A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 423: My Wineless Week

Monday, December 10: This is the week I did not drink wine. It really began on Friday when I came back from the Vintages tasting I realized I had a fever and then developed a roaring headache. I had had a flu shot but I guess I contracted a strain that was not covered by the shot (rather like an insurance policy with small print).

It started as a cold with a sore throat and a running nose. I did everything one is supposed to do when one gets flu, drink lots of liquids, none of which involved wine. I was still up and about but feeling miserable. Deborah and I had theatre tickets for the Max Frisch play The Arsonists that evening but I was in no condition to attend. I told Deborah to go without me. My temperature was rising.

Sunday, I went to the walk-in clinic with lots of people like me coughing and looking miserable. The young woman doctor prescribed Tamiflu ($63 for 10 capsules!) and two different puffers. Tamiflu is prescribed for the incipient symptoms of flu but maybe it was too late for me. I spent the rest of the day moaning on the couch. Deborah had her annual book club party and I didn’t want her to miss that. I thought I would be fine alone. My temperature spiked to 103.4°F and I tried everything to bring it down. I even went on the net to see if there were any quick fixes. I found this recipe and God forgive me, in desperation I followed it:

Things You’ll Need

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 tbs. of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 washcloths or handkerchiefs
  • Socks

Separate the yokes from the egg whites carefully and discard the yoke.

Chop the white onion finely and mix the pieces into the egg whites.

Add 1 tbs. of apple cider vinegar and stir gently.

Soak the handkerchiefs or washcloths in the mixture. While a bit messy, you want the cloth to be dripping with the liquid allowing plenty of absorption into the skin. Be sure some of the onion pieces remain on one side of the washcloths or handkerchiefs.

Wrap the washcloths or handkerchiefs around your feet with the onion touching the skin and place socks over the cloths. This natural remedy will quickly pull the temperature down to your feet, where it can do no bodily harm, naturally relieving a fever.

Monitor the fever carefully to watch for changes. Reapply the soaked cloths to the feet if the fever begins to return.

Well, it did bugger all and my wife came home to a condo reeking of apple vinegar, egg shells and yolks everywhere and towels studded with chopped onions.

Monday evening is the AGM for Grapes for Humanity. As President & CEO I am meant to chair it but I was in no condition to get out of bed even. So I asked the Vice President to take the meeting for me. Deborah drove over all the paperwork, reports, etc. All I wanted was chicken soup. I didn’t know the body could produce so much phlegm (horrible word, phlegm; sputum isn’t much better).

Tuesday, December 11: Feeling a little better but still coughing painfully; at least the temperature is down yet still feeling feverish. Did some work on the book but felt exhausted. Hoping I’ll be okay to go to the theatre tomorrow to see Terminus at the Royal Alex. I have no appetite. Deborah has made a huge pot of chicken soup, which is about all I can eat.

Wednesday, December 12: The temperature rose again. So no theatre for me. Somehow managed to write my column for Lexpert on Turkish wines. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to function like a human being. I’m sleeping on the couch because I don’t want my incessant coughing to disturb Deborah. She has me inhaling Vicks in hot water with a towel over my head. It does ease the chest and the Hall’s Mentholyptus honey citrus candies do alleviate my cough for a while. I am also drugging myself with NyQuil since there appears to be no Neo Citran in the city. What’s with that? Are people snorting it? Last week I had booked a session with my chiropractor for my leg injury but I had to cancel. Couldn’t face the manipulation while coughing like a fiend.

Thursday, December 13: Feeling well enough to get back to the book but still weak. Not really eating. I’ve lost eight pounds since this started and haven’t even felt like having a glass of wine. The trade samples are mounting up. Deborah drove me to my doctor, who wanted me to have chest X-ray. He thinks the flu has morphed into pneumonia. He gave me a prescription for Avelox. Still sleeping on the couch, which looks like my bed for the next few days.

Friday, December 14: Still coughing but the fever has gone and the phlegm is clear. Avelox seems to be working. Feeling stronger. Even ate a Thai shrimp curry – the only thing I could taste. Beginning to feel like a glass of wine but I guess I shouldn’t try to compromise the antibiotics.

Saturday, December 15: Took Pinot the Wonderdog for a walk in the park and went grocery shopping at Longo’s. My appetite is slowly coming back, which is a good thing because tonight we are invited to our neighbours’ – Leonard and David – for their annual fund-raising dinner for Interval House. Leonard cooked an amazing seven-course meal for eight of us. The menu:

Roasted pumpkin and pear soup drizzled with white truffle oil

Mango fennel salad with sweet chilli dressing and Boston lettuce

Scallop and braised pork belly with rapini and cider coffee sauce

Parcels of beet wellington served with blueberry cocoa sauce with panko potato stuffed with goat cheese

Nobu miso black cod with baby bok choy and glass Thai noodles and pickled ginger

Roasted Cornish hen scented with kaffir leaves with pandus infused coconut rice and snow pea shoots with pomegranate and cider reduction

Shiraz-poached spiced pears with winter moss

Buddha tea or coffee

A meal few restaurants could duplicate. I ate what I could and had to explain to the chef that what was left on my plate was no reflection on the cuisine. Against my better judgment I had a glass of Pinot Grigio (not regarding medical prohibition but for personal taste reasons) and a glass of Chateau Los Boldos Merlot Vieilles Vignes 2007.

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