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Folk medicine

For almost a week now I have been suffering from a particularly unpleasant bout of man flu. It’s only this morning that I have felt a sense of normality returning and I could be found skipping round the condo attending to chores, accompanied by Plan B and Florence and the Machine (not simultaneously); although I must admit I am now feeling like I could do with a little lie down.

My wife is most solicitous on these occasions, and her immediate reaction is that we must go to hospital. My protestations that it is merely a sore throat, announcing the onset of man flu, is not enough to silence her. A firm statement that I am not going to go to Bangkok Pattaya Hospital to waste two hours of my life amongst sick people to be given assorted bags of pills I don’t need and a bill for 2,000 baht, usually does the trick.

She then moves into folk medicine mode, the weirdest of which is the Vick in a sock trick. The first night was disturbed by a most unpleasant cough. The second night I was just settling down to sleep and I felt my wife slapping Vick Vapour Rub all over the soles of my feet; and then encasing my feet in socks. W? and indeed, TF?

What are you doing?
This will stop you coughing?
You’ll see.

And I did, I had a cough free night. Pure coincidence of course and the following night I refused the soggy sock treatment, I wasn’t falling for this superstitious nonsense. As a result, I ended up sleeping in the spare room because my coughing was so bad. Since then I have requested the treatment; rubbish of course but makes her happy (and stops me coughing).

Whenever I get sick, mother-in-law is quickly on the phone ensuring that her daughter is giving me adequate attention. Between the two of them they came up with the cure-all for flu; Brand’s Chicken Essence. I don’t know if you have ever had this, but if you have you will never forget it. It tastes utterly vile, and you are burping up vileness for hours. Unluckily for me, she who must be obeyed had been given some as a New Year’s gift by a customer, and there were three bottles left in the fridge.

At the height of my misery she thrust one into my hand.

Take this, it will make you feel better.
Not immediately it won’t.

Sod’s law dictated that I was indeed feeling a little better the following day, although I was sure it was just the natural course of things. Still, there were only two bottles left; so in for a Vick-soaked sock, in for a couple of swallows of goodness knows what; at least it makes my wife happy.

A couple of days later and I am feeling much recovered and the bottles of Brand’s are finished; double joy.

Then my wife returns home from work and announces she has a present for me. Good, I like presents. Usually:

Small technical note: the above was taken handheld at 1/8th second, E-M5 stabilisation is rather good.

This Post Has 11 Comments
  1. My son had an otitis of the middle ear. I learnt that chopping up an onion, frying it shortly with a drop of oil, then putting it into some piece of thin cloth so it forms a little bag, and then putting it on that ear for the night can actually reduce the pain!? Can I email your wife when my kids are ill again?

  2. All that over a bit of Vicks and Brands? I’m waiting for the post after she doses you with fresh snake blood and whisky, that’ll be a goody…

  3. Yesterday my wife started coughing badly. When we went to bed, I suggested we put some Vicks Vapour Rub on the soles of her feet and then she should wear socks during the night. She refused both, not sure the expression on her face was mocking, disbelief, or annoyed. Funnily, she also didn’t cough at all during that night. Maybe the mere thought of the treatment already works miracles?

  4. Grant, Spike doesn´t like whisky. Still I´m a believer in Hot Toddy as a remedy for man flu and although I havn´t actually tasted Brands I can already sense that I wouldn´t like it.

    1. Yes, his dislike of the holy water is one of the very few flaws in his otherwise magnificent character and may be put down to his having been born on the wrong side of the border, and too close to it…
      Brands chicken essence, which I am inveigled into into buying for the ancient M in L every Thai new year, is made by running the carcasses of deceased (hopefully) chickens through the rollers of a giant mangle and bottling the result after it has been strained through an old sock which can then be used with Vicks Vapour Rub which see. The flattened remains of the chickens are then jammed and wired into pieces of splintery split bamboo and roasted and sold for your delectation by itinerant roadside vendors…
      Your senses are, on this occasion, serving you remakably well…

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