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Thursday, June 11, 2015


If you've read my blog for very long, you'll know that my Gram had a saying or a bit of folksy wisdom for just about everything. There were some things that were pretty straightforward, and some that took me some time or experience to be able to understand. Many of her gems had to do with health issues. As an example, and with apologies to the males reading, if a female was sick and began her monthly cycle, Gram always said that it was a good thing because it would "draw the sickness out of her body." I never argued the point, because anyone in that unenviable position is too worn out to fight have a disagreement.

Gram also had a heap of wisdom to do with the common cold. Her famous cough remedy is used by many who knew her to this day. She swore by a mixture of equal parts of honey, lemon, and whiskey. After I moved in with her, Gram's daughter Alice would drop off her daughters Terry and Vicky (High-School aged) at Gram's if she and Bill were going to be away for the evening. We'd sit around the table playing cards or Yahtzee and having a good time. Vicky would clear her throat a few times, and this quickly turned into a cough. Gram would offer to make her some cough medicine, which Vicky would act like she was trying to refuse. Before she went home, she had a dose or two of medicine to calm her "cough." Mmm-hmm. I don't know whether Gram knew Vicky was faking it or not, but I'm guessing that she did. Sometimes grandparents need to act like they don't know what's really going on in order to really make a grandchild's day.

Although I am not a drinker, I always revert to Gram's cough medicine recipe for bad colds. The claims she made about the mixture are sometimes supported by open-minded practitioners of science or medicine. Honey soothes, lemon helps reduce icky phlegm, and whiskey can be a germ-killer. And as Gram might jokingly say, if nothing else, it certainly can make you feel a bit happier.

Gram also used to share an old bit of wisdom regarding colds - it was commonly said that they lasted nine days. She always said that a cold was three days coming, three days staying, and three days going away. Of course, this saying came from people who weren't acquainted with people like me who have autoimmune diseases (systemic lupus) or people like Trent, who have received transplants. We try to joke about it, but when we get something like a cold, it's not like everyone else's experience. In Trent's case especially. 

People who take immunosuppressing drugs are literally inhibiting the strength of their immune systems in order to keep their bodies from rejecting their transplants. We try to make jokes about it, but we do have to exercise some caution to keep healthy. When we go to church, for example, we sit in the very back row so that everyone's germs can be coughed toward the front and, we hope, avoid us. But, as I like to say, Trent can catch a cold from across a room. And little kids who aren't sick but have been around other kids who might be ill will give him a cold in record time.

When it comes to Gram's timeline for colds, I guess you could say that Trent is an overachiever. Instead of three days coming, staying, and going, it's more like ten days for each phase. And let me tell you, I wish that Trent and I could hang on to money like we hang onto a cough! Trent's about three and a half weeks into a cold, and still coughing. And coughing. And coughing. Did I mention that he is still coughing? That's another thing Gram was wise about - coughs, fevers, you name it, will all get worse at night. I don't know or care why, I just know that it is true. In a cruel twist of nature, sleep will be impaired just when you need it the most. And as the not sick one, you listen to every bout of coughing just to make sure that the sick person is going to be okay. 

We're both hoping this one is on the way out the door, so we'll appreciate any good vibes you might send our way. Just one more thing. Is it too late to take a nap?

Be well, my friends!