Tuesday, December 11, 2012
I hab a code in by node
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.
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.
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.