Wish I'd Said It

Weeds are flowers too - once you get to know them.

- A. A. Milne

Thursday, October 08, 2009

I Hab A Bad Code (#205)

But they’re the only kind I bother getting these days. Lemme s’plain.

Years ago, throughout my teens, 20s and 30s, I caught a lot of colds and every other one turned into a tonsil and/or sinus infection. Each bout of infection dragged on for weeks. Seemed I was always on antibiotics. Sometime in my late 30s I started taking garlic tablets daily along with vitamin C.

Back in the day, the famous Dr. Linus Pauling touted the benefits of mega doses of vitamin C. And somewhere I must have read something that convinced me to try garlic tablets as well.

I wasn’t about to emulate Pauling’s dosages of umpteen thousand milligrams a day, though. I started taking a daily dose of 500 mg of C and one garlic tablet (or capsule) which contained the equivalent of one garlic bulb’s goodness.

I haven’t had a sinus or tonsil infection since. Honest to Godfrey Daniel.

I also noticed I was getting fewer colds and found that doubling my dosage at the first sign of a tickly nose or slightly sore throat would often banish the symptoms entirely by the next day.

Although other factors could certainly have come into play, I believe that combination of agents helped eliminate (to date - touch wood!) my infections and prevent many colds.

In other words folks, for the last 20 years I’ve been packing a pretty darned impressive immune system. (Heart attacks don’t count.) When I swagger into a room, bacteria whimper and viruses flee. I radiate robustness.


The problem is, since my aforementioned Stupid Heart Attack (has it really been almost five years already?) I’ve had to take a bunch of pills every day. And I don’t like taking a bunch of pills every day.

Admittedly, it’s a relatively small price to pay for staying alive and I don’t begrudge it much but what happened is I started backing off on my daily garlic and C regimen. I just didn’t feel like adding more pills to the pile. Instead, I’d take a double dose at the first sign of something happening and still usually warded it off.

But alas, I am no longer invulnerable. The toughest, gnarliest, battle-hardened viruses now occasionally find a chink in my armour. The last few years, I’ve been getting a cold every year or eighteen months, almost like normal, non-robust people do.

This latest insidious virus slipped through a crack without triggering an alarm. Before I knew it, come last Sunday evening, I was righteously smote by viral vengeance. Yea, brothers and sisters, I was laid low.

With the suddenness of a summer storm, I was beset by chills, a sore throat, runny nose and streaming eyes. Knowing it was too late, I nevertheless gobbled down a garlic and C, almost - lapsed Catholic that I am - like a desperate Act of Contrition.

I was not saved.

Over the next 48 hours my initial symptoms were joined by headaches, congestion, an overproduction of phlegm and a painfully strained rib cage muscle (an unwelcome and unpleasant byproduct of coughing).

I bought a chicken and fixin’s and made soup. My only other medication was an occasional acetaminophen washed down with a hot toddy. Or maybe three hot toddies. My memory is a tad hazy because I was delirious.

Anyway, today, following a pretty good night’s sleep, I’m happy to report feeling quite a bit better.

And I’ve decided to renew my garlic and C habit. There aren’t that many heart meds, really. I’m down to five a day, from seven, so I really have no excuse.

It may well be that I’ll never get a cold again.

Although, those toddies were good. Kinda like a tonic. Hmm...might be helpful to add them to the garlic and C preventative strategy....

Yes folks, yet again, your kindly servant is prepared to sacrifice himself on the bleeding edge of medical research in order to learn Important Things which he will then, of course, pass on to you.

You’re very welcome.


Hot Toddy Recipe: Fill 2/3rds of a large mug (mine holds about 16 ounces or half a litre) with hot/boiling water. Add a capful of lemon juice concentrate, a teaspoon of honey and a generous splash of whisky, spiced rum, or my new favourite, Alpenbitter No. 7. Mix well and sip slowly. Reheat and repeat as necessary.


Hilary said...

I'm really glad you're feeling better but wonder where you got the idea to resume taking garlic and C.. you're very welcome. ;)

I'm also hoping that your strained ribcage muscle is just that and nothing worse. Kind of like your heart attack was only supposed to be your hernia.. for at least one full week.

You can make a toddy for me in a few day.. hold the water. ;)

Anonymous said...

Okay, first and foremost thanks for the Hot toddy recipe!

I take the C, but the garlic...That is new info I will try for sure.

5 pills does sound like a lot, but closer to 1, where 7 sounds closer to 10. Still, thank heavens for the drugs we need.

Take care! PS I liked Hilary's idea to hold the water on the toddy :).

Reb said...

I am with you on not wanting to add anything to the number of pills you have to take. But 5? that's nothing...try 18, plus an inhaler and a spray. Oh god...they would shoot me if I was a horse!

Bruce Robinson said...

I'm glad you're feeling better.

I spent the years between birth and age twenty suffering similarly. After getting fired for absence due to illness, I had a tonsillectomy. I still got a cold each year.

Then along came Yukon Jack. At the first sign or symptom Jack jumps into a neat tumbler. I lift it to my nose and behold, a miracle happens!

Sinus' clear and the throat begs for, and gets, a taste. Git 'er down. Then follow with another. That's it. All gone. Ready for anything after that.

My wife the nurse thinks that Vitamin C is a good thing. But she likes Jack, Yukon Jack better.

Thumbelina said...

How often is "as necessary"? (Please say as many times as I like!)
Glad you're feeling better. I can truly empathise on the pill thing and not taking extras 'cos I gotta take these ones and don't like it...
Glad you listened to Hilary and back on the garlic and vit C.

Take care of yourself now. What was Benny doing through all this delirium of yours?

Leah J. Utas said...

Totally with you on the garlic and Vit C. Dunno what you're on but one of heart meds, the rat poison, frowns upon garlic. I eat it, but don't take the supplements.
Toddy sounds good and good for you.

Cloudia said...

Sending you healing wishes from Waikiki

Aloha, Friend!

Comfort Spiral

Frank Baron said...

Gee Hil, wonder where YOU got the idea for garlic and vitamin C in the first place? ;) I'll keep a toddy warm for you. :)

You're welcome Meredith. God forbid you should catch a cold but if you do - you now know what measures to take. :)

Reb, any time I start to feel remotely sorry for myself, for whatever reason, it usually doesn't take too long to realize there's others carrying much heavier loads. (Contemplation of which, of course, lightens ones own.) I hope the day comes when you can get by with many fewer pills but I'm glad they're keeping you well enough to visit this fishy guy's blog. I appreciate it. Take care. :)

Bruce, I bought a bottle of Yukon Jack last year. I took a nip or two and enjoyed it but later found that it didn't agree with me. Not positive that it was the liquor, I had some again the following weekend. With the same 4 a.m. result. However, enough time has passed that I'm willing to chalk up both bouts to coincidence and give it another try. Might not wait 'til I have a cold either. I'll let you know the results. Thanks for the visit. :)

Thumbelina, for me, "as necessary" means until negotiating the stairs to bed requires thought, planning, luck, and a helpful tail wind. ;) And I don't think my delirium impacted Ben's life at all. He still got fed and walked. Just not by me every time. :)

Not to worry, Leah. I don't take the rat poison. Pretty sure....

Thank you Cloudia and Aloha back at you. :)

Anonymous said...

Frank! Glad you are feeling better...the todedy ricepeeee is rely godd...ty



Frank Baron said...

Lol! Happy to oblige, Lisa. Thanks for the visit. :)

Skunkfeathers said...

Y'know...I tried the mega C with garlic pills dosing thing when I travelled back in the late 80s/early 90s.

It seemed to work for a while, til I travelled to NYC, and got mugged by a gang of Italian chefs in Little Italy.

I dropped the garlic, knowing that I was now vulnerable to vampire attacks. But garlic, crucifixes and Acts of Contritions have never stopped the IRS, so eh.

Just do what works (aka, what Hilary et al say).

Ruth Cooke said...

I hab a code too. :( I think I will start with the garlic and vitamin C thing as well. Glad to hear you're better, Frank.

The Unbreakable Child said...

Happy you are feeling bettter, Frank and happy I found you.

one thing: acetaminophen and hot toddy are a dangerous mix.

Frank Baron said...

Skunkfeathers, that sounds truly harrowing. Glad you survived. ;)

Hope you feel better soon, Ruth. :)

Thanks UC. I've heard that combination could cause problems. I rarely take even two acetaminophens in a day. But I appreciate the caution. Your first visit and you already care! ;)

Big Plain V said...

Frank - as a healthcare professional, I commend you on your scientific findings.

(and drink those toddies twice daily -- they're also good for your heart)

Tammie Lee said...

to turn a funk around that fast is quite impressive, vit c and garlic is a good thing. Sometimes when i feel a funk coming on, it amazes me what a glass of red wine can do. I will up my c for sure. Be well!

Frank Baron said...

Ray, I hear you. And I obey. ;)

Tammie Lee - whatever works - count me in favour! Thanks for the visit. :)

Charlie said...

Glad you're feeling better, Frank. I haven't done the vitamin C / garlic thingy. Fortunately, like you, I have a robust Canajun constitution born of eight months a year of pond hockey and snow forts and rarely get laid low by a virus. Mind you, the missus never misses (ooh, alliteration, sorta!) an opportunity to add garlic to a recipe.

I do have to hide the ice cream.

Kappa no He said...

I'm glad your feeling better, too. And I didn't know about the heart attack. Stay healthy forever and ever. You and Hilary both.

I do, however, recommend eating that garlic raw and whole. Mmmm, garlic... I'm a garlic fiend. People flee from me and I always get a seat on the train.

Dianne said...

I think I am where you were

so I am off to 'toddyville'!!

and I shall reheat and repeat ;)

Frank Baron said...

Thanks Charlie. Hope you haven't jinxed yourself. Stay well my friend. :)

Terrie, I eat lots of garlic in my diet too. But *someone* who shall remain nameless (Hilary) occasionally objects. ;) Thanks for the well-wishes.

Dianne, I hope it helps. I have faith that when you get to the "repeat" part of the process, you'll be experiencing considerably less discomfort. Get well soon. :)