I told the doctor this was unacceptable, and that I was counting on her to provide a cure for the common cold. She tried, plying me with samples of allergy medication that took away my symptoms for the next few days. On Wednesday, nicely doped up, I attended a hastily-convened rehearsal during which I learned I was needed to help out for Musaf, the afternoon service. The woman leading this part was still having problems staying on key; I was to stand off to the side and act as a sort of supporting vocal instrument, steering her back on course as needed. I would be a full third voice for two of the prayers, as well. I was also asked to be gabbai sheni for the Torah reading, the second-string checker up at the bima who would follow along with the machzor to catch any mistakes.
It was all very exciting and intense, and also meant that I would be "on" for the entire Yom Kippur service, either up at the bima or nearby from 9AM to about 2PM. Rabbis do this all the time, with stores of energy that are surely divinely inspired. Or maybe they take special clergy vitamins and sleep for two days beforehand. I have no idea. I wasn't worried, because I'm in good shape and pretty hardy. Friday evening arrived, the service of Kol Nidre, and I could still sing along with a full voice; the allergy medicine seemed to be doing its job. My old and dear friend M. had also flown in from the other side of the country to hear me the next morning, making the occasion seem even more auspicious.
I woke up at 6AM on Saturday, Yom Kippur day, and tried to sing. The Claritin, despite a valiant effort, had reached its limits; I couldn't make a sound. See here for what I did. But this time it worked. By about 8, all the nasty gunk in my throat had been tamed by lots of other drugs and Sun Breeze Oil, my special miracle ingredient, a shot of camphor and menthol that will, in sufficient amounts, blast a hole in your sinuses. What all this medication didn't do was reduce my fever. I was afraid to take my temperature, but I knew it wasn't normal. I didn't care. I could sing, and nothing else mattered.