Monday, November 24, 2008

Drugs and Juncos


Winter has arrived in southern North Carolina two months early.
(The Grinch is feeling a little holiday spirit.)


A few blooms still catch my eye.


Yes, I’m back already.

Other than the occasional seasonal allergy bother every year, I don’t get scary sick but once or twice a decade. That’s not good because I’m an inexperienced over-the-counter drug shopper. Hundreds of cure-alls beckon me as I browse the medicine aisles, sniffling, wheezing and stifling a cough, and I wonder, how can an expectorant that loosens mucus for a productive cough and a cough suppressant in one bottle work together? I bought it. I’m an idiot.

The pharmaceutical companies are very clever. They manufacture OTC drugs with side effects that make you feel crappy enough to send you back the drug store several times to find another drug to make you feel crappier. Zicam, Robitussin, Coricidin, Ibuprofen. Except for Zicam, I didn’t mix any of these drugs. I safely switched from one to the other, but early Saturday morning at around 2:30 a.m., I gathered clothes to wear to the emergency room…just in case I might need them. Head and chest congested, coughing, sneezing, short of breath, wide awake, and completely, deliriously exhausted, I realized I should never take a “non-drowsy” drug at night. Duh. I slept fitfully, maybe for an hour the whole night, and relieved my bladder about ten times. Honestly, I thought I might die leaning on furniture to breath easier. It was fear-induced asthma.

So, I have made my personal decision about OTC drugs: they don’t work. I’ll drink water, lots of it, and flush the toilet thirty times a day if necessary, call in sick, cough my brains out when I need to, and rest when I can. Mentholyptus cough drops are great. Chloraseptic is good for sore, scratchy throats. I’m much better now and sorry I wasted thirty bucks.

On Sunday I ventured out for sunshine and enjoyed a cute sparrow I’ve often ignored.


Soft pishing…


Move out of my shadow, please?




Dark-eyed Junco. Beautiful little bird. Always welcome to spend the winter with me.


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

How the heck did you get so close to that junco!!! Mine are so hinky- they fly off when I look at them!

I know what you mean about the OTC junk. I slam Nyquil at night along with a few toots of some nasal decongestant spray. I CANNOT sleep if I can't breath through my nose. (I'm not a mouth breather- even if people say that I am!)

Fell better sweet May! This too shall pass.

Kathie Brown said...

So sorry you were so sick! I never use OTC drugs. I'm into Homeopathy and natural healing. Much better and more effective. Your darling little junco was a sweet reward. And I love the close-up in the first shot. Brrrrrr! Happy Thanksgiving!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Oh Mary, I do hope that you are feeling much better by Thursday. Hang in there girl. Beware of those OTC's. Chicken noodle soup and water is best for you.

BJ said...

So glad that you're feeling better Mary! I did, however, snicker a few times reading this. You always have that effect on me!!!!!

The pictures are usual. Clear beautiful shots!

It's cold here in Maryland too! I'm not ready for this. It came way too early! Bring on the snow! But leave the ice for someone else.

Beth said...

Ice in North Carolina before Thanksgiving--brrrrr. I'm so sorry to hear you were sick, Mary, but think you made a smart decision about OTC--they seem so tempting with their promises of quickly restoring health but as we know things that are too good to be true often aren't. Enjoy your birds and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Balisha said...

Hi Mary,
I seldom get colds either...but when I do it's usually a doozy. Those OTC drugs change my heart rhythm. I can't take any of them. Lots of water...maybe with lemon, hot tea, vaporizer, chicken soup, ricola lemon cough lozenges. That's about it for me. Sometimes a tylenol PM...if I really can't sleep.

Balisha said...

Oh, forgot....feel better...and Happy Thanksgiving.

Carol Michel said...

Here's another thought, if you are too sick for OTC drugs or they make you sick and you think you are sick enough to go to an emergency room (VERY expensive), you might, uh, consider going to your doctor? Just a thought... Hope you are feeling MUCH better and don't get sick again for a long time!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Rurality said...

OTC drugs have changed, because of the stoopit people making drugs from them... to get the really good stuff anymore, you have to ask the pharmacist. They still have it, it's just behind the counter. That Chloroseptic spray is really a lifesaver though, huh?!

Nice juncos!

NCmountainwoman said...

I won't say, "I told you" but I did agree (it was your idea) that you should stay away from those meds. They will universally make you feel crappier than you already do. Warm salt water gargle is surprisingly soothing and saline nasal spray is effective and has no drugs.

Lovely pictures of the junco, as well as the icy stuff. It has been unseasonably cold here as well.

If you are chilly, drink hot Russian tea and rum. If you are feverish, try orange juice and vodka. Drink enough of either until you feel better or fall asleep! NOT!

Bundle up and drink a glass or two of wine before bedtime. And feel better soon.

Susan Gets Native said...

*From the OTC "freelance" pharmacist:
Lots of Nyquil.
Vicks on your chest and your upper lip.
Eating HOT chicken soup real close to your face.
More Nyquil.
A HOT shower with lots of deep breathing.
Flannel PJ's.
A little more Nyquil.
A big glass of really cold orange juice.
Five sprays of Chloreseptic.
One more glug of Nyquil.

You will wake up refreshed. Sure, it will be a week later, but you will be REFRESHED.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on OTC drugs, Mary. I'd rather have my symptoms than the side effects. Sure hope you feel better soon. I love how you zoomed into that junco to show off its delicate detailed feathers.

Beth said...

Mary, I hope you feel better soon. Being sick stinks! I'm with Susan on the Nyquil and the Vicks. I even put Vicks in the vaporizer. Makes sleeping through the night possible. My mom (the nurse) always said a cold is 9 days long - 3 days coming, 3 days here and 3 days leaving. I've always found that to be true.


Tina said...

So glad to see you got out and about and took some pictures. I'm not one to preach about otc each his own. I just slug a ton of water and rely on some wine before bed and suffer. Scary to think that you felt you might need to go to the ER, tho.
Hope you feel well enough to enjoy Thanksgiving.. and keep taking those to visit your posts. :)

nina at Nature Remains. said...

How close were you, Mary? Gosh, it looks like just inches away! Fantastic picture--I can even see every barb on his feathers.

I think I've heard good sound medical advice that agrees with what you're discovering. OTC medications do little to help--fluids and rest do better. (unfortunately with extra fluids there is NO rest...)

Wendy said...

I loved that little junco. And you really do well to capture those birds before they take off.

It's cold here too. No snow yet, but it's coming.

Glad you feel better. Not being able to breathe is scary!!
I guess you've had all the advice from the others re: hot liquids, cough drops, etc. etc. I tend to agree and usually pig out on the cough drops and chicken soup. OTC stuff does not work (as you've found out!).
Stay well.

Mary said...

Brus1510 - Beth, thanks for visiting me. Your Mom is right on. Vicks is good. Right now I'm in the middle of the long cold road but doing well. I'm a little miffed that our building at work was without HEAT today. We all wore heavy coats and the bald men wore knitted hats all day... :o)

Corey said...

Nice zoom Mary . . do you carry the sunflower seeds around with you and scatter them on the ground to help with your photo shoots? If so, nice tactic!

Mary said...

Hi all,

How did I get so close to a Junco? It's the camera, man. Not me. They're too shy.

beckie said...

Mary, don't forget the orange juice! Lots of vitamin C is good for a cold. Hope you get better each day and can enjoy your Thanksgiving. The juncos are such sweet little birds. They ahve a wide-eyed innocent look to them. Take care and keep taking those great pictures. It will help to keep your mind off feeling so crappy!

Laurie and company said...

whatta cute, chunky little sparrow.

was that ICE on that branch? o dear. it came faster than I had hoped. brrr.

I thought your words on OTC drugs were quite funny and quite true! better to tough it out than cover some symptoms...I am quite glad to hear that you are feeling better, and better yet? good enough to blog again! What would we do without your incredible pix to brighten our days?

Enjoy your blessed Thanksgiving...hugs from indiana

Unknown said...

Pomegranates Mary. But some and they will help with your cold.

Now even with my 300 lens I don't get that close. So what kind of lens do you have and how far away were you?

Answers please we need answers.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Glad you are BACK, Mary... I agree that OTC drugs do more harm than good... They really do make you sicker, don't they???? There's nothing like getting some fresh air to make one feel better!!!! Take care!!!! Stay out of the ice and snow though!!!!

JeanMac said...

Hope you recoup quickly, Mary.

Jayne said...

Ugh, so sorry to hear you've been sick Mary. I started taking the Ester-C 1000mg daily in hopes of protecting myself, but the viruses lurk. Love your little Juncos!

NatureWoman said...

OMG Mary I love your last photo. It's like a Mon@rch photo - so close!!

I gave up OTC thinking the same thing - they don't work, they just suck you in, etc. etc. and you still feel crappy after you spent the money.

Dog_geek said...

I hope you are feeling better, Mary! Love the Junco closeups - we have oodles of them here, too.

I like ncmountainwoman's suggestions: hot Russian tea and rum, or orange juice and vodka. As a friend of mine always used to try to claim, the alcohol kills the germs!

Angie said...

Aw heck, Mary, I'm so sorry you've been sick! I do hope you are on the mend now, after all, those dang Holidays are on our doorstep and no one has the energy for BOTH the crud AND the Holidays! :) Your pictures are fantastic, woman!!! I adore those little Juncos---they haven't arrived here yet, but I do know they are in Hillsville, VA. So maybe they'll be here soon. :) I created another page for photos and such; much easier to load bunches of pics. Have a look if you want to.

Elaine Cougler Author said...

HI Mary
So glad you're better! I agree that eating healthy, drinking plenty of fluids--those words sound familiar, don't they?--and getting plenty of rest are the best for colds. And that reminds me. Why can we not cure the 'common' cold?

Unknown said...

Mary : What an awesome series. The first image is such an intriguing one with incredible details and the closeup is just amazing

Richard said...

Fabulous closeup of the Junco.

Annie in Austin said...

An Austin bird blogger says there are juncos here so I'm looking for them. Maybe if a Junco shows up I'll recognize him after seeing your great photos!

Mary, it's been a day since you posted - hope you're feeling a little better? No advice on OTC drugs but here's a {((hug)) and a hope that you have a lovely Thanksgiving.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Mary, I rarely take any OTC drugs, I drink lots of water and herbal tea, take echinacea and vitamin C and rest.

This last bout for me has seemed eternal though. I'm still coughing after a month.

Your junco pictures are amazing!

Ruth said...

Hope you are better. The only OTC medication we are using is COLD Fx.(ginseng preparation) We have found it really does boost our immunity and does shorten the sniffles. You had far more than the sniffles though. Juncos are hard to photograph. Great job!

dguzman said...

Hope you feel better soon. I have my doubts about OTC drugs too, but when I do have to go to work, I'll take Sudafed (non-drowsy), and they seem to make it bearable. I've never had the flu, but I do get a rippin' cold usually once a year or so. So far, though, I'm good!

Kim said...

Mary, I was wondering how you were feeling. I am sorry to hear you are still feeling lousy. I agree about the chicken soup, it's the best thing for it. Often times I freeze some so I have it when I get a cold. That way it's already made for me when I am sick and all I have to do is heat it up.

LOVE the junco pictures. They are such cute little birds.

jason said...

I'm sorry you're still not well, Mary. But I can relate: I've been fighting a head cold for five days now, and it shows no signs of leaving me in peace. Yuck! You have my sympathy. I hope you're better soon.

You've captured an early bit of winter with some stunning images. I especially like the junco shots--that last one is spectacular!

Petit Coterie said...

So happy to have come across your blog. The pictures of the birds are wonderful, thank you for sharing.

Cheryl said...

Don't know how you get these photographs Mary, they are so beautiful.....
I still struggle with birds, but I will get there eventually....

Glad you are feeling a little better......

Unknown said...

Mix cinnamon in yogart: it boosts the immune system!

Rose said...

Oh, WOW, Mary, that last shot is spectacular! Even with a good zoom you must have been awfully close to that junco.

Glad you're feeling a little better. I don't handle drugs very well, either. The ones that are supposed to make you sleep--Nyquil, for example, keep me up all night. And all the fine print with all the side effects scares me. I think you're taking the right course of action--lots of water and rest, rest, rest!

Heidi said...

As so many above said, stick with the oldies but goodies... the OTC stuff isn't that helpful and they change their recipies every couple years it seems.

Get well soon :) Snuggle your licker sisters!

(how appropriate is this? word verification is barco)

Anonymous said...

What a serene blog. I,too, have someone that leaves a "Puffs" trail. Her name is Miss Maggie! Have a lovely Thanksgiving.
Hugs ~

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mary, I'm glad you're on the road to recovery now.
I love your junco pictures! They are such fun little birds to watch.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
I am so grateful you are on the mend. OTC would never wotk for me either. I go to the herbs for treatments. Drinking green or white tea is so yummy and when you add lemon you make all those great anti-oxidents available to be absorbed. I have a tea blend I make from my herbs. It is a heart healthy blend. I think the steam from the tea cup helps too. Cheryl told me thyme is good for breathing. I am drying some just in case I get a cold.
ALways rest. I do not think you ever get enough rest!
Nice Junco pictures. I think they are darling little birds.
Be well friend.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

MicheleRF said...

WoW! With that title I just had to read the post! Hope you are on your way to a full recovery sans the OTCs. My hubby and I always laugh when they list all the "rare" but "possibly life threatening" side effects during pharmaceutical commercials. Take care and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


(((feel better Mary)))
and happy Thanksgiving!

Yolanda said...

It is beautiful there just the same.