When I was little, maybe 8 or 9, I remember having a terrible breakout of cold sores on my mouth. I had two on my lip and a bunch inside my mouth. I have no idea what I did to contract that horrible virus, but it kicked my ass. I remember vividly my mom trying to feed me various things, but since it was too painful to eat, I mostly had soup.

Perhaps this is where my dislike for most soups originates.. ?

This was before L-Lysine, and Abreva and Herpecin-L. It was before any over the counter remedies. My mom got desperate one night and thought bringing me a McDonald’s happy meal would a-cheer me up and b-finally be the thing i conquered my pain to stuff down my gullet.

If you’ve never endured a cold sore, let me just say “F- you.”
But really, it’s an amazingly awful discomfort that is constant. It’s not anything debilitating, it’s just painful, uncomfortable, annoying, disruptive, limiting, painful and socially unacceptable the entire time. All the time. 24/7.  Also, “Here, rub this ointment right on your face blister 5x per day. No, not around it or near it. Right on it. All over it.”

Think about it. Think of all the times you open your mouth during the day. To speak, to cough, to sneeze, to eat, to drink, etc etc etc. It’s all inhibited or prevented or irritated by the cold sore.

Now imagine you have more than one.

So back to my happy meal. God bless her, my mom was not thinking of all the salt this meal contained. My favorite thing on the planet at that time was McDonald’s french fries. I smashed that cheeseburger down like a sodium bomb pancake and eventually had to just tear off pieces to gingerly place in my mouth. I ate half of it. The fries, however, were a little bit of heaven and a whole lot of hell.

But I still ate them.

I must have had 5 sores all totaled between my lip and my tongue. Every salty bite singed each cootie, but the taste after a week of soup was worth the pain.

To date that was my worst breakout ever. Over time I’ve figured out what triggers a cold sore breakout for me (and most people) ; too much sun and not enough chap stick, stress, blowing my nose without tucking my lips in (during a cold usually)

I used to get them fairly regularly. I remember when Abreva first came out and seemed to be the answer for most people. At $22 per itty bitty tube it should have cured you for the rest of your life. I tried that tube … once. It didn’t do jack squat for me. Later, however, I found that the pump worked better. I have no idea why. It just did.

I was thinking back not long ago and appreciating the fact that I haven’t had a cold sore in over 2 years. It was miraculous. That was my first mistake – appreciating something positive. I woke up Sunday morning with that all too familiar tingling itch on my lip.

Because my husband had taken a muscle relaxer the night before, I figured I wouldn’t wake him up until 9 so I could go get my magic cootie elixir. The problem was that I woke up at 7 with the kids, so I had 2 hours of NOT treating it.

By the time I made it to the drug store, THREE had begun to emerge. All side by side.


Apparently the stress that was “November” took a while to manifest itself… and lucky me, it manifested itself in the most socially unacceptable, uncomfortable and lousy visible place. My face. My mouth!

I grudgingly treated it for 24hrs, and then endured a day of dropping both kids off and picking them up while people recoiled from my leprosy. I can’t blame them, i’d stare and be utterly hopeless to hide my true disgust as well. It was also the day my son has therapy, so both therapists stood the most professionally acceptable distance away from me to still give me the rundown of his session.


I wanted to just stay home and stick my head in the couch until it all went away.

Around 3:30 this morning I was awoken by a familiar feeling…. something felt strangely repetitive about it. De ja vous-esque.

Another f-cking pair of cold sores beginning on my lip.

Brushing my teeth, showering, speaking, shouting, living. All with now FIVE fucking cold sores!

I refuse to go out in public unless absolutely necessary. I look like I was orally molested by a flock of frogs… or rock stars and/or a meth head.

Walking around in public with cold sores may seem inconsequential to people who don’t get them. To those of us that sport them like an accessory, it’s like walking around dragging a corpse behind you. People can’t help but stare. You can’t help but take them with you. Everyone has to just endure the ride.

I tried to remove my daughter from a tantrum scenario in the waiting room of my son’s therapy session last night. When I tried to plop her onto my lap she started screaming, “NO! Don’t kiss me!! DON’T KISS MEEEEEE!!!!”

Perhaps labor and all it’s indecency and lack of modesty is really training for just these types of situations with the same kid miles down the road. It was embarrassing to have her shouting that in a room full of people, however at least my business was safely tucked inside clothing.

My uncomfortable frustration is fueling my lazy tendencies and making me want to just sit and pout….. but that hurts so i’ll just do minimal housework.

5 thoughts on “Cooties

  1. Sorry to laugh at your pain, but COLD SORE LENORE? I loved those cards. Hell, I might still have some Garbage Pail Kids someplace. Now, to get to the point of this comment: I have a cure for you. It’s very simple, and it goes like this.
    “Circle circle, dot dot, now I have my cooties shot.”
    I’m told it works on all varieties of cooties.


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