I don't get many colds. The occasional sniffle, but it's usually gone within a day or two. At the first sign of a tickly throat or runny nose, I start taking echinacea/goldenseal drops in water (vile taste, but worthwhile) three times per day, and mega-doses of Vitamin C. Several grammes per day. I also cut out all dairy products, and sugar for a day or two, and increase my garlic intake. If I feel as if a cold is starting in the evening, I stir some honey and the juice of half a lemon into hot water, and drink that last thing at night.
It usually works well. Within 24 hours, the cold virus appears to have retreated into oblivion, cowed by my immune system and all that Vitamin C. Or so I imagine.
This usually only happens once or twice during the winter, at least since we've been living in Cyprus.
But this year, I've had to fight the battle at least three times already - and it's only mid-December. The worst of winter is yet to come. Indeed, one would hardly know it's Winter in cyprus, with daytime temperatures still around 20C, and almost continual sunshine.
But two weeks ago, I felt worse than usual. My assault on the cold virus did not seem to be working for a couple of days. I nearly gave in and went to bed late one morning, but then phone rang and I had to deal with something, and the moment passed. The following day, I felt fine again.
Then it happened again, on Sunday evening this week. I took some Vitamin C and one dose of echinacea/goldenseal. It seemed to be better, so I didn't take any more. I woke in the night with a tickly throat, and pondered going downstairs to get some more ammunition, but the night was chilly and the bed was warm... so I didn't. A foolish mistake.
On Monday, my throat was distinctly ticklish. But I had to get to the Post Office. So I took my drops and Vitamin C, and had some extra freshly-squeezed orange juice for good measure. I didn't put any yogurt on my muesli, and by the time I set out around 9am I wasn't feeling too bad. I had to walk rather further than I expected, but got home feeling as if I'd succeeded in throwing off the cold.
Alas for my expectations. By lunch-time, I felt shivery. Although my throat felt better, my nose felt worse. I continued taking the echinacea and Vitamin C, and eating clementines in between meals. I had some rather hot chili hummous at lunch-time. I ate three raw garlic cloves in the afternoon, as well as putting garlic in our supper. I had hot lemon and honey at bedtime. I even put some Olbas Oil drops on my pillow, to ease congestion and help me sleep.
I knew I had to be well for Tuesday morning, since it was the day of the toddler group Christmas party. And when I woke up, I did feel somewhat better. Still sniffly, but no longer shivery or achey. The walk there was fine. The party went well. The mothers has excelled themselves with the food, representative of their different countries. And the children ate barely half of it.
So, I gave in to the temptation to have a small piece of sweet potato cake, and a small piece of banana cake, and two totally amazing chocolate truffle balls. And then as I was clearing things away, I saw a Mr Kipling mince pie with the pastry top all broken. It called my name. I LOVE Mr Kipling mince pies. Then, when I asked the chocolate truffle ball maker what the ingredients were, she said 'chocolate and cream'.
So much for giving up all sugar and dairy products for the duration of the cold.
After the party, I walked down to the main Post Office, and it was packed with people. The queues were at least four or five people long, and there's hardly anywhere to sit. So I walked through the town, the reverse of Monday's route, to the small St Lazarus Post Office. Only one person in the queue there, so I got my stamps fairly quickly. Then I sat down at the table, where there was only one other person engaged on the same activity, and got all my stamps stuck in record time. I was greatly relieved to have everything in the post at last, even if they do end up being late.
Then I walked home. And in the afternoon, I felt achey, and tired, and decidedly brain-fogged. So I repeated all the cold-fighting procedures. Surely, I thought, the cold would have to give in sooner or later.
Alas, it still hasn't done so. On Wednesdays we usually have a colleague or two for lunch, and I tend to do some baking, and make some soup (in the winter). So I made some curried chicken soup in the slow-cooker, and some tomato bread in the breadmaker, and some gingerbread in the oven. Then I made another 24 mince pies. Every so often I left the kitchen to sneeze or cough somewhat, but I'd found some Ricola Honey and Lemon cough lozenges, so I sucked those off and on, and they helped suppress the cough (which was hacking and painful rather than productive).
In the event, nobody came home for lunch with Richard, which was probably just as well as I'd hate to give anyone else this nasty cold.
This afternoon, once again, I felt tired and very achey, and not really with it. And here I am, Wednesday evening, with a cold that has lasted three days. I don't remember ever having one that went on so long. It hasn't knocked me out, and I don't think it's turned into the flu, but it's distinctly unpleasant. I now have neck-ache so I think I'm going to make my hot honey and lemon drink, and get into a nice warm bed.