No Weapon Is Too Strong in this ‘Cold War’

There’s a nasty bug in the air.   Several weeks ago, on an 11-hour flight to Israel, it crawled into my head, stuffed my sinus cavity like a Thanksgiving turkey, and slithered south to my chest.


I’m sure It was a gift from the wheezing elderly man sitting across the aisle.

 “I hope he’s alive when we get there,” a seatmate had whispered.

We clucked sympathetically. Like us, he must be joining a tour – hopefully not the final entry on his Bucket List.


Within days, I lost sympathy.  I’d become his hacking, wheezing clone, scouring Jerusalem for cold medicine with directions in English. 


“Not to worry,” I told my fellow travelers. ”Two days is my limit for sick.”


By Day 3, I was gasping for air, and so were the others. As we toggled along from Jerusalem to Galilee to Tel Aviv in our sneezy tour bus, the guide added a pharmacy stop and finally sent us home with a cheery “Don’t infect the plane!”  


When I’m well, I’m the first to carp about over-medication.  “We over-prescribe antibiotics,” I say.  “No wonder they don’t work anymore.” 


But back home and still sick, I was willing to go after the bug with a shotgun fit for a moose.  No medicine was too strong, no advice too bizarre. My friends stepped up with a ton.


“Get to the doctor,” said one. ”Don’t you know sinus infections can kill you?”


“Will do,” I said, and came home with something called a Z-Pak.


“You should feel better in five days,” said the doc. 


Five days later and no better, I turned to my alternative medicine pals, who recommended an energy treatment. 


The Energy Lady waved her hands over my chest and calculated that my physical age was 72. “But not to worry,” she said, “your emotional age is 47.”  Feeling ancient, I lay prone for 45 minutes and let the healing energy soak in.


“You will feel much better in five days,” she said, “maybe half better in three days.  Don’t overdo it.” 


“I feel better already,” I told her.


 But just in case, I secretly called for a second antibiotic and a steroid nose spray.  Two days later, I capped it off with a steroid shot.


Meanwhile, my friend Mary, in an e-mail titled The Doctor Is In, suggested I start taking Umcka Cold Medicine, which contains South African red geranium leaves.  I did.


Then our daughter insisted I get a neti pot, a cute little teapot with a long spout used to clean out one’s nostrils with Ancient Secrets nasal cleansing salts.


“It’s not as gross as it sounds,” she said.  She was wrong.


The neti experience was made worse by a YouTube video from another friend of a guy neti-potting himself first with the salt water but then with coffee and bourbon. After that, I couldn’t neti without laughing, which is not a good thing with salt water up your nose.


By this time, five days had passed and I was feeling better.


“Must have been the energy and the neti pot,” I told our daughter.


“Must have been the geranium leaves,” I told Mary.


“Must have been the shot,” I told the doctor.


“Must have run its course,” said my cousin.  I hope she wasn’t right.


Copyright 2009 Pat Snyder

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