On an ordinary run-of-the-mill swallow, I felt it. You know: the dread of something bad, the introduction to a cold, the warning shot from a virus or bacteria staking its claim. I swallowed again and it was gone but I had been warned.
I’m not one of those who believes that rest heals all. I am a firm believer that activities, especially outside, keep the cold from growing roots. A walk in the cool September sun would be perfect, right? Nope. Weather called for rain, so I did what any rational person would do — I put on my Gore-Tex and went hunting.
I mulled over the irony of my plight. As a high school teacher, I tell my students the three keys to not being sick are:
1. Get plenty of sleep, 2. stay hydrated and 3. proper nutrition.
It seems legit because I am rarely sick and it also seems right that I was feeling the cold the day after I was out in the rain on little sleep and dehydrated. Maybe step four should be take my own medicine.
The next morning I woke up after 11 hours of sleep, drank a bunch water, put on my rain gear and went into the woods. I bought a bag of throat lozenges and figured it would be a four lozenge hunt.
I popped the first lozenge as I was leaving the truck and hiking out into the wet brush toward an area I had seen deer tracks but never a deer.
The point isn’t always getting a deer. If you batted a thousand while hunting that means your season is over sometime in August — then what are you gonna do for the rest of the season? Part of it is getting out walking around and feeling that freshness that keeps you content and heals colds before they get out of control. I was hoping I’d bag a nice buck because it would be a big-time warning sign to the cold that I was not to be messed with. After a half hour sitting on the edge of my chosen spot, the heat I’d generated during the hike left me . I was maybe 10 minutes from starting to shiver.
I know at this point it sounds really, really dumb that a dude with an approaching cold would go outside and subject himself to the edges of potential hypothermia just because he’s too proud to take NyQuil or DayQuil. But seriously, just because you might be getting sick doesn’t mean you quarantine yourself. Plus, it was only a little tickle in the throat; we’re not talking about hunting with Cholera here.
I got up and switched spots using my GPS to track down the edges of another high muskeg on the edge of some good looking timber. If I was a deer I’d want to be shot there, but nothing other than a couple bears showed, and I was down to my last lozenge, so I headed home. After a shower and venison chili I felt pretty good but knew there was a good chance I would have to continue fighting this because life inevitably pokes holes in your Gore-Tex pants, XtraTuf boots and immune system, but that doesn’t mean you quit.