Cold sores are Mother Nature’s way of kicking a girl when she’s already down. Here I am, run down, exhausted, having eaten nothing but tinned food that really hasn’t been classifiable as “fresh” for well over a year and I’m not exactly feeling or looking my best any which way you look at it. And then Mother Nature comes along and really gets the boot in by giving me a big fat cold sore.
In some ways, getting a cold sore is like getting a new hobby. Suddenly I’ve got Things To Do. I’ve got to look in the mirror. A lot. I’ve got to buy and use lotions and vitamins. I’ve got to spend time googling which foods I’m supposed to eat and which ones I’m supposed to avoid (such as chocolate, coffee and champagne? Yeah, right. Like that’s ever going to happen). And then I’ve got to cancel all non-essential social contact with the world. And if I do have to interact with anyone, I’ve got to employ the standing-at-a-particular-angle strategy so as not to alarm anyone unnecessarily. It’s a complicated business.
I talked with my friend KT, a fellow HSV-1 sufferer, about whether or not it’s best to blurt out “I’ve got a cold sore!!!” the moment I see someone rather than try to chat normally, all the time with the other person staring at it like it’s about to explode (likely) or even burst into song (unlikely). Her advice was to think up some funny line like “I ran into a door and got this cold sore!” to use at the outset and kind of disarm them. I like her approach: get everyone relaxed and laughing and thinking “Hey, this girl is really a bit of okay… even though she looks like a freak…”
And I really do look like a freak. I love it that the advertisers of Cold Sore Solutions think that, when I have a cold sore, I look a little like this:
Whereas I actually look a lot like this:
As I write this post, I’m currently at the worst stage of the cold sore: the Crusty Stage (having already gone through the “rapid expansion” phase, where it’s spread faster than Starbucks outlets through the Westfield empire and the “throbbing/sobbing/weeping” stage where the cold sore throbs, I sob and we both start to weep openly). The great thing about the crusty stage is that this is when the cold sore is actually on the mend (rather than on the rampage) but the downside is that this is when it looks its very worst. I want to wear a little sign saying “It is getting better, actually” except then people will be wondering “Why is [NDM] wearing a sign” and be rushing up to read it. Stupid people. Can’t they just leave me and my cold sore alone?
There’s still more cold sore fun to be had for me: the itching, the cracking, the bleeding and then, if I’m really lucky, the red afterglow for weeks and weeks to come. Luckily my children and husband still love me, if from a slight distance. Actually the kids didn’t seem to notice it much at all until yesterday afternoon when Tiddles suddenly pointed at it and said “Ah-dun!”. Whatever that means.
Oh, that’s just Mummy’s little “ouchie”, I explained. It will go away soon enough (actually not soon enough) but in the meantime, Mummy’s still pretty, isn’t she?
Tiddles shook his little head vehemently and said firmly “No way!”. Ouchie, indeed.