February 6, 1975  Sense and Nonsense

This is the time of the year when the virus reigns supreme. Even six-foot-plus people are being struck down by the flu and cold bugs. In fact everyone you meet strikes up their conversation with a cough, a sneeze or at the very least a sniffle. Some people seem to have a combination of one or more viruses and are in the almost enviable position of being unable to get out of bed at all. The rest of us drag around all day looking for sympathy from equally miserable friends and relatives. Our shopping lists are headed by aspirin and tissue paper, followed by chest rub, cough-syrup, camphorated oil and antihistamines. Vitamin C pills are best sellers, as well as the delicious drink stuff advertised for colds.

How can you tell a common cold from the flu? Apparently the symptoms are very similar. One sure way to find out is to have a really bad case of it so that you have to visit the doctor. He will give you a prescription and if it does no good at all then it is probably the flu. They do have antibiotics that will fight certain flu viruses. The problem is that every year a different type of flu is going around than the type that made the rounds the year before. The doctors are usually a year behind. Even if you are lucky enough to catch last year’s variety they have a terrible time telling it from the flu bug of five years ago. Maybe if they had powerful enough microscopes they could count their tiny teeth.

I am a firm believer in steaming a cold. We have a little vaporizer which I plug in whenever the baby sniffles in her sleep. You are supposed to put salt in the water to control the amount of steam wanted. Ours starts out just fine, but in the middle of the night it begins to rumble loudly. This is probably because it has reached the salt crystals at the bottom of the bowl. The first night it did this we awoke mystified as to the origin of this sound which caused the whole house to vibrate. We concluded that it had to be a sawmill or a train.

As the sawmill is supposed to be across the lake and the trains are supposed to be on their tracks miles away, we soon realized this couldn’t be. It took a bit of sleuthing before we tracked the noise down to the very small innocent looking steamer.

What with everyone constantly exercising the coughing and sneezing muscles, the laughing muscles are becoming sadly neglected. However, once in a while a little humour creeps into the situation. The other day I was beginning to sound like a real hypochondriac. I mentioned lo a member of the family that I was probably getting ear infection as I couldn’t hear out of my left ear. This person expressed concern and suggested I should pour some warm “castrated” oil in my ear.

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