The Crankee Yankee is in the middle of one of his epic colds. I say “epic” because he doesn’t get them often. In fact, in the nearly 13 years we’ve been married, I have only seen him sick a handful of times. His colds are long, loud and lung-y. The cold renders him helpless, and he gets up out of his recliner only to stagger to the bathroom and later on, to bed. He “lets out the evil spirits” by moaning now and then, too. When in bed, his usual low-key snores become loud and buzzsaw-like.
His coughs nearly break the sound barrier, and, not to put too fine a point on it; he brings up an enormous amount of what I call “glung” (eww). At the height of his cold, all he wants is to be left alone, and given food and liquids every few hours. At least one cat will sit with him for comfort as well.
Mind you, we do all the cold prevention we can, which includes this list the moment either of us feels a cold coming on:
- Zinc and elderberry lozenges: take one the instant you feel that back-of-the-throat tightness
- “Witches brew:” five drops each of lemon oil, oregano oil, peppermint oil and tea tree oil, mixed into a cup of boiling water. You inhale the vapors once through the mouth and then once through the nose every hour. The mixture is viable for 24 hours and usually it cuts the legs right out from under an incipient cold. WARNING: the vapors are very strong and can get you coughing quickly, so be aware.
- “*The Old Indian Cure:” Put any kind of tea into a mug of boiling water (if it’s night-time, then chamomile is a good choice) and steep. Add to this a 1-2 tablespoons of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, a generous dollop of honey, and a shot of whiskey, scotch or rum. Mix and sip slowly. (Even if it doesn’t help your cold, you won’t mind it all that much once you get to the bottom of the mug!)
But when none of these do the trick, I bring out the big guns: **homemade chicken soup. I swear this turns the tide every time.
I do all the chores that the Crankee Yankee normally does, which immediately makes me even more appreciative of all he does around the house. And of course I administer the daily OJ, aspirin, soup and Kleenex.
Generally by the time he starts to get pretty aromatic–to the point where I could take him by the ears and fling him into a tub of hot water and Mr. Bubble, he’s about over it. His colds don’t last all that long, but they certainly make an impression while they’re here!
As with any relationship, knowing when to be present or back off is key. We’re still working on it, but we pretty much have the “in sickness” part of the marriage vow squared away.
Oh, and the deal when one of us is sick is this: all sins, real or imagined, are forgiven.
*Before anyone takes offense to this, I am part Native American Indian myself, so this is indeed an old family recipe!
**My chicken soup recipe:
Directions: Put together in a big pot:
- chicken bones and skin
- a whole onion cut in half, skin and all
- a few cloves of garlic
- some whole peppercorns
- a dash or two of turmeric
- a few bay leaves, carrots (just cut off the tops and throw them in–you don’t even have to pare off the skin)
- a few stalks of celery
- Optional: my secret ingredient: a small hunk of cut fresh ginger, or a cut-up piece of candied ginger.
- Optional: a few good shakes of Sriracha sauce (a type of hot sauce or chili sauce made from a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt) as it gives the broth a little zip and also aids in getting rid of a cold
Cover it all with water; it should just cover; don’t put too much in. Turn it up to medium-high heat and cook it down until it’s about half the original volume. Let it cool, then strain. Either use the broth as is, or add cut-up carrots, onions, celery, parsley and chopped chicken. Administer (or just enjoy) as needed.