Home Remedies

One of the things which has most surprised me about marriage is the plethora of home remedies-related baggage The Wife and I carry into the marriage. She has her set of remedies which may or may not work, and I have my remedies which definitely work. Probably. Maybe.

Here’s an example: right now I’m sick getting better. Apparently, I’ve been this way for about a week: Sunday and Monday I couldn’t stop sleeping, Tuesday I was feeling dizzy, Wednesday my throat started hurting, and Thursday I got a fever. It’s now Friday and although the fever broke last night, my body aches and my tonsils still feel as if they’ve been replaced by bruised oranges.

When this all started, I wasn’t exactly oblivious to what was going on. I knew darn well that I was probably coming down with something, which is why I started my own home remedy regimen: upped my vitamin dosage (especially A, Zinc and C), took echinacea, and started putting large amounts of garlic on my food (Remedy #1). I also started making sure I got more sleep (Remedy #2). In other words, I turned my toilet radioactive yellow, my breath into a check-me-out-Buffy vampire-killing weapon (just in time for Halloween), and into a beast of quasi-eternal slumber.

While doing this kept me feeling pretty good, it didn’t heal me. Thursday morning I started bringing in even more weapons (Remedy #3): I bought a +2 bag of holy anesthetic cough-drops and a couple of bottles of elvish mouthwash. From Target.

You’re probably wondering what’s up with the mouthwash. I use the mouthwash as a disinfectant for my tonsils. Whenever I get sick, specifically with a cold, flu, or anything which bothers my throat, I’ll usually buy Listerine-style mouthwash and gargle it various times during the day to help the tonsils stay clean and able to do their job. (I use the Listerine type of mouthwash in part because of its alcohol content, and because unlike Scope or Glister, it doesn’t bubble up and make me seem like I’m frothing at the mouth.)

Unfortunately, it seems I started the gargling too late. Even though I was gargling every hour or so, my tonsils still felt huge. On top of that, I was feeling cold. Really cold, to the point where I needed to wear a jacket at the office, where it was around 73-degrees. I was coming down with a fever.

Driving home, I turned up the heather in the car. This wasn’t only to warm me up (even though to me it was pretty cold outside), it was also to make me sweat. I figure that if I have a fever, and I sweat when it breaks, then if I induce myself to sweat because of a hot environment I’ll be able to get over the fever quickly (Remedy #4). While I don’t do this for high fevers (103 and above), for low grade fevers this is my first line of defense, if you will.

After I got home, I bundled up with a couple of blankets and just got comfortable. For the last couple of days it has actually been fairly cool down here: temperatures have between the uppper 60’s and upper 70’s. Because of that, the air conditioning hasn’t been on in our place since Monday, which came as an advantage, since the house was already somewhat warm.

By the time The Wife got to the house, my fever had climbed up to about 100. Luckily, this was as high as it would get. When I told her how I was feeling, she automatically said the same thing she always says whenever either one of us is sick: “I’ll make you some chicken soup.” (Remedy #5)

Chicken soup, it seems, is the answer to all illnesses. Got a cold? Chicken soup. Fever? Chicken soup. Pneumonia? Chicken soup. Brain cancer? Chicken soup. Osteoperosis?…

You get the drift.

I turned down the soup because I wasn’t hungry. In fact, I hadn’t been hungry most of the day. About a minute after she first offered, I relented.

“For starters, do we even have chicken soup?” I asked.

“Hmm…” she said, as she dug in the make-shift pantry we created. “No, doesn’t look like it.”

She kept digging as if she was looking for something. A few minutes later, the digging stopped. “Hon,” she said, “I know this is really high I sodium, but do you think Ramen would help?”

What? Chicken Ramen?! I thought. That’s, like, pretend soup!

“Take a look at the ingredients,” I said. “Does that package of ramen have even a trace of actual chicken?”

She looked at the package. “It’s got chicken… flavoring.”

“Yeah, I don’t think that’ll work.” While it is true that chicken soup has some healing properties, I sincerely doubt those benefits extend to things that simply taste like chicken soup. Still, after that I aked, “Hon, do you remember how the saying goes? ‘Feed a fever, starve a cold’? Or is it ‘starve a fever, feed a cold’?”

“Feed a fever, starve a cold,” she said, then added, “I think.”

To me that made sense. “Well yeah,” I started, “I guess that’s right. After all, if you have a fever, then your body is trying to essentially kill whatever microbe is invading your body by over-heating and killing it, right? So, adding food/fuel to the metabolic fire would raise your temperature and help kill things faster. And if you have a cold, then your immune system needs all the energy it can muster up to beat whatever microbes are invading your body, in which case eating food would be bad, since the energy needed for the immune system’s response is instead being used by your digestive system.”

Even with this (probably way wrong) logic, I decided not to eat. I just wasn’t hungry. Instead I took some vitamins and went straight to bed. Maybe I could sleep the fever off. I wrapped myself in blankets and a comforter, and I was out.

Waking up this morning, I realized that my fever was gone: my temperature was at 97.9, which is right at my normal range, and my pillow was drenched in sweat. I guess just talking about chicken soup helped. No ingestion needed. How ’bout them apples? Unfortunately my tonsils still hurt, which is why I decided to take a day off of work today and just stay home, write a little bit, sleep, and avoid the incredibly cold air at the office: I’m guessing drastic temperature changes aren’t particularly good for the immune system. While I’m here, I might as well also try to re-do the site, especially since I submitted my site to be judged by the people at 9Rules for inclusion to their network of blogs. (Dear judges: if you’re reading this, please pick me. Thank you.)

So, to recap: here are four super-secret, apparently-not-all-that-effective home remedies which I’ve tried.

1. More vitamins and supplements, especially A, Zinc and C; echinacea; and raw garlic, lots of if, on my food.
2. More sleep.
3. Gargling Listerine-type mouthwash
4. Inducing sweating by raising the ambient temperature
5. Chicken Soup.

I’m now in the process of trying a sixth home remedy: fudgesicles. They cool my tonsils off and make them feel relatively good.

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