Most of us are laid flat by the common cold every now and then. In Cape Town it seems like everyone has either just got over it, or is currently suffering. And we are no exception –Craig and I are thankfully now over the worst.
Most of us experience a degree of impairment of our other senses when we have a cold – our ears are blocked so we can’t hear so well, our nose is clogged so our sense of smell and taste are also hit. And that is mildly irritating, right?
Imagine how much worse that sensory impairment is for a blind person…
In the past few weeks, when my cold was at its worst, I could not differentiate one tea from another, so if the ginger tea (which I do not drink) and the cranberry/apple tea (which I do) are accidentally put in the wrong place I cannot tell which tea I’m landing up with until I have tasted it… and sometimes not even then… … which is annoying, but not a train smash.
Even now, almost 3 weeks since I contracted the cold, I find it difficult to hear traffic, which is more serious because it puts me and Fiji in danger when crossing roads. More specifically, while louder noise still dominate my sense of hearing, there is a greater risk that a passing train might obscure the sound of a car… or a noisy bus on Main Rd (are there such things as quiet busses?) may hide the sound of a car idling on a side street waiting to pull into traffic. Those drivers will probably be focussing on seizing any gap to turn into Main Rd, not on the woman and guide dog waiting to cross the side road. While normally I would simply wait for the side road to clear before crossing, if I can’t hear that idling car, I don’t know it’s there.
So, for me the worst thing about the common cold is not the sniffing, the sneezing, the coughing, the body ache… it is the reality of the heightened risk Fiji and I are in when we take to the roads.