For two weeks now I have been sneezing, blubbering, snotting and hacking up my lung matter - the latter of which keeps me up at night. I've tried cough syrup with codeine and gargling salt water and sprite with crackers. Nothing helped with the cough. I would HORNK and sputter and gag and - unfortunately - toss my tummy contents with such force it would leave me with a smattering of bloody freckles to match my light brown ones.
And then - it happened.
It started innocently enough. I plugged in my humidifier and inserted one small mentholated pad to circulate in the air. The relief wasn't instantaneous but it was still calming. My throat still tingled and my head still hurt - but the smell - the soothing vapors - was nice. So nice.
And then - I got some Vick's Vapor Rub. The gooey mentholated syrup mocked me from its blue jar with striking green wrapper. I knew that if I smeared even one finger-full of the stuff - I'd be a goner. I'd be addicted.
Like a fat kid at an all-you-can-eat salad bar (trust me - I was a FAT kid - and I LOVED me some salad!!!) I was up to my elbows in Vick's best within minutes. The burn and the vapors lulled me into a sleep-induced haze that not even the foul-tasting codeine-laced medicine could do.
I tried to hide my new shame from Harry. Tried to not let him see my nightly ritual of mentholated humidifier coupled with a thin sheen of Vapor Rub on my chesty regions. But I was too tired Sunday night - and I slipped.
Actually when he came back from fetching me my fourth bottle of water for the day I was in bed, covers pulled up to my navel, topless. For one moment he seemed happy - like Christmas came early - and with a twin - but that eye twinkle quickly faded when I held out one chubby hand - clutching the Vick's.
"Help me?" I said, coughing pathetically for emphasis.
"Sure." He had the good grace to pretend to be amused by my antics.
"Avoid the girly bits," I said and laid back with my eyes shut. I waited for the cool tingle of the eucalyptus and menthol vapors to reach my assaulted sinuses.
"Hey - this stuff looks like my-"
"Shut up," I interrupted. "Don't make this perverted. Ahhhh yes. Avoid the nipples. Ahhhhh." I sighed again and laid back, chest glistening, nose red and spittle still hanging from my chin from my last coughing fit.
"Wanna do it?" I asked. Mostly to see what he'd say.
He slowly capped the heaven-sent scented rub and added it to the collection of hard candy, cough drips, tums and water bottles that litter my bedside table.
"Not even a little," he said.
"Oh thank God..." I muttered and rolled over to have sweet, sweet mentholated tinted dreams.