My brain is now working, and I think I'm going to be fine. From Thursday evening through this morning, I was very, very afraid this Rosh Hashonah would be a replay of last Yom Kippur, when I led services with a cold and fever. Although, in retrospect, it was an incredible experience, it wasn't much fun at the time. Before beginning each prayer I said a silent one of my own: "Dear God, please let a sound come out of my mouth. Any sound." God was compliant, although some of the sounds weren't too pretty.
But I think I've escaped the worst. I'm usually curmudgeonly about colds; I believe that no amount of pharmaceuticals, herbs, or vitamins will have any effect, and all you can really do is wait for the thing to run its course. This time around I solicited the advice of everyone I knew, and actually followed it. For two days I plied myself with enough natural and homeopathic remedies to open a health food store. Chicken soup, too. (Over-the-counter medications get rid of the symptoms, but make me feel worse; I save them for the most desperate of times.)
Whether they worked or it was just luck, I have no idea. But what started out as a potentially dire situation (sore throat, stuffed head, the kind of thing that usually lasts over a week and escalates to a little man sitting on my chest, pounding my head with a mallet) is now a mere head cold. Throat feels fine, and I'm once again able to form complete sentences.
I made it to the last hour of services this morning; I wasn't feeling great, but didn't want to spend all of Shabbat indoors with self-pity as my only company. I arrived to hear the cantor singing... nothing, for the first time in my six years of attending services. Apparently he also has a cold, caught as quickly as mine; I spoke to him Thursday afternoon and he sounded fine. What are the Holidays without a little drama?