As I lay here, knowing that I am a few breaths away from death … I have chosen to spend my last few moments writing a blog. Yes, the “man cold” will be the death of me.
It all started so simply – a runny nose. Then, on the way to work on Sunday, the onset of some severe sinus pressure, headache, and general aches, made it very difficult to make it through the night. After an entire 10 hours of blowing my nose, I was set to star in the next installment of Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer! The hour drive home was difficult, not only because I was tired, but because every single bump or pothole I hit only amplified the aches and pains I was already feeling.
When my alarm went off for work on Monday, I could barely move. I felt like I could hardly move. I decided it was best to stay home and try to sleep it off. I think I ended up sleeping a total of 30 hours! I did feel better on Tuesday and attempted to go to work. I was lucky that I didn’t have patients to run, and I was able to sit and score sleep studies. Despite the Day-Quill, by 5:00 a.m. I was starting to feel worse. I left work a little early and came home.
Sleep. That’s all I wanted today. I was in bed by 6:30 a.m., but I just couldn’t fall asleep. Between coughing sneezing, feeling hot, feeling cold, and constantly blowing my nose, I was up more than I slept. I know that I was finally able to get some sleep, because I remember dreaming. It just wasn’t enough…so I am home again.
My wife says I gave it to her, because she started feeling bad Monday night. Like most women, she believes all men exaggerate the symptoms of a cold. She struggled through her night at work, while I was home. She called to check on me a few times, and also told kept me up to date on how she felt, which got progressively worse as the night went on. She may deny this in the future, but I am positive she stated during one phone call, “I will never make fun of you when you are sick again.”
Is the “man cold” or “man flu” real?
I found a blog from Dr. Robert Shmerling, a Harvard doctor that says that the “man cold” is real! According to one study, men and women experience illnesses differently. Some of the things found in the study:
- Influenza vaccination tends to cause more local (skin) and systemic (bodywide) reactions and better antibody response in women. Testosterone may play a role, as men with the highest levels tended to have a lower antibody response. A better antibody response may lessen the severity of flu, so it’s possible that vaccinated men get more severe symptoms than women because they don’t respond to vaccination as well.
- In test tube studies of nasal cells infected with influenza, exposure to the female hormone estradiol reduced the immune response when the cells came from women, but not in cells from men. Treatment with antiestrogen drugs reduces this effect. Since flu symptoms are in large part due to the body’s immune reaction, a lessened immune response in women may translate to milder symptoms.
- In at least one study reviewing six years of data, men were hospitalized with the flu more often than women. Another reported more deaths among men than women due to flu.
- A survey by a popular magazine found that men reported taking longer to recover from flu-like illnesses than women (three days vs. 1.5 days)
The article says that “taken together, these findings suggest that there may be more to “man flu” than just men exaggerating their symptoms or unnecessarily behaving helplessly.”
Read the whole story here:
I am hoping that another night of sleep will allow me to feel well enough to go on our mini-vacation to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary this weekend! Now, if you will excuse me, I am taking a shot of Ny-Quil, grabbing my pillow, and going to try to sleep.
Oh, and ladies … try not to be so hard on your man next time he feels under the weather.