when i have a cold

My mom was terrified of sickness. Any kind. If we were tossing our cookies in the bathroom, she was as far away as she could get, probably covering her mouth and nose and ears to avoid the sounds and scents. Ew. If I had the flu or a cold and was sent home from school I could count on her to buy me a pink box of Kleenex and a coloring book or a new Barbie, depositing them to me in my room and leaving the throw-up clean up or medicine dispensation to my dad. Later, after my parents divorce, my body seemed to sense her fear and I almost only got sick on the at-Dad’s-house weeks. This is not to say my mom was not a caring woman, or that she didn’t take care of us when it was necessary; she shuttled me to doctor’s appointments and was there holding my hand when I got my first IV for dehydration and she took my temperature so many times throughout that night that it was impossible to sleep. But if being around a sick person could be avoided, she tried her best to.

I’m the same way. And I am sick. Minus allergy attacks, for the first time in three years.

At work I get made fun of for being a little bit… um, mean… when sickness is around. I don’t want sick people using my phone, touching my computer or the doorknob to my office or breathing too close to my face. I am not the friend that is going to come by and take care of you when you’re hacking up phlegm or hot with fever. I will drop off soup and make you stand ten feet away; I’m not coming in and making it for you. If you’re drunk I will surely hold your hair back in a bar bathroom but if you have a stomach bug I will not unless there are gloves and face masks involved. I am terrified of being sick, of not being able to work, of forced movie watching or book reading or plain old sitting around with myself and my thoughts. So I stay the hell away when people around me are inflicted. This time, however, it was The Mister whose cold I caught. As hard as I may try, there is no staying away from him. It’s not his suave-ness or fantastic personality that keeps me close– though I do appreciate those traits– it’s that we only have one bed and I can’t sleep in a SARS mask.

So here we are, sick and annoyed on a Saturday morning. The only consolation is that I got to skip my dental appointment scheduled for 10am. I can feel the yuckies leaving my body and hope to be better by tomorrow. Here’s what I do when I am sick, or on the verge. I usually can stop it before it starts but that didn’t work out so well this time.

1. I drink cayenne pepper. A tablespoon in three fingers of hot water, taken like a shot every three or four hours during the onset. This has helped me avoid colds countless times, even when I already feel that tell-tale tingling of the throat. In a day or so it usually goes away. Wasn’t so lucky this time.
2. Vitamin C like crazy. I know folks say that Vitamin C is a placebo and doesn’t work too well but I’ve found it to be very effective. I take 4,000 mgs when I start to feel bad and 2,000 every few hours after.
3. Echinacea. I usually start taking echinacea daily in the winter months or when people around me are sick. I half blame my getting sick on not being able to find the bottle I brought over when we moved.
4. Garlic. Whole fresh cloves, chewed and swallowed.
5. More cayenne.
6. Water. Really hot water. I read somewhere that water as hot as you can stand it chugged quickly and often kills bacteria or something in your throat. I have no idea if this is true but it feels really good going down.
7. Lime. Added to all water, hot or cold.
8. Honey.
9. Theraflu. The liquid kind, day and night versions. Nothing else seems to work as well and it tastes really freaking good.
10. More cayenne.
11. Kate B made me a hot toddy with Maker’s Mark for my bus ride home yesterday. I put it in my to go coffee cup and sipped it. She even had a stick of cinnamon and fancy lemon rinds in there! I’m lucky I have friends to take care of me even though I’m a sick a**hole who hasn’t done the same.

So there you have it. I’m already coughing up good stuff, which I think is an indicator that the germs are leaving my poor little body. What about you? It’s cold season. Have any tips for avoiding the sickies?


7 responses to “when i have a cold

  1. lol @ sick asshole
    the nasty mixture of honey and lemon coats your throat if it’s scratchy. my mom used to make me drink it.

  2. Bet it smells good at your place when the sickness strikes :-))


  3. You are living my life last weekend. Although I still have a few sniffles, I have been cured! Lots of tea, ginger, and love for my sick husband made it better.

  4. Linda Lacy-Hodge

    Good Morning Meagan – Hope that your are feelin’ betta. When I feel a cold coming on I do the vitamin C at least 2000 mg and Tylenol. Plenty of water and try and rest.

    Take care.

    Linda Lacy-Hodge

  5. Hope you’re feeling better but if you’re not add fresh ginger to your home remedy stash. Peeled and sliced in hot water with lot’s of honey it’s great for everything including stomach flu but especially throat and sinuses.

  6. Sorry to hear that you guys were sick. I cannot say enough good things about a Chinese herbal formula called “Cold Quell.” See if you can find an acupuncturist to sell it to you in Chicago and keep it on hand for the next time you start to feel the scratchy throat coming on. I kid you not: it will scare the living daylights out of the virus, never to be seen again.

    And if you can’t find that little bottle of goodness, cayenne and ginger can be great for the very very beginnings of a cold (clear snot, achey body, sneezing). But once that stuff turns green and you have a raging sore throat, I’d suggest you switch to peppermint and citrus. Cayenne and ginger are just too hot.

    And lots of soup. And water.

    If you end up getting other symptoms, there are other specific foods that can help… too many to list here. Perhaps that helpful Chicago acupuncturist could help you with this too!

    So there you go, that’s what the crazy acupuncture lady advises for next time!

    p.s. I am a college friend of your husband and got turned on to your blog via his FB page… I love it… thank you!

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