“Rebound congestion”: it’s another of those bland bits of medical jargon, like “cerebral contusion”, that give no hint of the actual discomfort accompanying their referents. “Rebound congestion”—roll it around your mouth and then imagine waking up from a nightmare of smothering only to find that you really are suffocating and that your last sight on this earth will be a wall full of Post-It notes itemizing uncompleted household chores, and that you will die, not in the loving arms of the inexplicably beautiful offspring of a former Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, but in the limp embrace of your Zippy hot water bottle cover.
I’ve (again!) had a cold recently and I foolishly chose to try to suppress its symptoms for an evening with a “powerful decongestant”. This is something I normally avoid, precisely because of rebound congestion: the extreme and chronic expansion of nasal linings that follows the withdrawal of said decongestant. Not since the last time I broke my nose and spent a fortnight pulling red-black clot casts of the inner surfaces of my nasopharynx out of my face have I experienced such a comprehensive feeling of being bunged up.
Yes, girls, I am a whiny boy with a minor, self-limiting viral infection of the upper respiratory tract.