Thursday, January 05, 2006

no, I didn't run off with the butcher

Not yet, anyway. I've just been enjoying the last week of the kids' Christmas holidays in my own way - going to bed much too late and sleeping until noon. Not very conducive to getting things done. Thank goodness the boys, who also love sleeping in, are able to fend for themselves. My 'breakfast' today consisted of my thyroid pill, something for my sinuses and two gingerbread men washed down with a glass of Diet Pepsi. There's healthy livin' for ya!

On Tuesday I took the boys to see the latest Harry Potter movie and lo and behold, even though it was two and a half hours long, I, very old person, didn't fall asleep even once. The boys loved it and I quite enjoyed it, really, although it wasn't very true to the book. What I found most interesting were the costumes and the way the teenage actors have grown and matured since the last movie.

We're all still sniffling a little bit. Whatever this virus was, it was a sticky one. When I went to the pharmacy last week I asked the pharmacist for a cough supressant to help me make it through the night. The little bottle of Robitussin I had brought back from our holidays last time was long gone and I needed something new so I took her advice. Big mistake. The stuff, to be doled out 40 drops at a time, was completely useless. And the taste. Ugh. How can I describe it? The bitter, bitter tears of a thousand scorned lovers comes to mind - lingering and almost unbearable.

So to give my long-suffering husband a bit of a rest from the middle of the night coughing attacks, I retired to the guest room for about a week and have only just been welcomed back into the marital bed. Mr. M, who is rarely ill himself, has to put up with so much from me, and not just in the cough and cold department. As my father once said to me "Pity the poor patate that gets you." Gee, thanks, Dad!

Mid-week when the coughing was at its worst, I considered going back to the pharmacy and buying something different to try to calm the storm. But in Germany you can't just walk into a pharmacy, grab your drug of choice, pay for it and slink away. No, you have to ask for it by name because everything even remotely medicinal is behind the counter. So I decided to look online for German cough medicines (like my Robitussin) containing dextromethorphan which usually works for me although it makes me feel a bit loopy. Things I learned:

- Vick's Formula 44 is called Wick's Formula 44 in Germany because if you left the V there and let Germans pronounce it, it would be pretty close to a nasty German word

- dextromethorphan is an opiate in the same category as codeine and morphine. No wonder it works

- there are online drug message boards where people are slugging down 3 or 4 bottles of dextromethorphan cough syrup at one time, followed by a litre of grapefruit juice (a known drug enhancer) and then reporting what kind of 'trip' they had. I lead such a sheltered life

Tomorrow is January 6 - Three Kings Day or Epiphany which is a gift-giving day in many European countries. Not in our house. January 6 is our signal to take down the Christmas decorations. I'm actually looking forward to this. Enough with the red and the green and the shiny. The days are getting longer now, which pleases me no end, although the weather has been its usual grey, wet, windy self. This time of year is definitely not my favourite, but spring is just around the corner and soon the snowdrops and forsythia will be blooming...


At January 05, 2006 10:19 p.m., Blogger Dixie said...

I seem to have caught the nasty cold going around although it's limited to my sinuses and throat only - so far. Please, no coughing! Trip to the pharmacy for me as well and it was crammed full of people with colds.

I hope I have all I need since they're not open again until Saturday.

At January 05, 2006 10:24 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Oh, poor you, Dixie! The first time around I had just the cough and THEN I got an enormous runny head cold with the cough. It's been about 5 weeks in total so far.

At January 05, 2006 10:34 p.m., Blogger Schatzi said...

Feel better sugasniffle....
And I want you on my team for trivia pursuit if ya ever get state side...such a PLETHORA of Googleness you are!

I will gladly put together a care package of pharmeceuticals fer ya.. What a rigamarole you guys go through for cough syrup!

At January 05, 2006 11:17 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Aww,thanks, Schatzi!! No dice on sending meds through the mail though- verboten in a big way. If they caught me with contraband drugs they'd throw me in the slammer for sure! I will just try to make sure I stay healthy until July.

If only I was as good at housework as I am at googling...:-)

At January 06, 2006 12:33 a.m., Blogger Elemmaciltur said...

You-Know-Who is currently having quite bad bouts of 'Keuschhusten', dry coughs, too. The only cough syrup I have is from Thailand....I gave it to him. It helped him a bit, but not that much (he wouldn't believe me that he shouldn't be downing it with water, because the syrup should be sliming over the throat and not just washed down - what's the point then?). Oh, well, I had to stop him trying to take the thing the third day in a row, because you're not allowed to take the syrup continually for more than three days. Why? Das Wundermittel heißt: 'Camphorate opium' *winks*

At January 06, 2006 12:49 a.m., Blogger GC PHILO said...

The Spanish kids are getting all their gifts tomorrow morning. As for your cold, if I remember correctly - in the Czech Republic they used to prescribe a shot of moonshine for that cough that just won't go away. Don't they do the same in Germany?

At January 06, 2006 1:00 a.m., Blogger christina said...

Elemm - yep, that stuff would do the trick! :-) Codeine works great for coughs too, but it's only available here by prescription and there's that little addiction problem you have to worry about if you take it for too long.

gc philo - actually they like to prescribe all sorts of ineffectual herbal stuff before reaching for the real drugs, but if I had found any moonshine around here, I probably would have tried it. :-) Are you getting presents too?

At January 06, 2006 2:07 a.m., Blogger Betty said...

Red, green and shiny ... doesn't that describe the cough medications as well?

At January 06, 2006 3:18 a.m., Blogger Cathy said...

I really enjoyed reading your post today. It sounds so relaxed. I can tell you are getting loads of sleep!
Hope that cough goes away quick.
Take Care,

At January 06, 2006 4:40 a.m., Blogger Expat Traveler said...

The best thing for the sore throat type thing is a teaspoon of salt and 8 ounces of water. I hate that stuff, so it doesn't work for me!

I knew some kids had to be off still. My hunch was right. Ditto on the grey weather.

But your alive and goofing off. It's hard to get back into the normal days again after vacation.

At January 06, 2006 8:56 a.m., Blogger Karen said...

Sounds like they gave you something homeopathic - bronchicum or so. That is great stuff when you feel something coming on but not when you are full blown sick.

Glad to hear you're better! I got my decorations down yesterday (a day ahead of tradition, I know - but the tree was needling badly).

At January 06, 2006 9:23 a.m., Anonymous J.Doe said...

I had a terrible cough like that last year and went to many Dr.s. They all prescribed what they consider the best ultimate medicine...antibiotics. Some without even looking at me! I remember wishing that I had Robitussen or Vicks formula 44 or some OTC medicine for coughs sold in the US too. After several months I went to another Dr. who looked at me and did not prescribe antibiotics and was cured.

At January 06, 2006 10:46 a.m., Anonymous rebecca said...


Nice thought.
Tastes horrible.
Bad effectiveness.
Hugely expensive for the little pieces of tea leaves that it is.

In short: very bad tasting waste of money that makes you feel like you should get better but never actually makes you feel better.

Conclusion: find some nice real drugs. Codine is good.

At January 06, 2006 1:02 p.m., Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

I usually take tablets agains coughs. They're called Tossamine Plus and you can get them without a prescription in Switzerland. You have 2 white ones for daytime and a blue one for at night. Don't know what's in them but they work for me. I'll have a look this evening and let you know.

At January 06, 2006 2:40 p.m., Blogger christina said...

It wasn't homeopathic stuff she gave me - it was called Silomat and is pretty strong but it just didn't work for me. The 'Cough Control Centre' in my brain seems to be pretty resistan. I've tried the homeopathic remedies as well and wasn't all that impressed although some of our friends swear by them.

J.Doe - I think they do give a lot of unecessary antibiotics in Italy, Spain and France. Germany isn't too bad in that respect and usually whatever it is will go away by itself but I did have pneumonia once (which really did need antibiotics) without knowing it so that's alway in the back of my mind when I get a bad cough.

At January 07, 2006 10:36 a.m., Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

Got it: Tosssamin Plus has Codeine (or methylmorphine).


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