It figures that, while we've been battling with undependable utilities this past week, my body would decide to get its first cold of the season. Just our overall stress level lately has been an invitation for all kinds of germs to stage a coup on my immune system and I consider myself lucky that it is only a cold virus that aspired to take over and not, say, the plague.
Normally a cold is an almost welcome respite, an excuse to slow down, drink hot beverages and order in won ton soup. My colds don't usually last very long in terms of that overall lousy, lethargic feeling, but they do hang on in terms of how I sound. My asthma becomes very audible and my sinuses drain constantly and, while I might feel fine, I'm more than usually unpleasant to look at.
So I relax and allow nature to take it's course, which has always been my treatment since most cold remedies could not be taken with my thyroid meds.
This go-round, though, I can't afford to be all raspy and phlegmy on the off-chance that someone, somewhere might want to interview me for gainful employment -- evidently this is about as likely an event as hens requiring orthodontia, but I have to believe that it may one day happen. Also, I'm not currently on my thyroid meds.
So I purchased your basic day time cold medicine, which no longer has a decongestant in it. I hate having to go up to the pharmacist window to beg for the stuff behind the counter and then have to present my papers and sign my name like I'm some sort of junkie.
So while the meds helped my cough, muscle aches and fever, it did very little by way of clearing my sinuses. Aside from the fact that it was very uncomfortable, it also negated half the consonants when I spoke. So much for "communication skills a must."
I did the steam thing (which worked as long as I was breathing steam, but not much after that) and, of course, my usual Hall's menthol cough drops. But nothing gave me relief like what ended up being garlic soup.
It started out as a sort of poor man's chicken soup: chicken bouillon, celery, carrots, onion, thyme, parsley. Then I added five cloves of garlic. Big, honkin' cloves. And I let the whole thing simmer for a few hours. I read about doing this -- somewhere. I don't remember where, but there you have it. Five cloves of garlic.
By dinner time my sinuses were blocked solid. I couldn't tell what the soup was going to taste like. I just knew it was hot and I had a sense that there was salt in it. We had little tiny sandwiches* with it and I threw some noodles in the soup.
"It's ...good," Heir 2 said cautiously.
"It's not your usual chicken noodle soup," Dirtman commented noncommittally.
I explained about the garlic and the sinuses, noting what may have escaped their notice: I'M SICK, GUYS.
Heir 1 shrugged. "Very...garlicky. Almost..."
"Go ahead, " I encouraged.
Still everyone finished up without much fuss and as I got up from the table I would admit the hot liquid and the salt in the soup had made my throat feel better.
It wasn't until about an hour later I realized my sinuses were clear. Not just that temporary clear you get from a decongestant pill; but breath-through-your-nose clear.
Two days later and I don't have the usual residual sinus drainage that sometimes lasts weeks after I have a cold.
Of course the next day I was able to taste the soup. There was nothing chickeny about it. It was all about the garlic. I can't believe, even as stuffed up as I was, that I couldn't taste that garlic. Because...damn.
So now I'm a believer in garlic soup for a head cold. You may want to keep your distance if you hear me sniffle.
*The little tiny sandwiches are courtesy of dog people friends of ours who brought a truck load of them to this week's kennel club meeting. Knowing I have Heirs to feed, they allowed us to take home the "overs" -- which amounted to a truck load minus ten. I am forever grateful for the gift because with the utilities being so dicey and my timely contraction of the crud, meals have been touch and go in the past few days. The Heirs have, on occasion, taken one look at the situation, grabbed a bag of little tiny sandwiches, and escaped to their respective caves.