Wednesday, January 24, 2007

12-Step Program

I have a substance-abuse problem. At the first sign of a cold, I develop a hard-core addiction to cough drops. I do not get colds very often, but since I have had pneumonia five times, I believe that you can't be too careful.

This morning, I woke up super-congested and aching all over. I steamed myself in the shower until my fingers and toes shriveled, then put on my designated sick clothes, sweat pants and flannel shirt, to go to the health food store. I am a poor pill taker, so I needed lozenges. They did not have any with vitamin C, zinc, echinacea and goldenseal, the magical combination, but I bought Elderberry Cherry Herbal Throat Drops with Menthol and Organic Cranberry Raspberry with Vitamin C and Zinc.

Then I drove to the Asian grocery for Panax Ginseng and Genmai Cha tea. While I was there, I snagged Ricola Echinacea Orange-Spice Cough Drops, which I happen to know are yummy.

I was burning up all night, so I decided to spring for a thermometer. I haven't owned one since my children left home. I got a very elegant digital one, batteries included, that can be used under armpits (tickles,) rectally (will never happen,) or orally. (Bingo.) It seems like they should have mentioned in the directions that if you choose to use it rectally, you should never even consider using it orally again. Not that it's relevant to me. I'm just saying.

The drugstore also had Luden's Honey Licorice Cough Drops, which I have always been able to put away in large amounts. I bought three bags. I do not suck cough drops. I chew them. They do not last long.

Whole Foods had Cara oranges, the ones with pink flesh that I love so much. The demo model looked juicy and delicious. The ones I bought are as hard and dried up as you would expect of last year's harvest. I should have been told.

I also purchased a selection of dried fruits which came with directions: Refrigerate after opening. I did not do so because I wanted to eat some first, and I'm sick. This is not a good time to crawl into the refrigerator.

Safeway offered Vick's Honey and Menthol, Ricola Cherry-Honey, Original Herbal with Echinacea, Honey-Herb Throat Drops, and Lemon-Mint. I bought them all, just to be on the safe side. Also Smith Brothers Original Black Cough Drops because I love antiques, even though those guys scared me to death when I was three. I had never seen a beard before. They looked sinister.

I rounded off the menu with Zand Black Cherry with Vitamin C, and also Honey-Licorice. Most of the food groups are accounted for.

I just reminded Flip for the third or forth time that I don't feel well. I whined it, actually. I am a sorry mess when I am sick. I become very clingy and believe with every fibre of my being that I will not survive the night.

My last cat, Moonshine, acted like that in her dotage. She seemed to be convinced that I, alone, stood between her and death, and plastered herself to me whenever possible. Now Flip has that to look forward to. I would feel sorry for him if I didn't need all of my sympathy for myself.

He just mentioned something that had nothing to do with my illness. I reminded him again. Sometimes he has to be steered in the right direction. I will make him obsess about me and how sick I am if it's the last thing I do.

I know that I am seriously ill when I don't feel well enough to wear earrings. And I intend to put on my pajamas tonight. I have one pair. They are red flannel. They are comforting when I am sick. I only need one pair because when I am well, I wear nothing to bed.

My vast selection of cough drops is lined up on my desk like a chorus line. In my fever-induced delirium, they seem to be doing the Can-Can. I have run through two large boxes of Kleenex already. Every cough drop I consume brings me closer to extinction. The teensy little individual wrappers are everywhere. They'll be turning up in odd places for years.

I will definitely leave something behind when I go.

"My name is Susan. I'm a cough drop-aholic."

"Hiiiii, Susan."


Ryane said...

That was hilarious. Really, I am soo sorry you are sick, but my best friend is the same exact way. Trying to get her to take medicine requires 4 big guys and rope--and I'm not kidding. She pracitcally has to be strapped now, she just sucks all of her meds down, in the form of cough drops.

Orange Spice cough drops DO sound tasty. Have you tried taking Colloidal Silver when sick?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


No. I'll check it out tomorrow, when I run out of cough drops.

The four big guys swing by here, too, when I'm sick. I have to hide in the closet.

Thanks for the good wishes.

Open Grove Claudia said...

I am sorry you are sick! There's something super nasty going around.

Our dog loves the cough drop as well. Where is that meeting?

Ashley said...

Oh dear =(
being sick is poo, isnt it?
you know what actaully works for me?
have you ever tried those orange lollipops?
they're for little kids usually.. but they seem to help when i have a cough or a soar throat! haha.

Ashley said...

Oh dear =(
being sick is poo, isnt it?
you know what actaully works for me?
have you ever tried those orange lollipops?
they're for little kids usually.. but they seem to help when i have a cough or a soar throat! haha.

Ashley said...

Oh dear =(
being sick is poo, isnt it?
you know what actaully works for me?
have you ever tried those orange lollipops?
they're for little kids usually.. but they seem to help when i have a cough or a soar throat! haha.!!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I have to make do with a virtual meeting because I don't know of programs for those with my addiction. Maybe your dog and I could start one.


I love lollipops. And when I am sick, I AM a little kid. I hide it better when I'm well.

Thanks for your visit!

Oh, The Joys said...

Heh. I just proceed directly to swilling Niquil right from the bottle.

urban-urchin said...

I'm so sorry you're sick. I am on my third cold this winter. New York germs must be different than California germs.

I know you feel lousy, but this post made me laugh my ass off.

Feel better soon oh whiney one.

Pickled Olives said...

I feel for you. I am a misery when I'm sick, so I get it. I find puffs plus, advil cold/flu, dayquil, and A LOT of attention from Poor Bill works the best! Get better soon!!!!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


To each her own. I can't do anything that tastes bad.




So we're going to have to start calling Flip "Poor Flip?"

Maybe there's a support group that he and Poor Bill could join. I'm sure they'd be a great comfort to each other.

katrice said...

Poor thing. I suck them rather than chew. Near the end, that tart fruity flavor makes my tongue happy. I like the Halls Defense with Vitamin C.

Michael C said...

Wow, hang in there. I hope you feel better. Although the cough drop makers don't ;-)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Oh, I forgot about those. I knew something was wrong. I'll get them tomorrow. Thanks for your help.


If I got sick more often, I would be quite an annuity. I wish I had stock in the companies that make them.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Very amusing, funny post. Get well soon (the cold) and kick it (the addiction, not the bucket).

nmj said...

heart in san fran, you are funny, hope you feel better soon, i can't suck those damned drops either, i crunch them.

Thailand Gal said...

ROTFL!! Very good! This just cracked me up!



furiousBall said...

Orange Spice - yum. Definitely better than Old Spice cough drops.

Pickled Olives said...

LOL! Yes, I think Poor Bill and Poor Flip would make great founders of the Poor Husband campaign!!

Lee said...

You can make it thru this Susan!


Feel better.


heartinsanfrancisco said...


You made me laugh out loud. It's a good way to go.


Thank you. The situation is in doubt.


Easy for you to say. I'm dyin' heah.


Yukkkk. Old Spice smells like embalming fluid, which is in my thoughts right now.


The stories they could tell -- if we didn't cut out their tongues first.


I'll try to avoid going into the light, but that sucker is tricky.

Thanks for your kind thoughs.

Crankster said...

Sorry to hear that you're ill, but I love that you're finding comedy in your misery.

Try Airborne. It works.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I've seen that. Haven't tried it, but I will. Thanks!

Odat said...

Whatever works...go for crazy (but sick) women!
Feel better soon!

Lex said...

Thanks for sharing, Susan.

Feel better. I'm glad you have Flip to pester...I mean to lean on.

Le Nightowl said...

Usually, it's men who sound like you do when they're sick... :)
At long as you keep your sense of derision, all hope isn't lost!
Your knowledge in cough drops is really impressive, I must say.
Your sense of humour is in great shape :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...




Nurse Ratched would be better than he is. Some people are just not maternal.


I make it my business to know about cough drops. That's what addicts do. I am good at my addiction.

Stewart Sternberg said...

I know this won't help, but when I have a cold, I crush cough drops into a gooey paste and then smear it over my chest. Then, I lay under a heat lamp, allowing it to dry until brittle. Just a thought.

Of course, there is a school of thought that a cold is given to you by someone. It is a curse that must be cut off at its source. Hmmm.

Okay, enough dark weirdness from me for the day. Go play.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


You're right. It didn't help. But thanks, anyway. Doesn't the brittle mess pull painfully as it dries? Just wondering. (I do not have chest hair, myself.)

Certainly "someone" gave me this contagion, but if I was deliberately cursed, I'd probably have something a lot worse than this. Unless they're just not very good at casting spells.

An explosive said...

Ahhhh...honey! This isn't good you should be home resting and someone else should be running around buying you all those wonderful cough drops... licorice being my favorite...

I hope you get better real soon! All the best!~M

heartinsanfrancisco said...

My heart,

Thank you. I love licorice, too. If you hear anyone cough or sneeze, run like hell. This is a bad one.

Jocelyn said...

Ah, you puir gel. I do like your point about not putting on earrings, though. We all have that barometer that lets us know when it's really bad.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I wonder if I'll ever feel well enough to wear them again. (I don't always choose to, but that's not the same thing.)