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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I hab a code in by node

It's not the flu.

I know that for a fact.

When you have the flu, you can't move. You can't lift your head off the pillow. Your knees suddenly turn to jello. Every bone, every joint and every muscle in your body hurts. You're afraid you might die and then sometimes wish you would.  And, with the flu, you just might.

No, it's not the flu.

It's not allergies.

I know that for a fact.

I have been seeing an allergist for almost two years now and have been getting a series of allergy shots - first three times a week, then once a week. Now, it's once every two weeks and, in March, I'll start getting my shots once a month for a year and I'm done.

So, I know my allergens and it's not the season for any of them.

No, it's not the flu and it's not allergies.  Which both suck, but it's not either of those two.

This is an old fashioned, regular, boring, very annoying head cold.

It still sucks.

I know THAT for a fact.

I have a low-grade temp which sometimes causes the most annoying chills. I sneeze. Loudly. And, when I least expect it. My throat is a bit scratchy, but not sore. I have a slight dull headache. I'm just ever so slightly and not consistently woozy, which limits my abilities of observation and analysis - and, sometimes, speech.

My nose is stuffy, when it isn't runny at the most unexpected and inappropriate times.  I mean, I'll be talking with a colleague about a patient or a person in the grocery store and all of a sudden, I feel this trickle mid-point in my nose. And even though I get my hand into my pocket to fetch a tissue in reflexive action that would rival Annie Oakley, it still manages to feel as if it is dangling from my nose, leaving me to feel like a 4 year old whose mother isn't around to wipe her nose properly.

And, my energy level has gone to the lunch room, found the time clock and punched out, taking with it my appetite. All I want is cold stuff. Popsicles. Frozen fruit pops. Ice cream.

I keep forgetting. Is it "Feed a cold and starve a fever" or "Starve a cold and feed a fever"?

And, what, exactly, do you feed either a cold or a fever? Whatever. I'm just drinking lots of fluids. Water, mostly, but juice. Blueberry. Pomegranate. Cranberry. Apple.  Along with chewing lots of Vitamin C gummies and some Vitamin B for a bit of an energy boost.

Oh, and Zicam. On my tongue. Allowing it to melt. Which seems to be working.  I don't know how it works, exactly, but it does.

I'm just trying to keep it from going to my chest.

When I was a kid, my grandmother went into warrior mode every October. We'd have to take Fr. John's Medicine - a horrid tasting stuff that was a mixture of cod liver oil and licorice. Yes, you read that right. Cod liver oil and licorice. Gross. Horrid. The very taste of Evil, in fact.

We'd have to take a tablespoon of the stuff every day. In the morning. Right after breakfast which we'd wash down with a glass of juice. Didn't help. It still made me wretch just thinking about having to taste it.

In addition to that, we had to take Brewer's Yeast. Which, if you didn't know, is a fungus which is also sometimes used to make beer.  And, it tastes bitter. Very, very bitter.

You can now get it in pills and swallow it down without so much as holding your nose. Then, my grandmother would slice some off of a large, stinky cake of Brewer's Yeast which my grandfather used to make beer and dissolve it in small saucer of hot tea laced with lots and lots of sugar.

It wasn't as bad as the tablespoon of Fr. John's but there was more of it. And, the aftertaste was so bad that my siblings and cousins and I thought that the reason we never got a cold was because no self-respecting germ would ever dare enter our mouths and get anywhere near that horrible stuff.

However, if you DID catch a cold (AKA "Catching your death of pneumonia"), my grandmother had a "cure" for that, too.

First, she would make something called a "Mustard Plaster" - a poultice of ground mustard seeds, spread on a torn piece of one of my grandfather's or uncle's flannel shirts. Then, she smeared it on your chest and wrapped it into place with a large piece of flannel so you looked like a victim of the Civil War. I can still hear her ripping the flannel, making two "tails" on the piece of flannel which she used to tie it all in place.

"You've got to sweat out a cold," she would say. And trust me: with that Mustard Plaster on, you would sweat like a pig.

Next, you would spend some time hanging over a large bowl of steaming hot water into which my grandmother had added a few huge globs of "Vick's Vapor Rub".

She would drape a towel over your head and the bowl, and you would spend 20-30 minutes inhaling the menthol until you thought your nasal passages would be cleared out straight back into your brain.

Then, she would take some of my grandfather's home made red wine and heat it with a sprinkle of sugar and a slice of lemon.  You would slowly sip that sucker down and sleep for the next three days.

When you woke up, your cold was miraculously gone.

Oh, I remember waking up long enough to sip a mug of chicken broth or slurp some chicken noodle soup ("Portuguese Penicillin") but it always felt as if I was doing so while sitting in a thick haze.

In between the soup and the sleep, we would be allowed all the Popsicles we could eat. And, I think I ate a ton of them.

Quick medical alert: If you have not yet gotten your flu shot, please do. No joke. It's important. The life you save could be your own. And, a few others.

My primary care physician says, "If you treat a cold, it will go away in seven days. If you don't treat a cold, it will go away in seven days." The deal is to manage the symptoms.

I'll make it through the next week without any of my Grandmother's home remedies.  Colds happen.  Even to the best of us. I'll survive. We all do.

But, it helps to complain about it a bit. Sympathy is a wonderful antidote to feeling miserable. Please do feel free to fuss over me a bit, and tell me how sorry you are that I'm not feeling well.

If you could hear me, I would elicit tons of sympathy from you.

It's the one time an adult is allowed to whine and I, for one, relish every moment of it.

It won't cure my cold but it will make me feel like someone cares. Which, I suppose, was the real "medicine" in my Grandmother's War on the Common Cold.

Lots of love in the form of warmth and care and sugar and Popsicles.

It also cut down considerably on the whining.

But when you get right down to it, when you hab a code in da node, lobe is all you need.

I know that for a fact.

27 comments:

Sextant said...

My mother's choice of treatment for all maladies including physical trauma was Milk of Magnesia to clean you out. If your illness involved anything vaguely respiratory then Vicks vapor rub was slathered on your forehead and chest and the bowl of hot water with the gobs used as well. Oh but still with extra does of Milk of Magnesia.

My mother was something of a nut about both products, she used them on herself to the bitter end. One time she had a sore throat, she took dollops of Vicks on her fingers and smeared it around in her throat as far as she could reach. I was an adult not at home any longer and I questioned her, she did it all the time to herself.

I have managed to survive quite well for the past 48 years with neither product.

Mean while do take care of yourself and get well soon, in about 7 days.

Marthe said...

Besides the love, first you must have flannel jammies. If you have none, send someone out to get some, right now, tout de suite, immediately. One cannot suffer any version of a cold without flannel jammies, preferably with cute animals on them, but if you're of the dignified nighty set, at least get some in a good color. Also, Seven-Up and cinnamon donuts are guaranteed to help - it's a fact, the bubbles are good for the tummy and the cinnamon is a fine antioxidant strengthening your compromised immune system. And finally, you must stay away from work - must - not negotiable, if not for your ever so deeply deserving self, then to avoid spreading the germs to others ... contagious martyrs do not get statues, they get burned in effigy by the survivors.
There, there dear ... have another tissue ... it will be over soon.

Susan Pederson said...

Oh Elizabeth, I am so sorry that you have a cold in your nose!! It is the worst feeling!
I do have to say you were somewhat lucky, we had take Cod Liver Oil straight! YUCK!!
I hope that you feel better!

Jim said...

I would think we had the same grandmother except for me it was straight cod liver oil, and clear beef broth with paprika dumplings so heavily seasoned, they were pink.

I have had the flu, the real one, once. That was the year the CDC missed a significant strain when it formulated the shots. It happens. For 2 weeks, Sue-z and I were so sick we had a sad joke about death not parting us!

I second you thought: for goodness sake, get the vaccination!

Hope you feel better soon. Keep taking that zinc!

FWIW
jimB

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for bringing back memories and making me laugh out loud. Jewish and Native American Great grandmother echoed the sentiments of your Portuguese grandmother.

Nancy said...

Am out of Vicks, but thanks for the reminder. Sending lobe.
And this, to make you laugh when you're able.
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=4067189561613

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Sextant - My father's big thing was Robitussin. At the slightest sign of a cough or cold, he had bottle in one hand and teaspoon in the other.

BTW, Cod Liver oil has a laxative effect. Not pleasant.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Marthe - I do have flannel jammies. Red. Eddie Bauer. I got them for Christmas about 10 years ago from a daughter who teased me mercilessly about my old pair which was at least 25 years old and worn thin in places. This one is finally "seasoned". I trot it out whenever I have a cold or am not feeling good.

Thanks for the sympathy. It helped.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Susan. Cod liver oil with licorice is worse than cod liver oil. Trust me on this. YUCKY - poo.

I am feeling better today. Thanks for the sympathy.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

JimB - I had the flu. Once. About 10 years ago. Have not missed the flu shot since. God, that was awful!

I'm feeling better today. Thanks for the sympathy.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Unknown (please leave your name next time) - I think Jung had it right when he talked about the "collective unconscious".

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Nancy, thanks for the lobe and the laugh. You're the best.

Lynn said...

Whenever I was sick, my mother would recommend I go to my room and sleep until I felt better. My father, on the other hand, would come in after work and sit on the edge of my bed to see how I was feeling. I can vividly remember how my symptoms would seem to improve, just by his presence. Looking back, I now understand that it was the compassion and sympathy that made the difference. So, I am sending you my sympathy and good wishes, as well as my admiration, for highlighting what really is important in life. Feel better soon.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Lynn - I couldn't agree more. Thanks so much.

Unknown said...

I signed in with my Google account, didn't think I had to leave my name also. ;-)
lis

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh, hey, Lis. Well, it came up "unknown" so I wus jus askin'. ;~)

MadPriest said...

It's God's punishment on you, woman. I don't know what for but I'm sure you've done something naughty recently.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Indeed, Mad Priest. It's just me. My whole being. A miserable offender, I am. Oh woe!

MadPriest said...

No. It will be something more specific than that. You've probably been mean to some poor bloke or looked scruffily dressed in public.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Ah, then, you would know.

MadPriest said...

I'm never mean, only nasty.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Indeed, when you aren't humorous and charming - which sometimes occurs simultaneously with being nasty. Not sure how you do that, but it's often very effective.

MadPriest said...

A complete inability to self-censor or think about what I'm saying. Fortunately, I am actually quite a nice person at heart so I rarely say things to friends that are too horrible. Unfortunately I don't tend to regard bishops as friends which has led to some unfortunate consequences.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

You are, indeed, quite a nice person. Unless, of course, you consider yourself "crossed". Then, it's "Nellie, bar the door."

MadPriest said...

I think it's being misunderstood that makes me angry. If I think people are not listening to what I am saying that really gets me angry and sometimes, it has to be admitted, a little bit rude and aggressive. Normally when people think I am cross I am just having fun. But then that is something you would know all about as well.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Indeed.

Liquid EPDM rubber coatings said...

I understand the situation you have suffered. because i have also suffered from the flu. and the only way to face it the rest and heavy antibiotic usage which is some time very bad for future.