From the East Wing

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the East Wing.

Ever notice how ya don’t really pay attention to some of news on the national level till such time ya become one of the counted, or at the very least somehow associated with those that are being counted.

A few weeks ago I remembered reading news on the screen that the annual flu was well underway for the 2010-2011 season. Seems the people who keep track of those things measure flu seasons like we do winters, as in the winter of 2010-2011. But seeing that information didn’t entice me run out and get a flu shot at the nearest Wal-Mart . Now ya know there’s money to be had in the flu shot business when ya can get your flu shot at Wal-Mart. What scares me ‘bout Wal-Mart Flu Shots, we know where most all that Wal-Mart crap comes from.

Two weeks ago the flu bug came by the East Wing. Don’t know if it came by email, in person or on the wings of the wind. However it got here, it just got there. This particular type of flu bug was the boys only kind, ‘cause it attacked only me and my two boys. I think we, my boys and me, we, got the Man Flu.

WOW! Was I ever sick. Didn’t want to move, just lay still and hope I didn’t die from the pain of blinking my eyes. I didn’t have a part that didn’t hurt. In fact there were some of my parts that hurt four ways at the same time, the top part and the bottom part, as well as both front and back parts all hurting at the same time. Damn Man Flu.

The on set of the Man Flu was mild enough, just a little cough and a little bit of snotty nose. It was ‘bout twelve hours later ‘round 2:00 in the morning that I awoke with the Godzilla of Sore Throats. Looking for some relief, relief from any source, I tear thru our cabinet shelf that serves as the official house pharmacy, ya know that one everybody has where ya keep all the old OTC drug stuff and those old prescription pills that ya didn’t take ‘em all after ya started feeling better, when ya went to the doctor and the doctor said be sure to take all the pills, but ya didn’t, so ya decided to save some of ‘em just in case ya ever got that same thing again, along with all that stuff that’s at least seven years old but it’s still in there too, ya that shelf, we got one of ‘em just like everybody else.

I swallowed Vicks Salve, knowing that’s not the intended purpose of the stuff, but hoping it won’t kill me, but anything’s better than Godzilla in your throat. The Vic Salve remedy don’t work the best for me in the darkness of the kitchen illuminated only by the light from the rang hood. There was some other kinda ointment in there that said it was good for man or beast. At that time I didn’t know for sure which I was, and besides it didn’t say where to put it, and I was afraid to put that one in my mouth. I rubbed it on my throat, that didn’t work either. I did bypass the Preparation H, thought it would take too long to reach the affected area of concern when properly applied, and that was the only reason I passed it by.

An old hillbilly remedy for sore throat pain is to gargle warm salt water, so I’m trying to find the salt. At first I don’t find any other than a little salt shaker. I need lots of salt and that little salt shaker’s not gona make it.

On a bottom shelf of a different cabinet I find the salt. My wife, the She, God love ‘er, is so beautifully Italian. What do I find? MEDITERRANEAN SEA SALT ! What the Hell! Now I’m dying here with a sore throat and the only thing standing between me and the grim reaper is Mediterranean Sea Salt. But in emergencies ya use the equipment available. I had sea salt in hand.

As I pour this Mediterranean Sea Salt into a cup of hot water, I notice a health warning on the label. OMG! In bold print. “Warning this salt does NOT contain Iodine. Iodine is a necessary ingredient for good health.”

At this point, the Lord knows I’m looking for good health. I thought maybe I should gargle Iodine, as that might be the secret ingredient that makes the salt work for sore throats. Going back to the pharmacy cabinet I find the Iodine in that little bottle, that kind with the screw off lid with the little glass rod attached to the inside of the lid. It was only 17 years old. I decided I didn’t have enough to gargle, it’d take lots more than that little bottle for me to gargle Iodine. And besides if I gargled with Iodine, my mouth would be that Iodine colored reddish orange for months ‘cause that stuff’s hard to get off skin, even with soap, and ya for sure don’t want to have to wash your mouth out with soap when ya gota a sore throat. And so it came down to me and the Mediterranean Sea Salt.

Ya can’t find a formula on how to mix Mediterranean Sea Salt and water to use for sore throat gargling, so I decided to super saturate the water with salt.

Now hot water is able to dissolve more salt than cold water. Dissolving salt in hot water to the point of where no more will dissolve is called super saturation. When ya do this in hot water and let the water cool off, there will be a noticeable different amount of salt at the bottom of the water. As the water cools, the salt re-crystallizes and sinks to the bottom of the water. The saturation point of salt to water is heat specific above room temperature. And the same thing hold true for the freezing point of water, salt saturated water has a much lower freezing point. That’s part of the reason why some form of salt is used to deice roads, and any thing else ya just don’t want ice clinging to. Alcohol works too, but I’m getting too far away from the Man Flu story to talk ‘bout alcohol here.

So not having any formula, I just got really hot water and stirred in salt till no more would dissolve, and started gargling. I hate gargling! It’s messy! But it worked for a little while. By the time I needed to do it again there was lots of salt in the bottom of the cup. A quick nuke in the microwave, stir the witch’s brew, and off again to gargle, gargle land. Temporary relief is at hand, Godzilla is now only half size, still a monster, just not as bad. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had yet to survive the first full day of the Man Flu attack.

They knew, the 2girldogs, Sophia The Republican Cat, as well as Spike The Man Cat, they all knew that something was amiss in the East Wing. It’s 3 o’clock in the morning and I’ve got 2dirldogs and two cats, all wanting to hold my hand as I’m rapidly getting too weak to hold paws.

I sit in my chair in the East Wing, with only the front outside light shining thru the south windows, Sophia decides to take matters in her own paws and jumps up on her favorite spot, that being the back of my chair, behind my head, so she can see the computer screen. But tonight there’s no lit computer screen to read. It was when she choose to step over onto my shoulders that I thought “now I truly understand the term, the weight of the world is on my shoulders” . I sank deeper into the chair. I didn’t have the strength to push her off my shoulders. I never knew Sophia weighed so much, but that night she got a lot heavier.

As I dropped my arms to the side of my chair, with the cat around my neck, I immediately attracted a girldog for each hand. The Gray Lady James licked my left hand as the Pup Baby, Mustina James, tried to rub her scarred right hindquarters against my right hand. I rubbed the Pup Baby in the same manner as when she was in her time of need. She knew, that Pup Baby knew. The Man Cat, Spike, determined that all the good spots were taken so he decided to sit on my lap, and he did.

And so I sat facing east that morning of the first day of the Man Flu, in the company of friends of mine, that I didn’t have to tell I was ill, they knew, I don’t know how, they just did. I didn’t have to pet anybody. We just touched, and sat in the semi darkness in silence waiting for the sun, which was still ‘bout three hours away.

No stories were told that night, that night of the Godzilla Sore Throat, just silence and the comfort of knowing you’re in the company of family. Sometimes ya don’t have to say a thing to say a lot. It was one of those times, there in the shadows of the East Wing, as we sat in silence and said a lot.

“Bout 4 o’clock in the morning, the She came looking for me. She found me and my friends waiting for the sun. Just when I thought maybe this would be the day the sun didn’t come up, it did. Setting watching the sun rise in the east, I thought the daylight would bring some relief from the sore throat. It didn’t. The She suggested sipping hot coffee, or tea. I tried ‘em both. A little help but stop drinking and the return of the monster.

It was just shortly after noon on that first day of the Man Flu that the ache all over started. It was hard to tell where it first started, but it spread like butter on toast. And the first thing I knew, there were buttery aches everywhere, and I was toast.

The decision was made to lay on my bed. It was major undertaking to get that accomplished. The first step being finding enough muscle power to move me from the East Wing chair which I had occupied for several hours. It was during this effort to move from the East Wing to my bedroom the thought crossed my mind, that if I’s a cowboy, I’d be sure and put on my boots, ‘cause every cowboy wants to die with his boots on, but I didn’t have any boots and I didn’t think the kinda shoes I wear would count anyways.

We moved from the East Wing to the Bed Room as a family. Once established on the bed, we each took our same positions. Still no stories, but saying a lot. The She wanted to know what I wanted her to do, and I told her most of all don’t laugh at me in my time of need. She patted my knee right next to Pup Baby. She wanted to know what to get from the drug store, I told her everything they had.

And so I started down the path of being both physician and patient, diagnosing and accepting treatment all at the same time. Knowing full well that little could be done for my ailment other than treat the symptoms, I took Nyquil Day, Nyquil Night, and every other Quil I could touch. Then decided to give the salt water gargle treatment another go around. After the sea salt gargle, I actually thought that maybe the end of the misery was in site.

For a sort time there, the improvement was dramatic that first afternoon, and I gave the salt without the Iodine all the credit. But then as the shades of evening drew around the East Wing, the monster returned. Again Godzilla breathed fire, as evening came and morning followed. The second day.

After suffering thru the second night of the Sore Throat Monster, unlike the vampires, I looked forward to the light. Things get better in the light of day . Things just improve in the light, even aches, ache better in the daylight.

The attack of the Man Flu spiraled down into an endless stream of Nyquil , Mediterranean Sea Salt, Aspirin, Kleenex, snotty noses, and visits to the potty, with a little chicken soup thrown in the mix. All the while enduring aches and pains that may have registered on a Richter Scale somewhere.

It was on the sixth day of the battle before any signs of improvement emerged from the doom and gloom of the Man Flu War. And even with slight signs of improvements, another five day until a comfortable feeling of well being returned to the East Wing. A twelve day war. A battle Royal.

As the calendar pulled us deeper into the ice thralls of winter , I’d walked thru the shadow of the valley…… and I did fear…… The Man Flu’s tuff, I’m glad he’s gone, I hope forever. Forever and a day.

Now I’m sure you’ve head the old saying “I wouldn’t even wish that on my enemies”, well the Man Flu’s one of those kind. But if ya really want to dork over your enemies, ya can always wish…..

Stay Safe in Afghanistan.
From the East Wing, The Attack Of The Man Flu
I wish you well,