Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lick my Phlegm

There's a difference between mucus and phlegm.  I mean beyond the spelling.  Although, frankly, just spelling  'phlegm' gives me a sick philologist's thrill.  That 'g' - it is so tasty.

Basically, mucus is supposed to be there and phlegm isn't.  Mucus relates to actual mucoid tissue - like say in your nose or eyes or genital areas - where it's good to be that little bit moist.  Phlegm, on the other hand, is more related to disease.  It's like MUCUS PLUS ++.  It's thicker, coats the back of one's throat and makes you feel like you're going to choke to death in the middle of the night.  Gives you that chronic throat clearing that drives people nuts.

But then I've been driving people nuts since I was a child.  My running tally of chronic conditions makes me sound like an Edwardian Artist -  infections of the throat, ears and lungs, migraines, dizzy spells, hypoglycemia, back, chest, neck - and now - shoulder pain.  My father frequently threatened to take me out back and shoot me - you know, to put me out of our communal misery.

"Heather, you're very sensitive to your body."  This from my mother, usually as she shakes her head, wondering where the hell I came from.  My mother - healthy as a horse.  Me?  Not so much.

My present ailments thrust me deep into Catch 22 territory.  My right shoulder, hindered by pain, with a side of next-to-no-mobility, should be treated with anti-inflammatories for pain and... well... inflammation.  (Along with icing, and physio.)  As instructed, I've been throwing anti-inflammatories at the problem for the last couple of months.  Turns out, these same anti-inflammatories, can eat away at a gal's stomach and leave her with ulcers and GERD, which in turn, give her blinding nausea, phlegm and difficulty swallowing.


Last night, I found myself at the pharmacist's counter, begging for wisdom.

"Is there anything I can take, other than anti-inflammatories to help with inflammation?

"What's the issue?"

"I have inflammation in my shoulder."

"And you can't take anti-inflammatories?"

"I cannot."

"Why not?"

"Because they give me ulcers. Is there another way to deal with inflammation that doesn't involve a pill?"

"Topical Creams."

"Like Arnica?"


"Doing that."

"Is it helping?"

shoulder shrug

"Cortisone shot?"

I hold up my prescription bag - "Doing that."

"So you're doing the topical cream and you're having a cortisone shot?"


"That's as far as I can take you."



"You don't have a hush-hush Shaman-like herbal remedy that I could cook over my stove, leaving me with a stinky mess of unguent to apply to my bum shoulder?"

"I do not."

"What if I slip you a Sir Wilfrid Laurier?"

"Are you attempting to bribe me?"

"Not at all.  How do you feel about Sir. John A.???"

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