It hit me yesterday--and a belated Merry, by the way--that this was the first Christmas in five years that I haven't spent the season with raging bronchitis or strep throat. This is the worst time of year for student-to-teacher germ exchange and it only gets more perilous after the break and all the beautiful young gnomes return to happy hollow filled with even more exotic ailments.
They all fly off to distant climes and come back coughing, sneezing and wheezing like consumptives. Campus in late January is a large petri dish glowing with bacteria.
About two years back, I picked up something that hung on. And on. And on. Even after the Z-pack, some 'cillins and codeine cough liqueurs, and a series of inhalers so stuffed with steroidal compounds that I started watching Monday Night Football, I stayed sick. There were two semesters there where my students never heard my real voice. It was either a Tallulah-esque growl or a high, adenoidal croak. My pockets overflowed with Hall's mentholyptus drops and I swigged heavily on a wide array of tussins. My cough got so bad, I even went in for a chest X-ray fearing I'd contracted tuberculosis. No, just walking pneumonia.
So how nice it was, for a change, to wake up on Christmas morn to the sound of... silence... instead of my own deep-chest hacking. This year I could smell the mince pie baking instead of getting another snootful of the pungent scent of Vaporub.
Remember, wipe off your doorknobs, your desktops, your phones, your keyboards and mice with antibacterial stuff (or just some rubbing alcohol). Wash your hands often. Stay hydrated. Take vitamins. Get plenty of rest.
And ask the sneezers to sit on the back rows.