For Chrismas, I got a cold. A particularly bad head cold, if you must know, complete with buzzing ears and a cough that would convince anyone of a weak and pessimistic nature that they were dying.

“I’m dying!”, I wailed miserably, gulping down the hot port that Riho had brought me. Hot port (with sugar and a slice of lemon) is a Very Good Thing at a time like this.

Great, hacking coughs have filled the apartment for several days now. As soon as I lie down, I start to choke, which makes sleeping problematic. I’ve been attempting to sleep with my head propped up on about fifty pillows, but it makes very little difference other than to add to the levels of untold pain in my neck. My ribs hurt from coughing. I cannot breathe. Woe is me.

Yesterday, I realised that if I didn’t get some kind of medicine I would most likely die in a coughing spasm incident, so off I went to the apteek across the road in search of something similar to the “Veno” medicine I remember from my childhood. You know, the ones that taste like pure chemicals, burning all the way down your throat and catching fire in your chest. I figure they’re burning up all the crap that’s causing you to choke. No pain, no gain.

Unfortunately, none of the packaging on any medicines in the apteek is ever in English. Products have instructions and descriptions in multiple languages in this country – there’s usually a minimum of three languages, but I’ve seen as many as twenty on one item. Not one of them was English. It certainly opens your eyes to how much bigger the world is than just the little part of it that you’ve always kind of assumed was the centre!

Anyway, I picked out a medicine bottle that looked vaguely like the Veno one, and hunted down a sales assistant to ask if she spoke English. She spoke very little English, as it turned out, but I bet you’ve never thought about how easy it is to mime an entire conversation about various types of coughs, have you? It was like an overly-specific variation of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. I think she enjoyed the conversation as much as I did, and by the end of it I was quietly confident that the medicine in my hand was indeed for the type of chesty cough with which I am afflicted.

It tastes absolutely revolting. I assume this means it is good for me.


2 thoughts on “Ugh.

  1. I’m just getting over that one myself! Luckily, I already had the codeine-laced cough syrup and fever medication from the last time I got sick here. The pharmacists in France are so helpful!

    Hmmm… hot port, eh? I’ve been drinking hot toddies, also a Very Good Thing. :)

    Happy holidays!

  2. cold go away. just before snuggling in for the night: rub feet with vicks, put on those warm funny socks, and off to a good night’s rest.
    I have so enjoyed our, urrh, your travels, keep’m coming.

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