Once Again

Today was going to be a list of 2017 goals. Instead, I’ll be reviewing cold and flu remedies, because I’m got some horrible chest cold. I thought I’d escaped the plague epidemics that seemed to ravage the population over the festive season, but apparently not. My immune system held out this long, but it’s now finally given in. I’m sad. Hopefully I can at least help others in the same situation, give you some healing inspiration.

So, here are the remedies I’ve tried.
1. The Gold Standard: Juice of one half lemon. Some slices of ginger. Slices of chilli or dried cayenne flakes. Tbsp honey or other syrupy sweetener. Shove it all in a mug with warm water. 
Makes you feel a lot better. Astringent lemon seems to clear the goo out, chilli clears the sinuses, honey soothes, it’s warm and delicious, you can tweak it to your taste.
For an expert level version, add brandy.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Delicious and healthy. Doesn’t actually cure colds. May dissolve tooth enamel.
2. “Golden Milk”. It was with shame and trepidation that I jumped onto this bandwagon. I can’t remember which specific recipe I used, but a quick Google will throw up hundreds of websites with recipes for this, often touting miraculous (and pretty unsubstantiated) health benefits. Turmeric is genuinely amazing, but it becoming the next fad superfood is annoying. [HIPSTER ALERT] I was into turmeric way before it was cool. Turmeric is cheaper than Savlon and hydrocortisone cream, and is also the basis of my famous instant noodle soup.
Anyway, I made the ‘Golden Milk’. The taste was pleasant but bland, I think I’d need to add more ginger and pepper. It was soothing, I think.  The texture was deeply unpleasant though. Greasy and powdery. But I get that’s what you get when you dump a load of turmeric and cinnamon powder into your drink, and top it off with coconut oil.
Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
It did soothe my throat. But it also left a greasy feeling in my mouth from the coconut oil. Maybe I could make it in a less sucky way. Maybe I’ll just make some dhal and eat my turmeric like a normal person.
However, I’m a sucker for magical remedies, so here’s my next plan. This Fire Cider sounds appallingly badass. I’ll keep you posted how that one goes.
3. Tiger Balm I am never without a pot of this stuff. From the sesh to the sickbed, it’ll cure what ails you. Today I’ve been rubbing it on my chest, actually rubbing it around my face when the sinus pain got bad, and it helps. It contains menthol, camphor, cassia, peppermint and cajuput, which is basically all of those ones which burn and make your eyes sting. Which is why my method of applying it to the face is not actually recommended. I don’t want anyone trying to sue me for any subsequent injury.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ 
Allows breathing, which is always helpful. You can really feel it opening those nasal passages, and you can also rub it on the aching joints that these illnesses cause for some reason. It’s lost one rating star for its horrible consistency. I got the cheap one, so it’s sticky and greasy, and my chest is breaking out in spots from touching the stuff.
4. Radish
Yes, radish. The juice of radish clears the chest. Hollow out a radish and put sugar in it. Leave overnight, drink the juice that is drawn out.
Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Radish juice is surprisingly palatable. My chest feels much less wheezy, but that may also be because of the next product…
5. Avoiding Dairy
Dairy is renowned as a  phlegm causing food. So during a cold or chest infection, it should be skipped.
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
HAHAHA you thought I could go one day without cheese?! One single day? Nope. Apparently not.
6. Halls Sugar Free Assorted Citrus Flavour Sweets with Vitamin C
Kind of numb the throat. Contain 450mg Vit C per 100g. If you ate a whole pack, you’d probably get your RDA. You’d probably also feel really sick.
Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
They are sweets. I don’t even know why I’m writing this. They do clear your nose a bit, for a pretty short time.
So that’s it for today. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be cured.
Once Again


I had The Illness That Makes Your Head Feel Really Heavy. This is a real illness that has apparently been going round at my mum’s work, making people sign off sick because the intense weight of their head became insupportable. It also gives you all the usual annoying cold/virus symptoms. I spent the past couple of days lying around being weak and pathetic. Now I just feel like I got hit in the head a bunch, keep feeling like I might faint, and have a scritchy scratchy throat. I’m also really tired because I helpfully had a load of nightmares about being bashed in the head and screamed at.

Being ill makes me feel crazy and sad and frustrated. To swith to therapy-speak, illness (along with tiredness, hunger, and being wasted) is definitely a factor in increasing psychological vulnerability. This we learned in DBT in the form of a snappy acronym. DBT loves acronyms. This one is PLEASE, for:



ILlness (treat it)

Eat balanced

Avoid mood altering substances

Sleep enough



OK I lied about it being snappy. It’s pretty clunky as acronyms go, but it does describe the basics of taking care of your body. This is definitely something I’m getting better at, but it’s still more Bukowski than Buddhist. (And leave Burroughs and HS Thompson out of it!) But I do accept the importance of taking care of yourself – of not completely trashing the body that supports and carries you for your whole life.

The trouble is, I can’t really treat this illness, because it’s basically a really annoying headcold, which is not amenable to anything other than Cold & Flu pills and Tiger Balm (better than Viks vapour rub). Obviously these things don’t really help that much, so now it’s time to mindfully accept the situation.

HAH! Just kidding. It’s time to bitch and moan constantly and do nothing useful. It’s time to wrap myself in a fluffy blanket of free-floating anxiety and curl up on the couch, because outside is cold and the gaze of others makes me feel like I’m burning.

You can tell therapy is working somehow though, because I’m not getting drunk right now.

(I was supposed to be writing today.)



Still Ill

And yes, the Hatful of Hollow version is, and always will be better.

I’m not as ill as I was. I spent a day or two actually in bed, and a day on the sofa, unable to do stuff. I’ve now regained maybe 70% of lung volume? If I breathe too deeply it makes a gross crunching sound. I’m really displeased by this. I thought I would be better by now and I’m bored. Today I went outside for the first time in five days because I had actually started going insane. I went to the shop and bought a wine, because maybe that is the true cure.

Thankfully these aren’t the antibiotics that kill you if you drink any alcohol with them. Or make you instantly drunk and then vomit everywhere. If I ever get prescribed them, I actually quit. Quit what? Everything. Alcohol. Medicine. Humanity. Life itself.

I actually have stuff to be doing. I have a poetry gig. I’ve got two ten minute sets at this event.


Also I was meant to be writing a novel this month I think.

And some other stuff. Like, stuff healthy people do, while they breathe and laugh and have lives.

I was meant to go to the annual Halloween rave/riot and to my friend’s party and I even missed out on a Calais refugee aid co-ordination meeting. I am missing EVERYTHING. And you should all be glad of that, because my cough sounds really disgusting and you don’t want to hear it. I don’t know if I’m contagious. Just going to wait and see if my family all get horrifically sick within the next few days. If they do, I’m going to be the absolutely most hated person in this house. I am the plague bringer. I brang you a plague. Enjoy it!

Still Ill

All tomorrow’s pills


And ain’t none of them good for parties.
Amoxycillin, prednisolone, ranitidine.
Ibuprofen, echinachea, evening primrose oil, herbal sleep aid (hops, Valerian & passionflower – about a quid from Wilko. I prefer something stronger but I do appreciate this stuff too. It do work.)
As seems to happen lot these days, I went to London, had a intensely excellent time, Anarchist Bookfair then catch up with mates I haven’t seen for ages.
Of course I must pay for all my joy, so i came back extremely sick. I blame the cat. I am so tragically allergic that I generally require medical help after staying with a kitty for over 36 hours. I spent 11 hours behind enemy lines this time and and was destroyed.

Some of my friends were already so busted that they were trying to carry out a clandestine (sorry for busting your cover guys) antibiotics swap to try get at least some kind of help for everyone’s chest infections and fresher’s flues,  so I assume I caught something from them in a perfect timing to combine with the cat asthma Catsthma? Can I call it that? Or is that too cute for a disease that had me coughing up blood and for once in my hypochondriac life, actually wondering whether to call 111 or whatever.
Learning curve: asthma is scary as fuck. Pain crushing your chest, gasping for breath through the froth and gunge that suddenly seems to be filling 90% of your airways. You’re dizzy and confused from lack of oxygen, trying to keep talking just to prove that you still can and that means you can’t be dying.

Next day, along with the pills up there, the nurse gave me my own inhaler, and may we never be parted.


All tomorrow’s pills