Partial Bullshit, Uncategorized

Hello, I have a Cold: A Guide to Remedies

cold-gif

I got this gif from here. A listing of things Vaporub can do. 

For three weeks I was a coughing wreck. It would come on strong in the evening as I snuggled down to sleep. The cold, lung-rattling coughs, throwing my head back to lengthen, straighten my throat so that any untoward visitors could writhe out so they could be disposed of.

And yet this monster hung on, wedged in my sinuses wreaking havoc. As is custom, I played the game of ‘Ought I visit the doctor?’

Of course, this is the United States where healthcare is costly and you do everything possible to avoid missing work or ponying up that $30 co-pay on top of the hundreds you already pay per month for service from a company that will ultimately pick and choose what they deign to cover.

And ultimately, it was a cold.

A virus. So I just had to wait it out as they say. Drink plenty of fluids. Get some rest. But I knew there was a secret some where. Everyone has an idea and everyone has an opinion. And you just get to the point – I reached it at 10 days – when you are willing to try any suggestion.

Please find herewith a chronicle of the remedies in various categories I tried and their efficacy or lack thereof based on a scale of ‘Just for Shits & Giggles’ to ‘Meh’ to ‘Sorta’.

Folksy

  • Fire Cider: This is what the fancy granola kids down at the co-op are doing these days. Horseradish, garlic, onion, ginger, and chiles all dolled up in apple cider vinegar. Here’s the recipe I’m trying.
    • Rating: Sortathis was a good kind of folksy that also got points for harnessing my obsession with Mr. Can Do No Wrong ‘Apple Cider Vinegar’. I don’t know if it did much for my cold. But I now have more hair on my chest, so that’s great.
  • Vicks® VapoRub on the feet + heavy socks: Every single time I have a cold and every single time I talk to Mom, we go over this one again. Before bed slather on a decent amount of Vicks® VapoRub or equivalent on the bottom of your feet. Put on heavy socks. Go to bed.
    • Rating: Just for Shits & Giggles, I’ll keep trying it because Mom says so, but I normally wake up with a cough and sticky, jelly socks.
  • Grandma’s hot toddy recipe – Directly before bed, take an 8 oz tumbler and fill it halfway with whiskey (not the good stuff), add 3 TB sugar, lemon juice and then fill it the rest of the way with hot water. Slam it in one fell swoop. Jump into bed with three extra blankets on top. Sleep.
    • Rating: Meh/Sorta, this one kind of does the trick b/c you’re wasted. But somehow it didn’t actually stop my cough, so I was hacking and wasted. Plus, I woke up at 2am and already had a hangover, so I had to drink a pile of water and take an aspirin. Then I had to get up and use the toilet. So with slight modifications, this one might work.

Herbalish

  • Oil of Oregano: Colds are generally a bonding activity. We all have them, we all have tricks. Janice from Vermont said I should do this one. It took me a while to find. I tried it. Wafts of Italy drifted up from deep inside all day. But with more minor colds it was somewhat effective, I think. With my current cold it did nothing.
    • Rating: Just for Shits & Giggles/Sorta
  • Olive Leaf: See wafts of Italy above.
    • Rating: Just for Shits & Giggles
  • Fenugreek/Thyme: See wafts of Italy above. But Thyme tea is actually pretty effective for chest issues.
    • Rating: Sorta
  • Yin Chao: A Chinese herbal mix that’s supposed to do something. If you let the pills linger in your mouth with water, it’s kind of sugary, which is cool.
    • Rating: Meh

Druggy

  • Mucinex: Besides a horrible name – though appropriate – this is largely an excuse to ingest a bunch of stuff with difficult to pronounce names that couldn’t do shit against this cold.
    • Rating: Just for Shits and GigglesI have yet to have Mucinex have any effect on anything I have ever had. If there is any effect, it’s mostly that weird druggy, unnatural dried out thing where you kind of feel worse because it does one thing good, but is that feeling any better than being sick? I’m not sure.
  • Sudafed: – On Day 9, my friend Theo shared his sworn-by remedy and slipped me a 500mg tablet of Sudafed while at work. Just take it and keep taking it to dry things out while giving your body a chance to do it’s recovery thing.
    • Rating: SortaTheo’s right. It did take away some of the sinus pressure and reduced the volume of snot coming out. But I also had that feeling that there was some dried up diseasy stuff in my sinuses that was just rattling around and being gross instead of going away.
  • NyQuil: The old standby has nothing on this cold. I just ended up with a dry draft house up in sinus town, a hoarse cough and no sleep.
    • Rating: MehI remember about how cool NyQuil was when I was younger. But at this point, I’d take the hot toddy instead and skip all of the druggy crap here.
  • Anti-Freaking-Biotics (Augmentin): After nearly three weeks with a cough, a tired wife and a sleepy child, I finally went to the doctor. While everything sounded normal, my sinuses seemed weezy and infection-y so he prescribed this stuff.
    • RatingSortait’s tough to tell if the stupid cold was just finally running its course or if this knocked it out. I’m prone to think the former, but don’t want to underestimate the latter. Either way, boosting my yogurt intake for the time being.

So that’s about all I got through. I’m getting tired of this post. What do you get up to when you get a stubborn cold that just won’t quit?

 

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hell, Pure Bullshit

Fair Trade for Whom?

It started creeping up a few months ago. In some context in the political arena, it was mentioned, “We need fair trade, not free trade!”

And I appreciated that. I got excited. I mean, I work for Fairtrade America. This is the kind of stuff that could drive interest through the roof.

Boy howdy, I thought, well here we go. Someone really gets it. Someone who understands that many of our current problems result from exploitation of those less fortunate. The fact that costs on store shelves hardly ever consider externalities – the true costs. The horrible way power is consolidated in trade houses and risk is heaped on farmers, the ones with the most to lose. Someone who realizes that bigger isn’t always better.

Then I realized who said it.

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beefjerky, Germany, Light Crap

A Difference of Taste

I still like to write people letters occasionally. And generally, if you receive a letter from me, it will include a clipping from a magazine or the weekly grocery store circular. When I lived in Germany, my favorite clippings were in the weekly Angebote at Rewe or Edeka. Most of the stuff was standard and of little interest, but the pictures of meat were exactly that: meat in the raw.

Big slabs of Kalbsbraten bleeding Schweinenackenbraten, pasty Hähnchenbrustfilets, or flaccid Puteschnitzel. They had it all – and all was presented rather matter of fact. Sure, there’d be the occasional decoration propped nearby, like the slices of pepper next to that floppy chicken breast below, but most of it was blissfully unadorned.

schinkensteaks_1_pl_61240roastbeef_1_plkopiekalbsbraten_aus_keule_1_pkopiehaehnchenbrust_3_plschweinenackenbraten_m_knkopieschinkensteaks_1_pl_61240roastbeef_1_plkopiekalbsbraten_aus_keule_1_pkopiehaehnchenbrust_3_plschweinenackenbraten_m_knkopieschinkensteaks_1_pl_61240roastbeef_1_plkopiekalbsbraten_aus_keule_1_pkopiehaehnchenbrust_3_plschweinenackenbraten_m_knkopie

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Serious Shit

Where I’m at now…

I always thought it was an exaggeration – the way people talked about the way your life changes when you have a child. One second, you’re fine; next second, an emotional mess.

I remember the first time it happened while on parental leave. In that first month, everyone is tired, but the kid sleeps so much that you actually find yourself with a decent amount of free time – provided you occasionally get bored of staring at your child while they sleep.

I took those spare moments to pull up classic films I’d never seen – among them ‘Paris, Texas’ from Wim Wenders. I won’t bore you with a synopsis, but at one point a long-absent father tries to meet his estranged son after school.

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Light Crap

Like Chips Passing in the Night

mug-beer-potato-chips-bottle-65477367

Yes, this image is copyrighted. But it depicts the problem at hand.

“Have a happy fourth of July,” the checkout lady said as I packed up my chips and beers and other fixings for the fourth.

But I just wonder how that could happen the way things are.

I was going to write a clever blog about one of the key differences between life in the US and Germany. But I’ll just get straight to the point and then to bed.

In Germany most bottled beers come in half liters.
Which is good.
Most chips and pretzels come in small bags.
Which is not good.

In the US, most bottled beers come in tiny bottles.
Which is not good.
Most chips and pretzels come in bags you could use to suffocate an elephant seal.
Which is good.

I just thought that this was interesting.

 

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duh, Germany, petpeeve

My Four Most Productive Months

Callous

About halfway through the summer of 2015 I discovered it – a large, scaly callous. And once discovered, I was bewildered. How do you even achieve a callous on your ankle bone? It wasn’t until two weeks later that I realized what had happened.

I woke up with our baby one morning and we began our normal routine – the same routine we’d had for the past few months. We sat cross-legged on the rug and played before I did my morning exercises. As I went to rise, I leaned in and felt my ankle scrape the rug.

At the time I was coming to the end of three months of paid parental leave. Being your typical desk jockey, I wasn’t accustomed to this much sandal-wearing, floor-sitting or child-lifting, and all of the cross-legged sitting had taken its toll on the old ankle bone.

In total I had taken four months of paid (60% or so) leave. My wife had taken 10 months. This is parental leave in Germany. Fourteen paid months in total between us. Along with state mandated protection for the mother’s job (or an equivalent post) for up to two more years of leave unpaid. Not to mention the special eight weeks of ‘Mutterschutz’ for the mother before and after birth.

I’ve had a lot of trouble writing this post in a constructive way.

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cockfights, Serious Shit

Dear Jerk,

Image ganked from this blog, which is actually a really nice post.

Image banked from this blog, which is actually a really nice post.

You probably saw me stammer through my phone number as I talked with the clerk at the T-Mobile counter. I was wearing a pair of jeans with an untucked button-up shirt. My wife had a maroon skirt and a simple top and our baby was wearing a blue striped zip-up and smiling her face off.

You, I remember it clearly, you had on a pair of black cargo pants and a white t-shirt, which you had tucked in. It strained to contain your tummy. Your hair was swept back, a month or two past the due date for a trim.

You stood at the counter talking politely, but firmly with the staff. At your hip a holstered pistol.

And I did it, I foisted a stereotype upon you.

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