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Tuesday, 19 November 2019


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Notwithstanding the availability of various wonderdrug treatments in your local pharmacy I would point out the incredible efficacy of the 'old days' treatment of filling a bowl with hot, steaming water, putting your head over the bowl, tenting your head and the bowl with a towel, and breathing the steamy warm air. It will make you feel better (albeit temporarily), will help to drain the gunk out of the various cavities in your head, and is about as close to free as a treatment can be.

Seems crazy that such a primitive treatment works so very well. But it does, and it's always seemed a shame to me that such a cheap, effective treatment has fallen into disuse.

Feel better, Mike. If you experience no improvement in a couple of days, try your primary care doc, who can either fix you up, tell you it's a virus and to tough it out or probably get you in to see the ENT doc, if the need is urgent.

Hang in there, Mike. I recently had some bad health news and, although my problem can be effectively treated or cured, I was down for a few days. Then, I realized that whatever time is left is far to precious to waste in a funk. I hope you arrive at a similar, more optimistic, state.

I tried making an appointment with a podiatrist in July to deal with painful, unexplained swelling in one foot. I was told that they were not scheduling new patients until October. "Well that is lucky," I responded with some heat, "for by October I will have either lost the foot, or the situation will have corrected itself, and in either case I will not be your problem."

I briefly considered simply going to the podiatrist's office and refusing to move until being seen. In what universe does a painful and debilitating foot condition not need to be addressed before three months elapse?

Sorry for your troubles Mike. The medical profession has spoken, and it has said: "you are on your own."

Dear Mike. It's tough to be a one-man business. You need a break. Physically, but I imagine mentally too. Lots of sleep, lots of tea-and-lemon, if you are up to it perhaps some quiet walks outside. Lots of sleep: sleep is the great healer, especially with colds and such like. And give TOP a break for a few days, we TOPers will still be there when you re-open. Take it easy. Did I mention lots of sleep?

Look on the bright side. There’s no point of jonesing over pricey speakers any more. A pair of Best Buy specials will do ya just fine now!

Hang in there! Just allow yourself to take it easy.

Mike, a few years ago, I had an otherwise routine head cold that clogged up my ears/hearing. I was haunted by thoughts of losing all hearing based---in my mind--- on stories from the old days about kids going deaf after a bout of Yellow Fever.
I went to see a GP for reassurance, and she quickly poo-pooed the idea of it being a serious threat to my hearing.
After a few days or maybe a week, the cloggage drained away and all returned to normal.

Waiting makes for such difficult times, I wish you well - soon! Do keep up with making light of it even though it must be so troubling.

Dear Mike, bad news. I feel the anxiety.

Best wishes for a prompt return of robust health and senerety.

Hi Mike, I hear ya! You have my sympathy.

I’ve had my annual virus for about 5 weeks now and as everyone knows man flu is one of the most pernicious and debilitating diseases you can suffer.

First a cold that mutated into a sore throat which became a cough and is now a nasty post nasal drip which probably won’t clear up until next Spring!

I blame the weather (and the London Underground which probably contains more germs than a bio-weapons research lab).

Get well soon.

I too have suffered from clogged ears during and after colds. Inhaling, like Paul Butzi says, helps. I also managed to unclog my ear last time with an Otovent nose balloon. Worked like a charm.

Mike - I understand how you feel. Being ill, living alone and not being able to get the medical attention you need is stressful. I know; I live alone. If it get's too unbearable, you can always try emergency late at night when the traffic is at its lowest. In the mean time, the steam treatment is easy and may give you some relief - try adding some Vicks vapour rum to the hot water ... really; it works.

Hang in there and take as much time as you need to rest up and recuperate. We'll all be here when you get back.

Try a few hours of swimming. Enough chlorine up your nose will cure just about anything. Kidding. Kidding.

Hope you are back to normal soon. I already know what I'll write at VSL so I never look forward to reading my own stuff. You are my only blog treat each day! For my sake, get well.

Soft kitty
warm kitty
little ball of fur.

Happy kitty
sleepy kitty
purr purr purr.

There, there. Everything will be alright.

This sounds like a typical seasonal virus that has, on this occasion, made its presence felt in your ears. Not a surprise as it's very closely linked to the respiratory system, where these things invariably take hold.

I'd echo Paul Butzi's advice. Breathing steam is one of very few things that works for me. Stuff like 'cold remedies' don't work, they subdue the symptoms, which has the effect of prolonging the experience since the symptoms are usually the product of your body fighting the virus.

Hot water, water with honey & lemon, generous quantities of fruits and fruit juice. Save the veggies etc for when you regain some zip. Absolutely NO sugar bar the honey and the natural sugars in the fruit.

The other thing that helps is more time in bed, perhaps with the radio on low and tuned to a classical channel. I'll wear extra layers to deliberately raise my body temperature [N.B. not advisable if you have proper 'flu rather than a head cold].

I don't mind you posting about diet stuff. It's your blog, you can damn well write as you see fit. I don't have to agree, I don't even have to read it, but it is a sad sign of the times that some people don't want you to even post it.

Hope you're feeling better soon.

Take good care. I had a terrible October, and I still feel slightly off. Came down with a nasty cold and fever. Ended up with my intestines and kidneys shutting down, gaining ten pounds of water weight as I tried to stay hydrated, fainted once in a coughing fit, then barely made it up the hill to my doctor's office where after an x-ray he prescribed antibiotics for pneumonia. Two days later I had lost 14 pounds, but everything worked again. Still down about 4 from where I started. I don't recommend that diet.


Fluids, warm.

Chicken soup. -- really, it does work; wonton soup is a good alternative

Stay in bed and watch Jerry Springer.

My sympathy, added to that of the folks above.

Although seemingly "minor," a malady like that affects mood often more severely than it affects the body.

Please see your PCP. Perhaps a prescription for a nasal antihistamine? (My doctor seems to favor azelastine.)

My diet guru says tf I eat right I will live forever and never get sick.

If it's sudden deafness in one ear, you should treat it as a medical emergency. Hopefully it's just part of a cold, but the treatment window (steroids, usually) for sudden deafness is just a couple of weeks, best in the first few days.

Welcome to the world of tinnitus. It may be hard to imagine, but you kind of get used to it, except when your trying to listen to a quiet piece of music on headphones. In my case it's a high-pitched whistle, rather like the whistle that old-style cathode ray TV sets used to emit. It's disturbing when I think about it. I have learned, largely, not to think about it. A cold or a clogged up or infected ear makes it worse, but it never really goes away. Sometimes it suddenly changes pitch for some reason - then I notice it, as when a background noise suddenly stops and you notice it.

If a problem shared is indeed halved, Mike, I - someone who's almost exactly your age - have just come down with a filthy cold AND my first bout of gout in almost six years, meaning I'm nearly immobilised, the better to savour the congestion. Having the 'rich man's disease' is even more satisfying in that I'm church-mouse wealthy, thin, eat mostly healthily and work out regularly in the gym. Fortunately, I've built up adequate stocks of self-pity to carry me through the next few days.

It's the season, not that that's any consolation. Make sure your troops are well fed as well as hydrated. Baking or boiling those potatoes will warm you up, too! Get well soon!

Mike, the screech in your left ear needs attention NOW. It can become/is tinnitus. If caught early and quickly, it can be reduced or prevented from becoming permanent. So says the four different guys who examined me (long story about not having $ for immediate healthcare, working my way through the VA healthcare system after seeing an outside Dr.), and fitted my new hearing aid. (By the way, hearing aid –– good.) Look up "sudden onset hearing loss". Also, read about tinnitus as much as you can.
Do it now.

To quote a well known English philosopher: "you can't always get what you want."

My ex-wife lived in a lovely rural area, She came back to El Ay on the advice of her local family practitioner. Sometimes you need to leave an earthly paradise, if you don't want to visit your heavenly paradise too soon.

In life, if you choose one thing, you may loose another thing. That may not be fair, but it is reality.

For easy access to medical specialists, you gotta live in the big city. Yesterday I made an appointment for tomorrow.

Bird of Paradise, Hogue Hospital. iPhone Xs, portrait mode.

Mike, You seem to ave a cold, they can make one feel surprisingly bad relative to their relatively harmless effects. Listen to Paul, steam is your friend. A long Hot shower can do wonders. Buy a good humidifier and let it run all winter. It will definitely help with sleep.
A simple decongestant can help. Go out for some hot Thai food.

If you are decongested you will be better able to sleep, get back to us when you feel better.

During the 40's Disney created a public health short about vaccination. I featured the immune system as a metaphorical battle field, showing the body to slow to respond and losing to the invaders, while a vaccinated body had weapons on alert, ready to fight off the invaders.

You can find it on youtube as "Disney's Defense against Invasion."

Some months ago I suddenly lost hearing in one ear. Immediately made an appointment with my medical practitioner; the earliest being a few days away. In my cranky/fearful stage, while waiting, I found an on-line hearing test that can use simple, cheap earbuds (the site activates sequential tones in different frequencies, you press the mouse button upon hearing each one). The output is a graph showing hearing fidelity at the different frequencies. I brought the graph in to my appointment, which included a visit to the audiologist. He did a similar test with his professional equipment. The resulting graph was almost identical to the one I brought with me.

The problem passed. But the web site provided hours of worried entertainment (if there is such a thing). Or perhaps obsession is the better term.


Had to look up otolaryngologist.

Sounds like it's all in your head, but not in a good way. Your description is rather vivid.

Seguace di hieronymus bosch, cristo al limbo, 1575 ca. 02


Stereophile's editor battles hearing loss.

Nasal inhalation of sterile saline can sometimes greatly help blocked noses and doesn’t do any harm. DIY solution here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/non-allergic-rhinitis/treatment/ . In U.K. there is also Vicks Vapo Spray (sea water) which is a convenient standby.

Maybe this is similar to Kirk’s joking suggestion of inhaling while swimming but to judge from his blogged accounts of his swim club I can guarantee that would be a lot more expensive ;-) .

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