Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My Chemical Romance: More of Mushy's sick thoughts

This cold rages on. Normally I don't take any form of medication for colds, believing that a whole industry has been created to exploit something everyone is going to get and will shed when its course is run. This time I decided I'd try a few things so that I might be less miserable at work. So far nothing has really fared well in that regard: I still feel like crap, my nose still runs and my throat still itches, the sneezes and coughs share my disease with everyone around me, and I have plenty of viscious fluids in my head that science hasn't found a use for. That will be a happy day, when someone finds a way to recycle phlegm into a germ-free adhesive or an organic building material, but who could proudly announce they live in a house of snot?

I've been using this zinc-based product called Zicam to try to fight the cold, and it comes in four forms, the first two of which I have tried. They make cherry-flavored disks that melt on the tongue, mint-flavored sprayAsphalt for dousing the inside of one's mouth, a nose spray that hopefully has no scent of its own, and swabs for pretending you're doing DNA sample gathering on prime time television shows. The meltaway disks are not too bad, but the minty spray – which always makes me think of guys in singles bars, giving their breath a Binaca blast before pouncing on some unsuspecting female like a hawk on a bunny – starts off nice but then it sinks into your skin and taste buds, with the resulting feel in your mouth being something totally indescribable. You're supposed to take the zinc remedies at the onset of a cold to lessen the severity and hurry the cold along. Judging by how I feel, this cold must be a real ass-kicker if this is what it's like with those preventative measures in place. Somehow I figure massive doses of Vitamin C would be about as effective against the rhinovirus, and much much tastier.

I'd heard about NyQuil for years, and it was always the same description: drink before bed, get totally zonked on it, and wake in the morning feeling better. Their tagline, afterall, does name all these symptoms and concludes with "so you can rest medicine." Being cheap, I bought the Walgreens Pharmacy brand rendition, which has "Compare to Vicks® NyQuil®" on the package in a couple places. And my comparison is this: It has the opposite effect than the leading competitor, and that can't be a good thing. 'Rest Easy NightTime' keeps me awake all night. Granted, I can breathe and am not coughing or sneezing for the first few hours, but the "so you can rest" part of the slogan is completely contradicted. There are four ingredients listed on the front of the package: Acetaminophen (pain reliever, but I have always prefered ibuprofen to Tylenol), Dextromethorphan (good for the cough), Doxylamine succinate (dunno what it is but it's an impressive name; the bottle says it's an antihistamine), and Pseudoephedrine (the snot-stopper, and a known stimulant). I kinda figured the 10% alcohol would counteract the uppers, but no such luck after the first two hours. Oddly the phlegm-drying qualities of the pseudoephedrine end before the stimulant qualities do, and I finally start to get sleepy around 7am. I seem to remember how as a teenager I couldn't sleep sometimes so I'd sit on the couch in the livingroom and enjoy the moonlight, and my parents thought I was on some substance – but they thought it was Contac, whose active ingredients are barbituates so their fears made no sense; I definitely wouldn't have been awake at all if that were the drug. 'Rest Easy NightTime' comes in two flavors, cherry (why does every medication have a cherry-flavored version? Yay, Cherry Pepto!) and "original"... which as far as I can tell is "black jellybean", artificially flavored licorice, yet the color is deep mouthwash green so you'd think at sight it would be minty. At this rate I think that horehound candies for the cough, menthol-eucalyptus candies for the sinuses, chamomile tea steeped with catnip leaves for the inevitable relaxation, and a box of tissues at the bedside would be a better plan... at least I wouldn't be hocking brownish-green stuff that has congealed behind my eyesockets in the shower. If this is the nighttime formula, I fear what the non-drowsy daytime formula does... lets you sleep?

Yesterday at 5pm I started the coughing phase of this cold, and I got home from work and took the Quasi-Quil first thing rather than waiting for bedtime, figuring that the too-active ingredient would wear off by dawn and I could get some actual sleep about the time the alarm clock goes off. I've found my bag of horehound drops (I've loved horehound since I was a kid, courtesy of my sainted grandmother, and grow it as well) but will have to hunt up the menthol-eucalyptus candies out of a box of kitchen stuff in my room from back in the days when Hickory Farms sold them by the barrel. [Yes, they stopped carrying them about a decade ago. Whazzup with that?] I grow catnip & catmint, and have bagged chamomile tea (thanks, Ariel) as well as a bumper crop I grew. But I am well aware that no matter what I do, and no matter how many cherry-flavored apothocaries I take, this cold will go away when it damn well pleases.

[Addendum of the morning: I had the chamomile tea with a hydrocodone chaser... codiene cough syrup tastes a little better than Triaminic, but that ain't sayin' much. I fell into the arms of Morpheus (courtesy of morphine's sibling) and woke up with my nose totally full of crust. And have lost my voice, which oughta go over real well at my call center job...]

Colds are miserable, as you well know by your current personal experience. I sit here breathing freely, without a single sniff or cough, feeling grateful, as I read your post, that I am cold-free.
We keep Nyquil and Dayquil gel capsules on hand, as well as Mucinex (which are pricy) pills to loosen mucous. Because Courtney is so prone to sinus infections, we've learned to keep the good over the counter stuff on hand. Since I'm an expert in this field, I'd recommend you get an expectorant.
I don't know why they bother to do the cherry flavored thing. All those liquid medications taste horrible. I do like the taste of Alka Seltzer though.
Get well soon!
You're not supposed to eat the Alka-Seltzer, though I suppose it would be an advantage at a burping contest. Speedy would not approve.
the most detailed descritpion of a cold I've ever read. just Like Jamie I too feel thankful for my cold-free state as I read it. thank you, Mushroom!
I think the meds are worse than the cold. And I sure won't take the mixes of OTC drugs.
You've lost your voice?! I can't even imagine such a thing.
I admit when I read "Mushy's sick thoughts", I thought of something different than cold.
Yes, it was in some ways a misnomer. But people would rather have my words than the various other emissions I'm producing lately. :) And BTW, after using it for awhile and a few soul-depth coughs, my voice improved. Or until tomorrow.
You may not be able to take Skelaxin, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.
Didrex is in a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. Didrex affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause anxiety.
For everyoine of you who have wondered where I've been,,,Thanks. I've been hard at work on my program and I have found to be very supportive.
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