An impaired immune system

This is not the way I’d planned things. Stefano and I were supposed to be going on whale watching trips out of Provincetown, going off bird watching and, generally speaking, having a really good, relaxing, romantic time together, while of course spending time with and taking care of my parents, who had their second cataract surgery on Tuesday, by the way. A successful removal, once again: they can see well from both eyes now!!! Yay!

But I guess I’d gotten a bit overtired in the past few weeks. And the straw that finally broke my camel’s back was the frrrrrrrrrrreezing cold waiting room at the eye clinic on Tuesday. Like last time, as soon as my Dad was out of the operating room, one of the nurses called me so I could sit and talk with him. Mind you, it was cold in there last time, too, but this time it seemed that that the AC in that inner waiting room had really been jacked up. Even the nurses were remarking on how chilly it was, but of course they were running around and doing stuff, so they managed to keep warm enough. Anyway, point is: I had forgotten to bring a sweater with me the second time. Duh. And I felt silly asking the nurse for a warm blanket like the one Dad had (ah, if I could go back in time, I’d bloody ASK her!!!).

Result: I got a chill = the above-mentioned straw…

By Tuesday afternoon, I knew I was in trouble. Luckily, I can recognize the symptoms of “trouble” by now, so I knew what to do…

It began with a sore throat that kept getting worse. And a head cold, which also kept getting worse. I’d brought my usual antibiotics from Italy, so I went ahead and took one (I’m still on the same antibiotic, of course). Smart move. By the next morning, I was in a full-blown SOMETHING THAT WAS NOT AT ALL NICE. And my sore throat had turned into the mother of all sore throats. That would have been Wednesday, just two days ago. By Wednesday afternoon I had developed a fever (100.4 F, or 38 Celsius) and, worse, THE COUGH, the terrible, raking cough, the one with the lovely (not), colorful discharge, the one that we myeloma-touched folks dread like most folks dread the plague…

On the positive side: at the onset of the first symptoms, I immediately began stuffing myself with Manuka honey and Nigella sativa (not enough of the latter, I’m afraid, but I made up for that yesterday ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Curcumin, too, of course. Oh, and a bit of Sambucol and, since yesterday afternoon, one of those OTC cough expectorants, which I thought I needed but have now stopped taking.ย 

Well, live and learn:

  1. if you have an impaired immune system, don’t get all run down (or stressed out!), because bad things can happen really fast…within a matter of hours. Take it from me.ย 
  2. learn to recognize the symptoms. As soon as you begin feeling out of sorts, DO SOMETHING. Don’t just shrug it off.ย 

And here I’d been priding myself on not having gotten really sick for two years…Sure, I’ve had a couple of 48 bugs (which I’ve posted about here on the blog…like after my father-in-law died = major stress period for Stefano and me…proof that stress is incredibly BAD for us, too!!!), but nothing major. Nothing like this. This August 2013 bug made me quite ill for the first 24 hours (I did almost nothing but sleep), then I felt better yesterday, and today I even went out with Stefano for a short trip to the store. Today I don’t have a fever, my cough has almost entirely disappeared (how about that??? I’m amazed, too), and I’m feeling quite strong. So I know that tomorrow I’m going to be FINE. In fact, I feel fine right now, as I’m writing this quick post.ย 

All things considered, therefore, it hasn’t been that bad. Yes, my immune system is definitely out of whack, but it’s also a feisty little, er, whacker. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And, with the proper sustenance (antibiotics, Manuka, Nigella, curcumin and so on), it is able to pick up its little sword and cut off THE BUG’S nasty, evil head. Those first symptoms are crucial…

It’s a learning process. But the important thing is that life goes on. And Stefano and I can now plan to go whale watching…perhaps even on Sunday.

Tomorrow (finally!) we’re going to the beach. And now I’m going to do some work. My brain needs a workout after all that snoozing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Life is good again. ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Margaret, sorry to hear this, but happy to hear you are on the mend !
    Thanks for sharing your protocol on how to attack these things right away. Very good to know. When you take the antibiotics Margaret, do you take the full course (7 to 10 days)? Enjoy your NE holiday !
    Best to you,

  2. Hi Margaret. That’s a reminder/lesson for all of us. Thank goodness you got over it so quickly.

    Have a great time whale watching and take a few days off from everything – except pure enjoyment!

    All the very best

  3. So happy you are on the mend and know how to take action right away. Thanks for sharing that!

    Have a healthy rest of your holiday.

  4. Great response Margaret, so pleased it worked for you.
    Like you I also keep a similar armoury of “bug attack” stuff ready to go at first signs. Added to what you do I also use Betadine Throat Gargle (Povidone-Iodine)1ml in 20ml water every 3-4 hrs at the very first signs of a sore throat as well as the good ol steam inhalation to clear the chest. Saved me from going the bigger guns on a couple of occasions.

  5. Quick update: I’m doing fine now, still a slight occasional cough, but no big deal…. I’ve been running around with Stefano doing tons of stuff, trying to make up for the loss of time!…tomorrow, e.g., we are going to go on a hike in the Wellfleet Audubon wildlife sanctuary, right on the bay…mmmh, should be good! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thanks for all your kind comments! Most appreciated. Grazie! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Oh, and yes, I take the full course of antibiotics, Dana. Otherwise, you risk creating super bugs that are resistant to antibiotics…not good!
    Marco: verissimo!
    Aussie Pete: I forgot to mention that I’d brought an organic propolis throat spray from Italy. I think that helped, too…

  6. So glad you are feeling better, have a great vacation, but do take care of yourself, we need you

  7. that AC is treacherous… my daughter Mari fell ill to the NYC’s stores and restaurants, and spent 3 days with a terrible cold which was turning into a coughing kind of something, and we were guided to some OTC cough expectorant/suppressant (not sure how that works) but it worked well enough that she was able to get back into the vacation mode. Hope you have a great catch up.

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