Chapter III Page 2
All cars, old and new, provide plenty of healthy and vigorous viruses
for the breathing organs of the passengers who ride in air-conditioned
cars. The same goes for buses, trains and planes. And remember,
summer cold is obstinate, many times more than a winter cold.
But why do only a few isolated cases catch cold from this lively
and permanent source during the whole summer? Why so much exposure
and so little infection? Why no epidemic? Why, when a member of
the family catches a summer cold, the rest of the family members
do not catch it? Or if they do, it is a rare thing. Why no person-to-per-son
transmission during summer months?
I think that as the visitor from Soviet Armenia indirectly put it,
ones state of mind has a lot to do with it. Summer is a time of
travel, vacations, picnics, out-doors, barbecues, no schools, well-lit
lawn and drunken guffaws heard from distant homes, in all the neighborhood,
giving a party outside. You too contribute to the jubilation and
your laughter is heard by others in the neighborhood.
Summer is fiesta worldwide, the time of quiet exhilaration, and
when it ends, the bright jubilant smiles on faces are not quite
there anymore. There is a letdown, a subtle one, at the end of each
summer, and the human mind collectively experiences mild depression
not quite consciously felt.
The virus comes, confident, not be-cause the autumn has arrived,
but be-cause the summer has ended. The fiesta is over. You have
a sense of having put one section of the good life behind you, and
it may or may never come again. There are only worries and hard
work on ahead, particularly for the students. With the advent of
a gray winter the virus overcomes, and that is my personal opinion
based on observation and guess-work. The virus comes mostly from
the school classroom.
The sixteenth century poet, William Cawper, must have agreed with
me when he wrote:
O’Winter! Ruler of the inverted year
Thy scattered hair with sleet like ashes filled
Thy breath congealed upon thy lips, thy cheeks
Fingered with a beard made white with other snows
Than those of age …
What you read above fully supports my point of view and “white
with other snows than those of age” carries weight and meaning
in the direction of winter-time gloom, escapable only when you
a home in Florida or Palm Spring to live in until springtime.
The green is gone and the trees look like wood sticking out of earth
scorched by the cold.
And you have caught the cold. If you have done nothing to prevent
it, you soon are in the advanced stages of the cold. Your nose is
plugged and every time you blow into the tissue or hand-kerchief,
you hear a horn-like noise in your ear. Your brain seems to be coming
out in liquid form.
I suggest that in the advanced stages of the cold you have the
nose wash, quick, with the vitamin C solution. I repeat. Crush
tablet is a normal drinking glass. Add water until it is a quarter-full.
Stir, draw it up from your cupped hand into your nostrils and nasal
passages three or four times, and get it all out so you can breathe – through
the nose, not the mouth. No doubt you already have taken some prescribed
tranquilizer, which makes things easier.
When your breathing becomes easy, you can rest better. This works
like an anti-depressant. You sense the early signs of recovery,
and this helps in-crease your resistance.
The gamma globulin shot? At an advanced stage of the cold, you have
weakened the full-blooming virus to a level it becomes similar to
a vaccine, but after considerable suffering.
You want to get rid of the cold as fast as you can, you want to
go to work, and you want to go on with life. Get an intravenous
500 CC injection of vitamin C and see what will happen.
Immediately after the shot the flow from the nose increases, and
if you cough, you will cough with force and with more discharge.
For a couple of hours it will seem like you have become worse.
The nose drips like a leaking faucet. It seems you have sunk further
and deeper in the wretchedness of the illness. To some this may
appear to be a mistake, but it is not. You are already getting well
much sooner than you anticipated. The mucus discharge, which would
normally take two to three days, is being done with within two to
three hours. The virus is kicked out, washed out, and the disease
is passing its peak, quick.
There is a fruit in Iran I don’t know of it being available
in the U.S. it is called sweet lemon and it is very good for you
while you are having a cold. Sweet lemon is a citrus fruit, very
sweet in taste and good for all illnesses except diarrhea. It is
rich with vitamin C.
Eating this fruit is refreshing, and you can eat a basket-full.
When taking an antibiotic, it is great stuff for filtering out the
toxins that the antibiotic produces in your blood. It has a greater
reputation of being a medical fruit than any other.
If fruits were allowed to be imported to the U.S., I would have
air freighted crates, Tammy. Perhaps contact could be made finally
through sweet lemons.
Why don’t you call? Why the silence? Are you set on being
a lost friend forever? Are you really down with a cold? Have you,
like me, married again, have you remarried your ex-husband, are
you on a secret honeymoon somewhere in Europe or Florida, and your
secretary is protecting your secret? Or is she protecting your
If the latter is the case, rest while I write. Do nothing more
than rest. You may be bored with resting but try to like it. Enjoy
perfect idleness, watch the ceiling if you are not sleeping. Let
your thoughts float. That is the best state of mind when you are
down with a cold.
The theory of quick response is conductive to your being up on your
feet when fighting a cold. If you allowed yourself to dive, stay
Lay down to rest in an absolute sense. Don’t even watch television.
A heart-rending drama or watching news broadcasts with all its
and excitement puts your mind, the very center of your existence,
into active service. Avoid that.
Experiment with yourself if you want and see what absolute rest
means. When you are resting and your mind is not active on any
subject or idea, and you are not having a brainstorm – cold
won’t seem to be with you. But take a newspaper and read,
and soon a sneeze or two comes, and you have to reach for the tissue
box. Stop reading and you will be back in the dry state. Repeat
again and the same thing happens. There is a direct relationship
between the idleness of the mind and the drip, as sure as the unfaltering
law of gravity.
Don’t do the company’s work while you’re in bed
with a cold, even if it is merely reading a report or making sketches
for a design. You won’t serve the company’s cause by
doing beyond the call of duty work and causing the extension of
your illness. Just rest. Let a tranquilizer help you if you are
bored and want to do something. Keep yourself in a state of not
wanting to do anything as long as you can.
When you are fit for work, you will know it.
Don’t dash to work out of eagerness, or go early with the
telltale signs of the cold – the sore edges of your nostrils
and the upper lip only prove to the boss you were not loafing. But
the boss, however keen-eyed, passing good judgment on you, doesn’t
speed your good riddance of the cold.
Remember, as long as you sneeze when out of bed several times a
day, you are still flu-ridden and you can infect your associates
as well as the family, and nothing can be done about it as long
as the method I’ve shared with you is not practiced by all.
Under the circumstances allow your associates the chance of getting
infected from other sources rather than from you.
At the same time keep in mind that if your job needs you badly,
and you feel that you must attend to something important, by all
means go to work and don’t mind how many people you will flatten
with the residue of your cold. If your associates don’t get
it from you, they will get it from others. Thus, you will not do
them harm if out of no choice you infect a few. Only in this regard,
try to maintain an ethical balance.
While lying in bed with a cold, resting, having nothing to do, being
away from the commotion and stresses of daily life, and being the
recipient of special care and attention of your spouse, things sometimes
steer off course. A strong de-sire for the ultimate in togetherness
may surface and if things happen, in whatever stage of the cold
you are in, you will get worse. You have to be with the virus for
a couple more days. But what is two or three days in a lifetime?
To my mind comes the refrains of an old song the frat-boys sang
at their drunken beer parties:
“I can’t give you anything but love, baby…”
I don’t remember the remaining lines, Tammy. My head is full
of fragments of songs I heard when we were together in a singing
crowd. You sung in harmony with others, but I listened. The tunes
of the ballads of love from the twenties with their sweet, timeless
innocence are all in my head, but not quite the lyrics. Here is
I wait for you, honey,
At half past eight.”
And so, I wait.