it ages, for the most part I have been blessed with good health for most of my life.

Even the healthiest person can't avoid the occasional cold, however. I'm reasonably sure this is a cold. I don't have a fever. It did not have a sudden onset characteristic of influenza. But as seems to be the case these days, it doesn't feel like a "normal" cold, the kind with symptoms that match what's on the bottle of Benylin Formula. My nose is a bit stuffed, but not badly. I have a cough, not persistent, mostly but not always dry. My body feels generally bad overall, I'm having a hard time focusing, and I'm tired all the time. And then there's the way I really know that I'm sick: my appetite is off.

They don't make rhinoviruses like they used to. Literally. Viruses mutate all the time, and I have a feeling we're now dealing with a lot of variants of what used to be run-of-the-mill rhinovirus. Maybe it's a North American thing. The last time I had a "normal" cold, it was right after having returned from a week and a half in Europe.

I'm glad that nothing struck during my recent holiday time off. During New Year Week, Sweetie and I had a wonderful time in Portland (Oregon), full of friends, food, shopping, and lots of laughing. This cold hit on my first day back at work, and no, there is no link there. Just coincidence, but it's certainly inconvenient. I was okay for a few days, but today is a bad day. So maybe that means things will get better from here.

I started thinking about how even a brief illness can be socially isolating. Your condition is communicable, and you don't want anyone else to catch it. With no energy, you don't leave the house much if at all. You can't go to events you might want to go to. You can't see people. I stayed home from my choir sectional rehearsal last night, which was a loss both of practice time and of fun hanging out with others in my section. I'm not sure whether I should go to full choir rehearsal tonight. Much as I need to after two weeks off, there is little worse than sending a communicable disease, even a minor one, through a choir that is less than a month away from a performance.

My cold will end soon. So will my social isolation. I still have dinner plans with a friend tomorrow night because I bet by then I will feel better and hopefully not be contagious. In a few more days, I will be back to my normal healthy self.

For some, "normal" is nothing like what I have, and I was reminded of that shortly before I started to feel my own isolation. I know people who deal with chronic illness, people who can't socialize as much as they want, people who sometimes can't leave their houses. And that can be especially isolating. For an outgoing person like me, isolation would definitely make illness worse. But even for an introvert, too much isolation will have a negative impact.

Someone I know who lives with chronic illness shared a blog post the other day. Food for thought, especially since I am usually the healthy one.

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