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A Cold By Any Other Name

February 17, 2014

Written by Marykate OMalley, mother of three wonderful children, Gladwyne, PA 


When I was a child it was a cold, or a virus, or sometimes you caught a bug which made an already sick me feel even worse with my active imagination. There was a bug in my body. It wasn’t just a saying. It was an actual bug. I could feel it. I could even remembered the moment I caught it and trapped it inside me like Jonah in the whale or a frog with her fly.

Today illnesses sound like exotic vacation destinations. Take coxsackie- I picture a city in Japan, urban and chic. “We are going to start off in Tokyo and then head to Coxsackie”. Or an Asian fusion restaurant. “Were you able to get reservations at Coxsackie?”

And they all sound so serious. There is rhinovirus. There is foot and mouth disease which my crew had during the preschool years and I consider it false advertising. It was a cold followed by the appearance of a few tiny bumps splattered across their chubby toes.  And then fifths disease which we all had including me, and I do recall that living up to its name


Photograph Courtesy of Rachel McGinn Photography

There is no longer the flu it is swine flu, or bird flu, or chicken flu. All these strange animal flus – better diagnosis I am sure although I would prefer to simply have the flu and not a swine’s flu. It just seems so unnatural and frankly gross.

And for anyone prone to being psychosomatic or predisposed to an active imagination an old fashioned flu will do just fine thank you. It certainly helps with the recovery process and adequately describes how you feel. We all know “the flu”. By any other name it is, well, so much worse.





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