The next morning I woke up with a sore throat.
Of course no one can tell for sure where one contracts a cold from. But since then it has blossomed into a full fledged respiratory infection. And it came on the day before I had planned a trip to spend a couple of days in the San Rafael Swell with my dog, my four wheeler and a few friends.
"Gads," I said to my wife early that morning after I woke with a throat that felt like caterpillars with athletic spikes on their shoes had trampled up and down my esophogus all night. "I have a really bad sore throat."
She turned over and looked at me. It was about 5 a.m. and it was dark, but I know she was doing that because I can always feel her gaze whether I can see it or not. She has this power over me.
"You'd better get up and get some liquids in you and take some vitamin C," she said as she rolled over the other way. "And don't come back to bed."
We have this policy at our house. As soon as one of us feels like we are getting sick with a cold or flu we immediately separate ourselves from the other. She wasn't being mean, she was following our policy.
I went into the kitchen grabbed an orange and made up some of that stuff called Airborne. It's a fizzy drink made from a tablet like Alka Seltzer. It is supposed to lessen the symtoms of a cold if you take it early enough. It seems to work, although I have heard medical experts are suspicious of it. That's me, the placebo king. I always say if it makes you feel better, take it, whether the good effects are in your head or not.
I went back in the bedroom.
"What are you doing here?" my wife asked.
"I do need some clothes to wear today," I said trying to breath and cough in the opposite direction from where she was laying down.
All this time my Border Collie was wagging her tail and following me around as usual.
"You know what?" I said making a kind of statement as well as asking a question. "The dog doesn't care that I am sick. She likes me just the same as if I was well."
"Then it is good that you are going to the desert for a few days," said my wife. "There won't be anyone out there for you to infect."
I looked down at my little brown pup and she was staring up at me with her yellow eyes and that grin she always has in anticipation of food, ball throwing or wrestling on the floor, with the first being the most important.
"No wonder I love you so much," I said to her.
"You know you talk sweeter to her than you do to me," said my wife from under the covers.
"Well the only opinion she ever has of me or my condition is good," I said. "No matter what I do, what I say or even if I haven't taken a bath for a couple of days she loves me." Then I thought a little more about it. "In fact she likes me better when I haven't had a shower for a few days."
"Yuck," said my wife.
"You know I have been reading a book about Lee Duncan, who was the one that found and trained the original Rin Tin Tin," I said. "He later married a rich socialite in Hollywood but never spent much time with her. She had basically the same complaint. In fact she divorced him after a couple of years listing one of the reasons she wanted out was because there was an alienation of affection by Rin Tin Tin. The dog was listed in the suit like a mistress would be in any other suit."
"Better watch out then," she said as she sat up in bed. "I'd just divorce you if you keep infesting me with these colds you get. You know maybe it is really a good thing you are going away for a couple of days. You can satisfy both your urge to be alone with your dog and you can get the cold out of your system at the same time."
I felt like I was a leper.
"Okay, I will slink off to the desert," I said. "You know where I park the trailer? From now on that will be known as Leper Flats."
"Fine with me," she said.
And so I went. I spent three glorious days away from cell phones, computers, television, Skype and people with problems. And you know what, it cured me, despite the fact the weather was really only good one of those days. I came back on Sunday with relatively little residual from the cold I had contracted and other than being tired from having a very good time, I was feeling pretty good.
From now on, when I get a cold, I think I will just sequester myself out on Leper Flats. Maybe it's the totally clean air, the red rock or just the fact that I can forget about everything except concentrating on looking for new pictographs I haven't seen. In the end something made me better.
I told my wife I wanted to add that to the "stop spreading the sickness policy" we have at home and she said that would be fine. Then she said she wanted to add a policy about living at a Wasatch Front mall if she got a cold.
After that I decided what I wanted to add should be an unwritten policy and only in my mind because at least when I view a pictograph it doesn't cost me $59.95 every time.