We had no sooner returned from Hawaii than my skin started peeling off my face. That was no real surprise. Pasty people from Alaska always lose a layer, or two, of skin upon winter returns from sunny locales. Whereas normal folks might pick up a slightly darker tan, those of us who are translucent to a darker shade of halibut-belly white display our trips with shedding reptile looks.
“Looks like someone went to Hawaii. Nice peel. The skin flapping from the tops of your ears really makes a statement.”
The itching and peeling from the sunburn were somewhat annoying (that, and small children running away in terror screaming, “ZOMBIE!”), but within a couple of days the real problem with traveling presented itself. I started sniffling, then coughing.
It seems to be my lot in life to always draw a seat on the plane directly in front of someone who is sick enough to be on a first name basis with an undertaker. The guy behind me on the flight back from paradise spent the entire six hours doing a remarkable imitation of a horny bullfrog and spewing infectious material all around the cabin. (Yo! Gollum! Thanks a bunch.)
|The pharmacy's solution|
As the congestion increased to the point where I wheezed more than a broken accordion, only without the steady rhythm, I sought succor at the local pharmacy with over the counter remedies. The selection was overwhelming: decongestants, expectorants, cough-suppressors, fever reducers, sleep-inducing, non-drowsy formulas, fruity flavors, no flavors, stuff that tastes so bad it has to cure something. The selection was seemingly limitless, and none of it worked. The congestion got worse and the cough deepened.
|The cat with my right lung. Must catch him.|
In an act of sheer desperation one night, I draped myself over the ottoman in the living room and let my cough have its way with me. The act was not quite as successful as I’d hoped. I did manage to hack up my right lung, but the cat absconded with it before I could respond.
Ultimately, the only course of treatment that seems to be even partially effective is exactly what Grandma would have suggested: rest, aspirin, and lots of water. Rest is not an issue, just thinking about standing up results in complete exhaustion. Aspirin helps reduce the sinus throbbing. I’m sure the idea behind the water is to maintain hydration and flush out the virus. I am guzzling water. However, I’m doing a little twist on Grandma’s cure by diluting the water with copious amounts of quality whiskey. It may not offer a cure, but I don’t really care about being sick.
Now, if I could just catch the cat.
|Multiple symptom relief for the common cold.|