What’s your favorite cold remedy?

I’m sick. It kind of snuck up on me. Yesterday I was tired all day and it just got worse. By about 6 I had a full-bore sore throat and I felt ready for bed.
And it all went downhill from there. My girlfriend came over around 8, after her workday ended, and by then I was two tons of fun. Not that I was a jerk, or whiney, or anything. That was the problem: I wasn’t saying anything.

I guess it’s good that it hit on a weekend, since the first day or two is usually the worst. I can’t really afford to miss much work, so I’m going to hit this thing hard.

Zinc lozenges. As soon as I can drag my sorry butt down to the store I’m going to get a couple of packages of these. Nobody knows why they work. I discovered them in college. They work.

Orange juice. My freezer is full of it right now. By the end of the week it won’t be. Vitamin C is your friend.

Raw garlic. Steve DeLassus taught me about this one. Take a clove, cut it up into pill-size pieces, then swallow them like pills. Take with milk to cut down on the aftertaste, or eat a piece of bread afterward.

Chicken soup and anything else steamy. A classmate of my dad’s told me why this works. (It’s a shame it’s next to impossible to find an osteopath in St. Louis.) Our bodies make us miserable because they feel dried out. The body absorbs steam readily, cutting down on its perceived need to handle the problem via other methods. So there really is something to the old adage about chicken soup. Besides the psychological effects.

Hot tea can benefit you as well. Something about tea soothes a sore throat. But caffeine’s bad when you’re trying to rest, so stick to decaf tea.

Rest. I slept 10 hours. I’m going to take another nap here in a bit.

Vitamins, minerals and herbals. Zinc. (The lozenges don’t go through your whole system, so zinc lozenges and zinc tablets aren’t redundant.) Vitamin C. Echinacea. Antioxidants like Vitamin E and Beta Carotene. It’s all about strengthening the immune system and building resistance.

Gargling salt water. My girlfriend mentioned this one. I think my dad used to have me to this, way back when. The body absorbs water that’s slightly saline a lot better than it absorbs plain old tap water. That’s why you use saline solution on contact lenses rather than pure water.

I’ve gargled four times this morning. It seems to be starting to help.

So… Those are my tricks. What works for you?

Treat wrist pain naturally

Do you have a weird pain in your lower arms? Do your wrists tingle? Are your wrists tight? It’s possible to treat wrist pain naturally.

I’ve heard two people describe these things in the past month, now a friend’s written the same thing on his Web site. Of course, my wrists are notorious. They effectively ended my book writing career. Our problems came from typing.

First things first: Make some adjustments. Sit down and put your hands at your keyboard. Lower your chair until your legs make an upside-down L. Now do your arms make an L shape? If not, you absolutely need to get a keyboard drawer and/or another chair. Get one with adjustable armrests so you can support your arms. Rest them on your armrests lightly. Trust me: It’s cheaper than treatment.

Go see your doctor. Make sure he’s not knife-happy. He can recommend wrist supports, splints, and other treatments that help. You should always try that stuff first. The surgery can have side effects. To my way of thinking, it’s better to leave your body how God designed it and try to help it heal itself.

There are no effective drug treatments for repetitive stress injuries, other than painkillers. Talk to your doctor about vitamins.

Check all this stuff that follows out with your doctor first. This was the advice I got from reading several different books, and it worked pretty well for me.

The standard treatment for repetitive stress injuries is vitamin B6. Don’t take more than 200 mg of it a day–that may have harmful side effects. 100-125 mg is a good dosage; it leaves enough leeway that you can still take a multivitamin and/or a B complex, plus whatever small amounts of B6 you get from diet.

B6 works best in the presence of the other B vitamins, so you should also pick up a B complex. Precise dosage doesn’t seem to matter much. I buy whatever B complex I can find and take one capsule.

You can also complement B6 by taking a source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is “good fat,” while Omega-6 is “bad fat.” Omega-3 is used for, among other things, nerve regeneration. The best sources of Omega-3 are fish oil or flaxseed oil. I take 1000 mg of either of them daily. Dietary sources of Omega-3 include eggs from free-range chickens and fatty fish like salmon. But a free-range egg gives you 100 mg. So it would appear that two eggs for breakfast and salmon for lunch and dinner would still leave you a bit short. Plus eating all those eggs will give you other problems. Buy the free-range eggs anyway, because of the improved nutrition over the cheap caged eggs, and eat more salmon, but don’t expect miracles from them.

Some people add 400 mg of magnesium to the mix. Magnesium is an anti-inflammatory.

In addition to the standard-bearers (B6, B complex, Omega-3, Magnesium) I’ve also used alfalfa and MSM. Alfalfa’s a good source of a large number of vitamins and minerals, which is why that works. MSM is also a good anti-inflammatory, and some people believe the body uses MSM to regenerate nerves and other tissues. I don’t think anyone totally understands how or why MSM works. The first bottle of MSM I got billed it as a natural painkiller, and while its effect wasn’t like, say, aspirin, it did seem to calm down the nerve that RSI irritates.

As far as exercise, there are stretches your doctor should be able to show you. A friend I know who’s a physical trainer says the first thing you should do any time you feel pain is to figure out what hurts, then do the opposite. I used to keep a baseball bat next to my computer. When I’d tighten up, I’d take the bat, walk into an open area, and swing the bat around for a while. If you swing the bat with proper technique, where you rotate your wrists and at the end of the swing your right hand is actually out front (or your left hand, if you bat left-handed), you’ll loosen your wrists up pretty quickly. People gave me funny looks when they saw the bat next to the computer, and funny looks when they saw me swinging a bat in the hallway or in the living room, but it helped. Find an exercise that tends to make your wrists pop. It’ll help.

Supplements help ailing wrists

Wednesday, 6/14/00
Supplement attacks… The alfalfa continues to help (my right arm is better, in some regards, than it’s been since I popped my elbow trying to throw fastballs in the lower 90s some 10 years ago). Time to ship a big bottle of this stuff to Jose Rosado, to see if it can help his ailing left shoulder so he can come back and help the Royals’ atrocious pitching.

I also added a trio of fatty acids, after Chris Ward-Johnson suggested them. Two of them come from fish oil, the source of the third I can’t remember offhand, but they made sense, since they’re all used not only for inflammation, but also for heart health (since my dad died at 51 of a heart attack, I watch that) and for healthy skin. If something helps three conditions I have, it sounds reasonable that I should take it–by my logic, that sounds like a good indication of a deficiency. I know more about DEC VAX mainframes than I know about these supplements, but I’m learning.

And my chiropractor is impressed with my progress.

When’s comeback time? Hard to say. The new book has to take priority once I’m physically capable of typing in large quantities again. I’ll probably use my small-quantity typing energies to resume editing. Expect me to be more of an Occasionalnoter than a Daynoter for a good while.

Read this if you have an Iomega drive of any sort. More reports of Jaz/Zip problems here. Whether Steve Gibson’s TIP will help is hard to say. But at any rate, I’ve entrusted data to an Iomega product for the last time… Count on it.

‘Scuse me while I go pawn my Zip drive and disks.

Nursing my wrists back to health

Friday, 6/9/00
Dave here… Not back for good yet, but I’m much better today. Thanks go out to all of my well-wishers.

As for treatment… The combination of chiropractics, vitamins and alfalfa seems to be working. My conventional doctors would be aghast, but this stuff’s working, whereas they weren’t interested in listening to what was going on, so until I succeed in finding a local general practitioner who’s interested in listening to patients, I’ll stay this course.

I’m currently on massive doses of alfalfa, which makes me “a freaky hippie vegetarian type who takes it in pill form because he’s too lazy to chew food,” in the opinion of one Tim Coleman. (This–or something very much like it–he said after he asked if I chew my own cud.) Chlorophyl helps joints and cartilige, supposedly, and alfalfa is also rich in a chemical called MSM that according to many sources I’ve found has numerous healing properties. Alfalfa is also reported to be very good at de-toxing the body.

I don’t care so much how it works as much as that it does work. Seeing as it takes an act of Congress to get in to see my regular doctor and he doesn’t have anything useful to say anyway, and a bottle of alfalfa costs $4, I’ll take that route and keep seeing my chiropractor. We’ll know on Monday when he hits me again with the ultrasound how things are going. The less it hurts, the better off I am.

In addition to finding out about alfalfa, my research seems to indicate I’m deficient in magnesium, potasium, and fatty acids (whatever those are). But I’m mostly interested in solving the typing problem. Leg cramps and premature gray hair aren’t keeping me from writing books, after all.

Besides the alfalfa, I’m also on Vitamins E, B complex, and extra vitamin B6. I’ve been on B6 for about a month; the others for a little over a week I think.

Well, I should be in absolute agony by now, but I’m not. I’m going to back off now, though. Your first move after stepping out of the wheelchair shouldn’t be to run the Boston Marathon.

Important disclaimer: I claim to know absolutely nothing about why any of this stuff works and whether it would be suitable for anything. Yes, so my dad, grandfather, and grandmother were all doctors. They knew the human body inside and out and knew nothing about computers. I know computers inside and out and know nothing about the human body, other than that I’ve got one.