I don't know why I didn't realize this earlier, but the "cold" I have been babying for the last few days -- runny nose, sore throat, stuffy head, plugged ears -- is just my allergies acting up. I was trying to puzzle it out because the only time I was outdoors in Boston was when it was raining, so I couldn't imagine how I would have come into contact with cats, or pollen, or dust.
Then I remembered my allergist's overflowing bucket analogy. I had the stress of travel. I flew in recirculated air, being exposed to all the junk everyone had with them. I spent most of my time in a hotel, which was probably dusty. I ate junkier food than usual. I was tired and stressed. I drank alcohol. I ran out of my unscented products and used the hotel's lovely-smelling Bliss toiletries. Also, no yogurt or other probiotic foods to help keep things under control.
Bingo. Bucket is too full, body rebels.
I pulled out my neti pot this morning, which was something I started using early on in this process but stopped using because it was so uncomfortable. It really works, though it is pretty disgusting and, like my husband said, seems like "something only really weird weirdos would use." It really worked. I feel a lot better. I used my Nasonex after I neti-d, successfully combining East and West treatments. If you have allergies, I really recommend trying it.
I had been not exercising because I felt crappy, but if this is just my allergies, I have to buck up and get to it. There is no way I'm taking off the entire spring season, just when it's finally starting to get nice outside. Sure, the pollen is out there, but the cats and dust are in here!