I’ve read that Hemingway was a drunk. I wasn’t there so I don’t know. I’ve heard that many great novelists helped themselves to various chemicals, substances, and elixirs that had mood or mind altering affects. I think I understand why.
I’ve got a cold. It’s not a particularly vicious one I don’t think, but it’s enough to make me miserable. My process for dealing with colds is aggressive. I go on the attack with every weapon I have at my disposal. For example, I found some Tylenol cold pills with antihistamine, I found some generic Mucinex (or however it’s spelled, check out the graphic of me discussing it via text message with my wife below), I stocked up on cough drops, popped a generic caffeine pill, and I even have a tiny little 8mg super-secret weapon.
Last night my wife had a board meeting to attend and my kids were begging and pleading to go to a skate party put on their elementary school at a nearby roller rink. That meant I had to put on my big boy panties and deal with it. I picked up more cough drops on the way there and dutifully strapped my hockey skates on (roller blades, not ice skates – although I have those too). I then spent the next two hours feeling almost human while skating around in circles and alternately terrorizing and embarrassing my children in front of their peers. If only I could have brought my hockey stick too…
I doped up on fresh pills when I got home and passed out around 11. When I woke up I realized that not only was I still sick and congested (seems to be moving down in my chest now), but I also felt dehydrated. Oh yeah, all that skating and sweating – I probably should have drank some water. Oops.
Pounded about twenty ounces of water this morning with a fresh batch of pills and then I was off to work and, surprisingly, I was very productive both yesterday and today in spite of being sick. What gives? It’s that super-secret thing I mentioned.
When I get a cold the cocktail of anti-cold meds I abuse my liver and kidneys with probably adds some short term stress. It puts me in a fog though. A zone where I can work on a task and pound it out. Of course when I add in my special miracle pill my output nearly doubles.
Years ago before the FDA decided to bow to pressure from lobbyists there was a a substance commonly available called Ephedrine. I still have a tiny, and dwindling, stockpile. Not really a stockpile anymore, more like dust shavings in the bottom of a lonely bottle. Still, that tiny little 8mg pill does wonderful things, especially when I catch a cold. Why do you think so many anti-cold / sinus meds have pseudoephedrine or some derivative in them? Because that stuff rocks!
A pox on the idiots that misused and abused the substance for dieting purposes. Even most of those people were fine, but the few that had pre-existing heart conditions combined with pre-existing ignorance and / or stupidity got themselves in trouble with it. That and, for the conspiracy theorists out there, the fact that a generic and cheap drug was an effective weight loss solution wasn’t doing pharmaceutical companies any good, caused the FDA to ban it.
The fact that I think it may be a crucial ingredient in making crystal meth may have played a factor too, but I’m honestly not sure if it’s in meth or not since I’ve never tried to make any.
So that mix of random cold medicine may or may not make the cold go away quicker, but it does allow me to perform in spite of the illness. And, in the case of the fun and downright creepy chapter I wrote for Vitalis: Genesis last night, it makes me downright productive.
Sadly, writing after a half dozen beers doesn’t do the same thing. I guess I’ll just have to keep experimenting!
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