Wish I'd Said It

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

- A. A. Milne

Monday, October 19, 2009

October Is The Best Month Because (#206)

1- Summer’s heat is gone - replaced by pleasant days and cool, almost cold nights. The air smells cleaner and feels lighter.

2- All the major North American sports seasons overlap. On any given day one can watch baseball, hockey, basketball or football. Sometimes, in an eyeball-bending orgy of remote control button mashing, one can watch eight or more games a day. (Not recommended for the casual sports fan. Sprains are common and hernias not unheard of.)

3- Mosquitoes are history ‘til June.

4- The fall colours are spectacular. October is the month in which Mother Nature reverts to childhood and finger paints her world. The lush green of the past several months still exists but now it’s in patches, surrounded by gleeful splashes of yellow, orange, red and brown.

5- Rainbow trout (Steelhead) start staging at the mouths of creeks that empty into the Great Lakes. There are few prettier sights than a crimson-slashed, sliver slab of finned muscle leaping at the end of one’s line.

6- The crowds thin out along my favourite walking paths. The salmon run is over (finally!). Ben and I start having stretches of creek and field to ourselves again.

7- The falling leaves make bird-spotting an easier task.

8- Children are settled back into school. Adults (who don’t teach for a living) seem to be in better humour. Probably not a coincidence.

9- The cool, nearly-cold nights make sitting around a fire more than just a pleasant indulgence. It awakens ancient, dna-deep memories of huddling around flames when doing so was necessary to stay alive.

10- It’s a time of plenty. The last harvests are coming in. Mason jars and other canning equipment appear on store shelves. I don’t “put up” jams or tomatoes or that sort of thing myself but I like to think others are. It reminds me of my youth when my mother and grandmothers prepared goodies that would last through the winter months.

11- Halloween.

12- There’s still two full months before having to panic about Christmas shopping.

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.