A not-so-frugal plague upon us

Typical. Just when I thought it was safe to put away the Lemsip I am plague-ridden once again. A very nice lady who took pity on my frugal circumstances last week and took me out for lunch I fear may have given me a chest infection which has circumnavigated the globe in a fashion that would make Christopher Columbus green with envy (if not phlegm). Her mother, who gave it to her, picked it up in Australia from someone who’d contracted it from someone else who caught it from somebody in Africa, so it’s a true globalised lurgy if ever there was one.

I should be proud really to have such a chic international malady, but my throat feels as though last night’s meal was mainly composed of razorblades and I’m drinking orange juice like it is going out of fashion. I’m ashamed to say that while I’m still quaffing the old herbal remedies I investigated the other week, like honey and lemon in hot water and the delightful hot milk, brandy slug and cinnamon (which certainly helped me sleep last night), I caved in and went to the doctors this morning with the intention of getting down on my knees and begging for good old fashioned penicillin. Doctors have become very stingy about handing it out over the last few years because, a) colds are a virus & therefore don’t usually respond to antibiotics (which treat bacterial infections) unless you’ve got some additional nasty bug and b) overuse of them encourages superbugs etc. as you know.

Luckily my doctor took pity on me as soon as she set eyes on my (more so than usual) ghastly features and listened to my chest, telling me I might need up to three weeks of antibiotics. Yikes. The latter wasn’t quite such good news, though. Especially given how the prescription for just the first week’s pills cost me £6.85 (she only gave me a week’s prescription to see if they’d work first). I was shocked as it had been a while since I’d needed a paid-for prescription and I’m sure it wasn’t as much as that last time around. But relieved I’d been allowed some drugs at all I went home and decided to treat myself to roast parsnip & garlic soup as garlic is supposed to be very good for colds etc. Not sure if DJ will be quite as keen when he gets home from work, however.

One positive thing is that since I’ve been laid up I’ve finally got around to reading Eating for Victory which is fascinating. It’s a collection of pamphlets distributed by the Ministry of Food during the war to get people eating healthily and to prevent them from wasting any part of their ration. There are all sorts of weird and wonderful recipes on using up stale bread and even using the water vegetables are boiled in as stock etc. Perhaps when I’m fit for purpose again an experiment in living on wartime rations might be in order. And there’s a huge focus in the pamphlets on vitamins and healthy eating to fight infection, which is something I could do with right now!

What do you make of herbal remedies? Do you have any favourites or is it all a load of hokum? Do you trust to antibiotics and conventional medicine? And do you think we pay too much for prescription medicines?

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