Summer cold puts whammy on productivity

As a general rule, when I have additional time to work on a column, I relish the opportunity.

Topics can be endless, and I have touched on many over the years.

This column has been tougher because I was hit with something I have not encountered in many years—a summer cold. We know how they start, a sleep-deprived night followed by a scratchy throat. Temporarily the condition has a one-day holding pattern, creating a false sense that it was not a cold, but a temporary nuisance. The self-denial ends when the scratchy throat progresses to coughing and sneezing and a running nose.

My healthy appetite remains, along with my sense of smell, but having the energy to want to make a meal gets zapped pretty good.

As with the common cold, any good country doctor would say, “Dave, it will take seven days or a week to cure. Take your pick.” Mom would add, “Drink water and rest.” Those aren’t easy tasks either because when one is congested he doesn’t get much rest.

In the publications business, like a farmer and rancher, there isn’t much time to get additional rest to begin with. Ask any farmer and rancher who has fought a summer cold during wheat harvest, cutting hay or planting sorghum or catching cantankerous cow, and it paints a painful picture.

As I put together this column, I can finally say I feel much better than I did a week ago when I first started to reel from its impact. When I first felt it I said what many summer cold victims say, “With one day’s rest I’ll be back in the saddle.” The curse of the summer cold is it lures one to thinking that task is doable—much like when as a kid I’d tell Mom, “I assure you, I will have this homework finished by tomorrow night. Just let me finish watching tonight’s ball game.” Most of the time those vague promises were only empty ones.

While having a summer cold is a gentle reminder that any of us are capable of getting sick, and it is never at the right time, the comfort is that at some point it disappears, and the ability to return to normal duties is welcome news. In my case there is a pent-up demand for work I got behind on.

I feel like the farmer and rancher who picked one up during wheat harvest. All he can do is focus on either running the combine or the grain truck. Other operation duties— double checking a weak spot in a fence or working on a piece of equipment that needs fine-tuned for fieldwork—has to take a backseat.

The upshot of having a summer cold maybe best said as, “I have put it in my rearview mirror and can now tackle what I’ve left behind and what is ahead.” Dave’s anecdote: “May none of you be cursed with one.”

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].