Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Sniffle Wars: Bring on Heavy Guns

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Sniffle Wars: Bring on Heavy Guns

Article excerpt

ON the first day of spring I was down and out with a bad cold. (Are there good ones?) Swaddled in afghans, I lay in bed and watched the escalating level of the laundry basket, and made bets with myself about how long it would take the pile to reach the ceiling. It was already halfway up the wall.

I imagined the clothes spreading outward - a jungle of odiferous tube socks, mud-caked sweat pants that would send out shoots and tendrils to sneak up and strangle me in my hour of weakness. WOMAN FOUND SUFFOCATED UNDER MOUNTAIN OF DIRTY LAUNDRY: FAMILY CLUELESS, was the headline I formulated.

This was Day 3 or 4 of the cold. Or it might have been Day 5. I was losing track of time, dwelling in the shadowlands of daytime TV with Lucy and Ethel, Andy and Aunt Bea, Brown and Crouppen. My brain was awash in the cold medication that, around our house, is known as The Green Stuff. This is serious medicine that packs a wallop - never mind that it's over-the-counter. I cannot conceive why the FDA is pitching a fit about cancer patients taking a hit of medicinal marijuana, while The Green Stuff goes unregulated. When a cold attacks, my first line of defense is to drink gallons of grapefruit juice and pop Vitamin C tablets on the hour. Next comes The Red Stuff, low voltage and vile tasting enough to scare off some colds - but not the mean ones. If a cold is still lurking around, getting worse instead of better, and refusing to kowtow to The Red Stuff - well, then it's time to haul out the heavy artillery. The Green Stuff is not for namby-pamby colds that are nothing more than coughs and sniffles. You take it when all else has failed, and you're ready to slit your throat because your head is about to explode, and your throat is a tunnel of glass, and the doctor is no help at all. ("It's a virus. It has to run its course.") I don't know if The Green Stuff shortens the duration of a cold, but it definitely makes the time pass faster. This is because after a couple of slugs, you're either out cold or in a state of semi-hallucination. The great thing is, your symptoms abate or disappear, for a while. …

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