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Forever 81

I got sick!

By: - Columnist
/ 04:07 AM March 11, 2012

“Fever!” ca. 1997, by Gilda Cordero Fernando

It took me all of two weeks to get rid of a nasty viral cough.

On the first day, my bff Manny texted me. “Wala lang yan. Yang virus-virus, ka-ek ek-an lang yan ng mga doctor. Tatawasin kita. I will burn some nice CDs for you from my stash.”

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“I’m coming to visit you,” phoned Mariel Francisco. “I have a cold, so maghawahan na lang tayo.” But then I saw that my cold was much worse than hers, so I made her sit at the long end of the table.  We ate lugaw. Don’t ever take antibiotics, was Mariel’s parting shot, it’s bad for the health.

Belai Gruenberg sent a box of lagundi-cum-eucalyptus tea sachets. I told her I had access to fresh lagundi leaves that I get from a plant on the driveway. This is more convenient, Belai insisted. You can even take it at midnight when you’re in bed. If you’re on antibiotics, take yogurt or Yakult. It will replace the good bacteria that has been demolished.

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My son next door sent a bowl of soup loaded with hot chilis. That should do the trick, ma, he said.

Nancy Lumen said I should pray and put Vicks Vaporub on my chest and back and the soles of my feet. You can also use GIGA oil, which works the same way. GIGA means God is Good Always. Don’t forget to wear socks at night.

I am sharing Mario de Rivera’s sure-cure cough syrup, texted Babeth Lolarga. Boil 2 cups shredded ginger, 1 cup tamarind leaves or fruit, pounded, with 3 cups water for about 30 minutes. Strain, then boil again with 2 cups muscovado sugar until syrupy, about 30 minutes. Add ½ cup kalamansi juice. Add a dash of brandy. Take a shot as often as necessary. Enjoy!

Immune

Ambeth Ocampo didn’t know I was sick and dropped by. He saw me in my p.j.s with matted hair and runny nose. It was the sixth day of my nasty condition. I told him to go home, he would surely be contaminated. I’m on antibiotics, said Ambeth. I’m immune. He slid off his shoes and placed his feet up on a chair. He told funny stories. I fed him lugaw, too.

“Sick!” ca. 1997, by Gilda Cordero Fernando

A grandchild dropped by and gave me a hotdog.

In the evening the dentist next door, Lilli-Ann Fernando, passed by and said, worriedly, “It’s a very potent strain of cough you have. Everyone’s got it. Some have died. Have you finally seen your doctor?” Tomorrow, I promised for the third time.

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I found my cat, Mingming, napping on my bedspread as usual. Shoo, Mingming, I said, you’ll catch my deadly cold.  She ignored me. But I felt lonely so I just snuggled up to her and at last fell asleep, wheezing and coughing.

By the weekend I felt so miserable I practically crawled to the hospital. It was a late Saturday afternoon, and only one doctor was available for consultation. He was either very thorough or very slow. I coughed all over his chairs, his books, his photographs, his diplomas, and him.

After 40 minutes he prescribed the most potent antibiotics ever produced by man. The capsules gave me a stomach ache, a headache, a toothache, an ear ache, and a chill. Finally my cough was gone.

I still wonder if it was the antibiotics that cured me. I am more inclined to believe that it was the love and the caring of friends that made me well.

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TAGS: Ambeth Ocampo, antibiotics, Belai Gruenberg, Mariel Francisco, Nancy Lumen, Viral cough
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