Curing a cold (or the flu)

So, I was planning to do part 2 of my “year in two posts” over the weekend but I fell sick. It was sudden and horrid, a very bad cold (or the flu, I’m not sure).

I had razor blades in my throat, my nose blocked up completely when I lay down so I couldn’t breathe, so I had to pass the night sitting on the sofa, I had to run to the toilet every 15 minutes to blow my nose and pee, and my stomach was full of gas due to overzealous salivary glands causing me to swallow constantly, which then provoked the razor blades in the throat more, which in turn provoked the salivary glands, ad infinitum, and life is miserable.

Lemsip was rubbish. Didn’t do a thing at all. It did work for me in the past, when I was in Singapore, but it never seems to in England, and I’ve tried enough times to be sure, since I was getting colds (or the flu) about once a month last year while I was working with children.

It was only after a day and night of suffering that I suddenly remembered this crazy miracle cure I had once in China: Boiled ginger coke.


Boiled ginger coke


I got to boiling. It was a happy chance that I just happened to have ginger and Coca Cola at home. I also added some lemon juice because some online recipes mention adding lemon slices. I thought it would improve the taste. I think it did.

I drank one can that night but I don’t think I used enough ginger because the drink didn’t wow me like it did when I was in China.

The next day, I doubled the ginger dosage and left it to simmer a bit longer, and immediately felt better after drinking it all up. I took another dose in the night just before bed and slept quite well.

I woke up feeling very optimistic. Almost all the pain and discomfort had gone. The only annoying thing left was a runny nose but runny noses are not painful so I was quite happy with that.


Now, a side story.

While I was on my ginger coke treatment and feeling rather disappointed with Lemsip, I asked Piers to get me more Lemsip because we were running low, and just in case I needed more.

I know, I know, it sounds crazy to continue putting your faith in something that has failed you repeatedly, but when you’re ill and desperate, something (even bought hope) is better than nothing.

I was sleeping when Piers came home with the pills, but it was Beechams and not Lemsip. He said the store didn’t have Lemsip. They had two types of Beechams and he got the Ultra, which was three times more expensive.


Have you come to save me at my hour of most desperate need?


I woke up, still lying there, smiling to see him. He explained the change of brands and his decision to buy the more expensive one (“Must be more effective, right?”).

As he handed me the package, he said quite solemnly, “You can only take one capsule each time.”

I was impressed. That sounded special.

I looked at the back of the box (I always do for medicines) and saw that it said, “2 capsules every 4 hours as required.”

I read that out loud and looked at him expectantly.

His reply: “Well, YOU are only allowed to take one capsule each time.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because it’s expensive!”


Gotta love the boyfriend.

And, by the way, Beechams Ultra is really good. Stopped my nose running. I’m not 100% yet but it’s getting there, so we’re back in business. Part 2 coming soon!

Chicken pox and drunken students

Yes, the unbelievable has happened. I have contracted chicken pox.

To get it at this stage of my life! Even Piers is laughing at me saying I’m so cute-obsessed that even the diseases I get have to be cute.

What rubbish? There is nothing cute about chicken pox, I told him, for it is the ugliest, most evil disease. But he argued that only little children get it usually, therefore it’s cute.

Why is it happening to me, then? What the hell, you stupid poxes?

It’s like these Chickenpox-men from outer space have decided to land on my body to have a picnic. They’re celebrating some alien festival by having a week-long party and the whole bloody colony is invited.


Houston, we've found a new planet to colonise!


At first, they send a small expedition team of maybe five to test the water, so to speak. These brave pioneers, upon finding the land fertile and the water fresh and unpoisoned, ring home eagerly to mobilise the rest of the colony.

They start coming in droves, the quickest ones getting to pick choice spots around the body. But there are plenty of good spots to go around, so there is no need to fight. The whole body is an endless field of fun and sunshine all for the taking. They even bring camping equipment to make it a nice holiday.

“Look, Ted, let’s set up our tents next to the navel. We can play bouncing castle in it after our picnic!”

Ted and his friend are soon joined by more friends, who set up more tents and mats around haphazardly. It’s a celebration, folks! Come, have fun and don’t worry about anything! Bring your old, ailing grandparents and newborn babies, too, why not? The more the merrier!

And then, inevitably, some of them wander up to the face.

“Come quick, Amy, I have found us the perfect lookout point for our picnic! The view up there is gorgeous!”

While Amy is swooning at her oh-so-romantic beau, my brain is going, “No, nooooooooooo. Anywhere but my nose!”

Or my cheeks, for the matter.

Or my whole bloody face, you poxy vermin!


Who are you and what are you doing on my nose?


But the Chickenpox-men (and -women) don’t care. The whole point of their existence is to have a bloody picnic on my body and face. They just plonk themselves right down anywhere they like and then text their friends to hurry up and join in the fun.

Between the crazy itch and the disfigurement (and the fear that, if I so much as sneezed the wrong way, the disfigurement would become permanent), I am finding it hard to keep my sanity.

My flu isn’t getting any better after one whole week of holing myself up at home and surviving on oatmeal and honey drinks. I haven’t gotten much quality sleep, what with the painful throat, coughing, sore intestines (from coughing), blocked nose and my chronic neck pains.

And stupid university students who walk past the apartment every night to go to the bars and clubs in the town centre.

These nincompoops are worse than the Chickenpox-men because I know the Chickenpox-men will soon get tired of revelling and go home to Chickenpox Land.

These university students are there night after night, year after year. There’s a large university hostel near my apartment, so that’s where they come from. No matter what day it is, no matter what unearthly time of the night, they’re outside my window singing drunken songs at the top of their voices.

Sometimes they don’t just walk past. Sometimes they stick around the carpark just across my apartment and hold ear-popping rock concerts.

I am not exaggerating. This morning, Thursday, 4:10 am, group of blokes singing in unison loud enough to wake the dead. The ones who can’t sing are laughing their asses off, trying to drown the singing with their laughter, but it’s a tough fight.


The road to nowhere


This goes on every night between 11 pm and 6 am, with different groups of students streaming past every so often. Nobody has put a stop to this for goodness knows how long despite the fact that there are like 30 affected apartments between the hostel and the city of sin.

I don’t know why. There’s even a police station smack in the middle of the path, but I guess the police knock off work at 5 pm like everyone else does in this country.

I can understand the fun of drunken romps, but have none of these people yet realised that they’ve been doing it in a residential area, which apartments are stood out in the open right in their faces?

The amount of partying these kids do is unbelievable. I mean, never mind their studies, they can flunk their asses big time and live on government welfare for the rest of their lives, but what about their livers?

Oh, yeah, healthcare is free in this country so that’s covered, too.

I guess there is no reason not to party yourself to your grave, then.

Piers and I have been talking about moving out to a nice big house some time in the future and leasing this apartment out, but I’d feel really bad for the future tenants who would have to put up with this insanity.

Oh well, at least they won’t be having chicken pox, too. That much one can be thankful for.

Not for me. I thought I’d already gone through hell week (with the flu) but now it’s beginning all over again, meaner and poxier.


And good riddance too!


Hello Kitty Mahjong

I am now well enough to not feel miserable! Still a bit of sniffly nose and tickly throat, but no more pain and fatigue.

Thank you all for your well-wishes. I’m sure that contributed to my fast recovery. Alongside with positive thinking, Lemsip and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine).

I self-medicate when I get sore throat or flu because I heal so much faster that way and the medicine I take doesn’t make me feel horrid and groggy.

Sore throat capsules

I used to take sore throat powder from TCM shops which are horrendously foul and bitter until I discovered that sore throat capsules work just as efficiently.

And the best thing is that I’ve tried five or six different brands/types of sore throat pills, depending on which TCM shop I happen to come across, and they all work equally well. They’re sometimes homemade (above) and sometimes come in commercial packaging (below).

Sore throat capsules

Taking these pills, the horrible pain usually goes away after about a day. But I’ll continue taking the pills for another day or two just to play safe.

I was even eating pizza and chicken wings last night and my sore throat didn’t worsen, heheh.

We were celebrating Wang Wang’s birthday by playing with the present we bought her — Hello kitty Mahjong!

Hello Kitty Mahjong

Don’t ask me where we got it. It’s Minou’s secret source.

I don’t have better photos of it cos I wasn’t planning to blog about it.

We had just started a fresh game when I suddenly whipped out my phone to take photos and start up my Plurk and Tweeter apps.

My friends started complaining.

“Wei! Why got people play mahjong halfway suddenly take photo one?!”

But I had to because I had such beautiful starting cards!

Hello Kitty Mahjong

I didn’t win that game, though. Bah.

We played two sets, lasting about six hours. Haha. Slow!

I’m a noob and Minou is a friendly player, so we played 10cents-20cents with a one-tai minimum. Minou was the big winner, winning about $20. I lost $7.20.

We’ll play again and I’ll take better photos next time!

Maybe after Wang Wang buys a new Mahjong table, cos hers is so worn and patchy. While “washing” the tiles, half of them will end up face up by the end, lol.

And maybe I should go back to Viwawa again to practise my game since we’ll be playing mahjong more often now.

Who can resist Hello Kitty, right?