Tuesday, February 1, 2011

There's Nothing Common About It...

We've all felt it: runny nose, itchy throat, the feeling of stuffy congestion in the head. Maybe you'll start sneezing or coughing. It's the onset of the common cold, an illness that will affect each adult in America 2-4 times every year on average (every child 6-10 times). These are some symptoms listed on the Wikipedia entry on the common cold, along with muscle aches, fatigue, malaise, headache, weakness, and loss of appetite. Now, is it me, or does it seem that one of these things is not like the other ones?

The common cold is a viral infection that affects the upper respiratory tract. And for the most part the symptoms on this list of have a physiological bent to them. Except for this this "malaise" right in the middle, which doesn't really correspond to anything specifically medical. Sure, it has a classification in the ICD, but what is it really related to?. And I know that ailments of the body can affect how the mind works. And I'm all for vague and general descriptions, especially for something that can be manifested by over 200 distinct varieties of virus. But "a feeling of general discomfort or uneasiness" isn't really a symptom, it's a feeling.

That's not to say I don't have this feeling. And it's also not to say that it's not due to the common cold that I'm currently experiencing that I feel this feeling. And this feeling is expressing itself in me through endlessly obsessing over a single term in a Wikipedia article. And also through staring at the computer screen wishing that I was sitting by a roaring fire, wrapped in a blanket, with a mug of hot cocoa... and maybe some Arkham Asylum.

It's also this feeling that has caused me to write this brief excuse of an excuse-post well in advance of my regular posting time, then proceed to stare at my computer for hours on end and yet forget to hit the post button. The mind is a powerful thing - until it gets laid waste by a common illness. I'll see you next week, health-permitting.