Tuesday, February 1, 2011

In Search of a Cure for the Common Cold

Same with this one. It might be going out today.

In Search of a Cure for the Common Cold


My all-too-few weeks in Mexico were wonderful. I did all the things one is cautioned against. I ate food from roadside vendors. I drank tap water. With ice cubes. I downed raw oysters prised open by a twinkly-eyed man with dirty fingernails. I gorged on cerviche made with unknown ingredients. I consumed my first-ever octopus. I never had a twinge of the dreaded Montezuma’s Revenge.

One thing I neglected, the piece of advice I never heard, my downfall, in short, “don’t breathe on the airplane”.

The day after my return, I began to cough. My nose created perilous situations. Streams of unsolicited tears gushed from my eyes. Within two days I had lost my voice. I didn’t just misplace it. It went on holiday for an entire week.

I have an unusual number of physician friends. Dr. LGT brought me huge bowls of homemade chicken noodle soup. I wasn’t hungry. “Eat anyway,” she insisted. I ate.

The common cold is a treacherous foe. I downed bottles of nasty green cough syrup, sucked on cough drops until my mouth was raw. Ate enough chicken soup to cackle. Vitamin C? Yep. Hot tea with honey? Yep. Gargle with hot salt water? Yep. Saline nose spray? Yep. Aspirin for my achy-break-y heart? Yep. I smudged with sage. Waved an eagle feather in the four directions. Slept with my feet pointed east. Crossed my heart and hoped to die.

My enemy hung on with variety. Some days, fits of sneezing. Some days, lethargy. Some days, the glands in my throat the size of tennis balls. Always the annoying drip-drip down the back of my throat. Day after day after day.

So last night I called Dr. LG and described my symptoms. “The common cold,” he said, telling me nothing I didn’t already know. “Drink a hot toddy,” he prescribed. “Drink three. Then in the morning if you don’t feel well, you’ll have a good reason.”

“Ewww, I hate whiskey.”

“Then make it rum or brandy. It’s the alcohol that works.”

So this morning I told another friend, Dr. KGB about the remedy. She suggested I substitute lemon juice for the whiskey, add a dollop of honey and fill the mug with hot water.

Then Dr. KDW got into the act. She thought the salt-water gargle worked better than the whiskey, but “Whiskey does have other positive effects.” She recommended Laphroaig Scotch whiskey as the best. “It will warm anything that needs warming!”

Dr. EPL heard of my plight and offered to fly up from California with Southern Comfort, for medicine and for pleasure. She recommended it straight from the bottle.

Then I plunked yet one more chicken into the soup pot, gargled again, made a hot lemon toddy. I called a friend who works at an office in Chinook not far from the nearest liquor store. I asked him to buy me a small bottle of medicine, something of good quality, please, and drop it off on his way home tonight. I told him not to fear. I will meet him at the door with rubber gloves and a face mask.

The next time you fly, don’t breathe the air.

Sondra Ashton

HDN: Looking out my back door

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