by Jennifer Stevenson
Every writer who relies on their writing income worries about illness stopping them from writing. I’m one of those lucky people who can (when motivated, such as by bills) write when I’m sick, sore, overtired, dead asleep, cranky, or under the influence. But I do fear illness, if for no other reason than it makes me suck at roller skating or riding horses.
This year smacked everybody I know with a combination intestinal flu, head cold, sore throat, and cough. It got me two weeks ago, and I’m finally beating it. I got stupid for only five days, but it did stop me from writing those five days.
Things that helped kill it, and things that helped it kill me:
Killed it: Garlic shooters. Garlic is antibiotic, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory. Eat something first. Then smash a fresh clove of garlic. Put it into ¼ cup of water. Shoot it past your tongue & down your throat. (The Very Butch can chew their garlic—I can’t.) Chase with more water.
FYI #1, garlic pills don’t work. The good stuff in garlic dies ten minutes after crushing, and you have to crush it to release the good stuff in the first place.
FYI #2, my skate coach, who is More Butch Than Anybody, thought he would improve on my shooter recipe by putting two cloves in a blender with water and drinking it all down on an empty stomach. Good recipe for praying to the porcelain god. Just crush it, okay? One clove, not on an empty stomach.
Killed me: Going to speed skating practice with half a dozen rug rats—all of whom, btw, smoked my shorts on their in-lines. Children are a recognized source of germs. They trade them at school as if germs were baseball cards. If you can’t avoid children when your health is vulnerable, then double up on all your defenses.
Killed it: Sleep. There is no substitute.
Killed me: Eating sugary foods—holidays with family, oops! Invasive infections love sugar. (As does cancer, did you know that?) One of the best ways to kill your cold fast is to cut out all sugar. Instead, load up on veggies in your chicken soup. Yes, carrots and onions are a weak palliative when you’re craving the hard stuff, but they will starve out your disease.
Killed it: Gargling with salt water. In this department I will add nasal irrigation with the netti pot. I use two versions: plain hot salt water and salt water with an eyedropper of tincture of goldenseal, another natural antibiotic.
Killed me: Alcohol. See holidays and sugar. Drink water instead. Not soda, not tea, not sports “water,” not coffee. A gallon of water a day will work miracles.
Killed it: New stealth weapon against colds that involve the sinuses, throat, or ears: Floss well and then rinse with mouthwash and/or hydrogen peroxide. Your mouth breeds germs because it’s full of germ food (sugar). Other people’s germs often enter your system through your mouth. Kill off the bacteria in your mouth two or three times a day, and you’ll get better faster.
You might not even get sick.