Saturday, February 27, 2010

A stinking cold!

I have a stinking cold! It really is a cold, I am convinced and not hay-fever.

It came on overnight and last night I wasn't sure. But this morning I checked and The Splodge was nearly invisible. And tonight it felt as if I was getting the shivers. So I had the pleasure of having redbush tea for breakfast and another cup tonight. Both cups made me a feel a lot better

A funny week. I've switched back to buying cheap, dark chocolate. In fact we came back with eight bars of it from the supermarket - that's a lot. The advantage is that I eat less of it than of dairy milk - which is far too addictive and fattening.

However my teeth and mouth have not been happy. Soreness around the jaw and an ulcer in the mouth. My dentist would say it's a return of gum disease and I did swill my mouth with salt water a couple of times, especially when my left wisdom tooth seemed to get sore. Is that the dark chocolate or the sugar in the dark chocolate? Maybe both.

I'm a little worried my immune system seems to be swinging from one extreme to another - from over-reacting to succumbing fast to a cold virus.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

The search for shampoo

Someone gave me a pack of Nivea "sensitive" products for Christmas. It's taken me a long time to report on them as it's taken me a long time to test them.

That's not quite true. There is a shaving cream, which is just fine. It's main plant ingredient is chamomile, which we know is okay, and some palm oil product.

So I have been thinking that Nivea might have solved the problem and produced a range of salicylate free bathroom goods.

This week I tried the shower gel. It seemed okay. The Splodge, which was The Ring, did not flare up. But in the light of day I have just checked the ingredients, which are written in incredibly small print. They are radically different from the shaving cream and include sodium salicylate, citric acid and I suspect quite a lot of coconut oil.

So why no reaction? If you remember the Imperial Leather test, that particular product is choc-a-bloc with salicylate, and long before I knew anything about this problem it used to leave me bright red and scorched after a shower.

As stated earlier we do have cold viruses around so my immune system may be a little low this week. And until my encounter with the Tandoori prawns I had been successfully observing a salicylate-free life. Perhaps I will try a little again sometime.

Some advice to manufacturers: you are not "sensitive" if you include salicylates; nor are you "sensitive" if you write your ingredients in tiny print.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Tandoori and curry

In my search to make salicylate-free curry, I recently tried to find tandoori spice in our local supermarket, which serves an ethnically mixed population. No luck!

Finally last night I found myself in curry house eating with friends. My main course was chicken and chips, no spice, no curry. And I had forgotten to take any montelukast.

When it came to starters there were a number of tandoori choices. Time to give it a go, I thought. So I selected tandoori king prawns. Only two came on the plate. They were okay but pretty insubstantial..

No obvious or immediate consequences. We've had cold viruses around all week and I may have one. As always it's impossible to tell except by measuring The Splodge, which has been quite pale. So that may have helped prevent reactions.

Was it my imagination or were my lips strangely blue last night? I've just checked again and now they are red - they were definitely oddly blue last night.

I've now checked Wikipedia, which is the fount of all knowledge, and it turns out that "Tandoori" is not a specific spice at all. It is a method of cooking.

So what on earth is "tandori spice powder" (sic) doing on my diet list? Wikipedia goes on to explain that tandoori chicken is marinated in  "garam masala, garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne pepper, and other spices depending on the recipe. Cayenne, red chili powder, or other spices give the typical red color. Turmeric produces a yellow-orange color."

Presumably at some point a biochemist picked up a vial containing something called "tandori spice powder". But what was in it?

No wonder my lips turned blue and I spent half the night in the bathroom.

This is all very sad -  as it seems to put paid to my hopes of ever eating curry again.


Monday, February 08, 2010


Someone slipped  me a caffeinated coffee today. It appeared in front of me when I wasn't looking and I didn't think to check before I downed half of it.

I know it was caffeinated because
a) I've been buzzing round like a honey-bee all day;
b) my left eye became sore and painful and my tongue swelled.

It may have helped shake off the last of the flu-like virus. I haven't felt so stiff and sore today. However tonight the temperature's plummeting - and as I sit shivering that makes it hard to know whether it's me or the drop in temperature.


Sunday, February 07, 2010

Flu scare!

I am reluctantly concluding that I may really have flu this week. If so I've made a hash of it.

It started with a sneeze on Monday and by Monday evening I was getting shooting pains somewhere between the lungs and stomach. Then my shoulders got stiffer and stiffer. Now the aching is running all round my back and I've lost my appetite. On top of that my body seems to want more and more sleep - and even when I've had enough sleep I've been dozy. But there's been no obvious fever. And although I've had a snuffle all week there's not been any obvious coughing. And there's nothing new about a persistent snuffle.

I had a good walk yesterday and was then in bed by about 9pm. I slept through to 9am with one interruption but still felt rotten this morning. Maybe the result of too much sleep?

When it started happening I took montelukast for a couple of days. I thought someone had probably fed me caffeinated coffee rather than decaf. I don't suppose there's any official guidance on taking montelukast during flu but it seems to me it must be the worst possible thing - as it dampens down the immune system. I wonder whether that explains the absence of fever?

So this morning I had my old friend redbush tea for breakfast. It didn't make me feel any better, not nearly as refreshing as it normally is. The Splodge, which used to be The Ring, is still quite faint so that suggests the immune system is a little weak. I've got a swelling in my throat now - but I don't know if that was the redbush or if it's a virus. How can I tell?

I've just used the NHS Direct symptom checker. Its conclusion is "flu-like illness or swine flu". That sounds right, although I think the symptom-checker was confused by the absence of fever. I hope it's right because otherwise all these symptoms could be quite disturbing.