The wisdom tooth story so far

**Warning: If you have a problem with reading about blood and pain, now would be a good time to stop! You can come back another day when I write about less gory topics. Also, this is going to be a summary of 3.5 days, so it may get rather long. Now no saying I didn’t warn you!**

Day 1 (surgery day)

I got up bright and early to eat a bowl of Fruit & Nut Weetabix… who knew when I would feel like eating again? I wasn’t sure whether I would actually be able to finish the bowl, but at this point I wasn’t too nervous (surprisingly) and I actually managed to eat them all. I also drank two glasses of water – I was thirsty! Jan had taken the morning off so I wouldn’t have to come home from my appointment alone, so we set off together. The waiting room was much less full than it had been when I went for the consultation (probably because it was so early!) and my turn came fairly soon.

Jan came in with me for the initial “do you have any questions?” to make sure I understood everything, then left while they did the actual surgery. I had taken my earphones along so I could listen to music while the teeth were being removed, but I totally forgot to get my BlackBerry out of my bag. However, to be honest I don’t think I’d even have been able to hear the music over the sound of the implements. One tooth was almost completely sideways ad the other was slightly angled so this was not a case of simple pulling. There was cutting and loud, loud drilling. Not pleasant! It was over fairly quickly though.

Once the operation was done, the dentist shoved a piece of gauze on each wound and told me to bite down on them… except I couldn’t because my mouth was completely numb and I had no idea whether I was biting down or not! My bottom lip felt like it was huge and possibly made of rubber! Totally bizarre. I was given two cold gel packs and taken for an x-ray, then sent to wait for a bit while my prescription and things were prepared. After a few minutes, my name was called and I was given a sick note for two days (after that was the weekend), a prescription for Ibuprofen and a follow-up appointment so the surgeon could check the wounds. Then we were on our way. Even though I’d only had a local anaesthetic and no sedatives or anything, I felt kind of out of it (I guess not being able to feel half your face will do that?) so I was very glad Jan was with me. I also couldn’t talk at all… partly because my mouth was full of gauze, but also because I had no control over my numb tongue.

I had been told I could take the gauze out when I got home, so I did. It turned out I was still bleeding though (my top became a victim of the great wisdom tooth removal of 2012 when I drooled blood all over it without realizing), so Jan went to the chemist and bought me more gauze. I spent the next few hours biting down on that without the bleeding stopping then half an hour without any gauze to see if the bleeding would stop by itself. I then tried more gauze, leaving it in for about 2 hours then finally gave up and decided to let it bleed. The sheet I was given told me to contact the surgery if the bleeding didn’t stop or was very strong (which it wasn’t) but didn’t say at which point it would be considered “not stopping”, so I turned to Dr. Google, which seemed to think I should contact my dentist if I was still bleeding after 24 hours. Since I had my follow-up appointment the next day, I decidednot to worry too much. The bleeding seemed to have pretty much stopped by 10 p.m.

I was told not to eat or drink anything until the anaesthetic had worn off, but the sides of my mouth started to hurt a lot before the feeling was totally back in my lips, so I decided to ignore that and have a painkiller – which involved drinking water. Swallowing hurt!! Between that and the yukky taste of blood, I really didn’t feel like eating or drinking that day. I tried to take the occasionally mouthful of water (accompanied by cries of ow, ow, ow!) and basically spent the entire day wrapped in a blanket in front of the TV with either a cool gel pad or an ice pack wrapped in a t-shirt shoved on the side of my face. After Jan came home, I wanted to take another pain killer but decided I’d better at least try to get something in my stomach first. I sipped a smoothie and managed to drink the equivalent of about a mouthful… in 20 minutes! Then I took my painkiller. The instructions from the surgery said to resume oral hygiene as soon as possible, so before bed I tried to brush my teeth… very difficult considering I could barely open my mouth! I also wasn’t supposed to spit, so I had to kind of let stuff trickle out into the sink. Rinsing the extraction sites was off the cards for 24 hours too, so I made sure my rinsing water only hit the teeth. Not easy! Between my painkiller and an icepack, I was able to sleep for about half an hour, then Jan came in with two gel pads and a teatowel, which he proceeded to use to strap the gel pads to my face. I then fell alseep for 2 hours, until a mixture of pain and the teatowel falling off woke me at 5 a.m. I went and fetched a cold ice pack and after a while drifted off again.

Day 2

Hamster duitama
At least hamsters are cute! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I hadn’t had my follow-up appointment, I probably wouldn’t have bothered getting dressed at all on Friday. But I did have the appointment, so I was up, showered and dressed bright and early (8 am appointment). By this stage, I looked like a hamster and it seemed something had started bleeding again overnight. Needless to say, I did not feel like eating! My appointment was at 8 and I was out of the surgery by 10 past! I told the doctor about the bleeding, and he said it was normally for some blood to seep through for the first few days. He then had a look in my mouth and said he could see it really was just seeping and not proper bleeding, so all was good. Also the wounds looked to be healing well. I was told to keep cooling, make an appointment for next Thursday to get the stitches out and sent on my way.

Back home I changed back into my pyjamas and went to lie down for a bit. I hadn’t picked up my prescription the day before because we had non-prescription Ibuprofen at home and had decided I should try with that first (Jan didn’t want even more medicines lying around), but now I decided I wanted the stronger one so I hopefully wouldn’t have to take pills as often (swallowing still hurt!). Once the chemist’s opened, Jan went and picked up my new painkillers for me then went to work. I managed to sleep for about half an hour then, during a roughly ten minute period where swallowing was merely uncomfortable, I ate two or three spoonfuls of icecream… my first food in over 4 hours! After the icecream, I took the advice of the Internet and my mother and did a warm salt water rinse. I wasn’t sure whether I was allowed to rinse properly yet, so I did it very gently, tilting my head to the sides to get water into the corners where it was needed. I’m still not sure how much salt water actually made it to the wounds, but I tried! Later, after lots more TV watching, I tried some more ice cream and when Jan came home he made pumpkin soup (from a packet). I had to request a teaspoon in place of the normal one he had given me and the wound on the left still killed with every swallow, but I managed half the bowl before given up. Shortly after, I went and brushed my teeth and went to bed – eating was exhausting!

Day 3

Curried carrot and bean soup (not from this week!)
Curried carrot and bean soup (not from this week!)

I was woken up by pain at around 8, so I took a painkiller and pressed an ice pack to my face while I waited for it to work. Jan had an extra choir practice in preparation for today’s concert, so he went out fairly early, after bringing me a fresh ice pack and a glass of water. I didn’t manage to fall back to sleep, but stayed in bed for a while reading. Eventually I found the energy to go to the kitchen and fecth some ice cream – the one bright side of this whole ordeal is that nobody can judge me for having ice cream for breakfast! By now the bleeding had stopped completely and I was able to enjoy my food without the taste of blood. Well, as much as one can enjoy food while swallowing still hurts! Today, it was the wound on the right that hurt when I swallowed. I was also convinced that every swallow pulled the wound apart again, which made me even more terrified to try. But I discovered that by holding either a gel pad or flannel to that cheek, I was able to ease the pain somewhat. I watched two episodes of How I Met Your Mother then read some of my book. Jan came home at around 12 and made more soup. This time I maanged to finish the bowl! Woo hoo! The afternoon was spent watching TV, following the live text for the Newcastle match (we won!) and reading – all while holding cold things to my cheeks. At 6 the pain was bad again, so I took another Ibuprofen. Later, Jan made more soup, this time cream of tomato from a tin. He put a few small pieces of bread in it, and I managed to eat both them and half the soup before giving up and letting Jan have the rest. It was just too painful! When it came to brushing my teeth, I realised the swelling must have gone down because getting the toothbrush in was much easier! I also had a bright idea… on the sheet from the dentist, it said I could brush with a soft toothbrush or use a “Q-Tip” (they actually wrote that… in a German sentence?!) with disifectant to clean my teeth. So I decided to soak a cotton bud (“Q-Tip”) in mouth wash and use that to rub those teeth I could reach. The bud came back with dried blood on it, so it must have worked at least somewhat. It hadn’t been enough hours since my last Ibuprofen to take another strong one, so before bed Jan gave me one of the 400 mg (non-prescription) ones that I had bought from the chemist when I originally had toothache. I managed four hours of sleep in a row for the first time since this whole ordeal started (including the toothache days before the op)!

Day 4 – today

I woke up at 8 am in pain and ended up getting up at 8:30 because it would not go away! Tried a saltwater rinse, which helped a little, but at 9 I resorted to painkillers. The good news is that today I’m back to toothache levels of pain instead of the post-op, death by wisdom teeth pain. Swallowing still hutst on the left and I still feel like the wound is going to reopen, but I’m probably just being paranoid. Three spoonfuls is still the most I can manage before I think “I need to stop eating right now before the entire left-hand side of my face splits open!), but it’s better than nothing. I’m still swollen, but nowhere near as much and I can open my mouth wider than I could last night. So now my plan is to have a shower and actually get out of my PJs while the painkillers are still doing their job! Officially, I’m back at work tomorrow. We’ll see how today goes.

And if you’ve actually read this far, you deserve a reward! So here are some photos of me looking like a hamster(/squirrel/chipmunk… feel free to insert your favourite big-cheeked animal). Please excuse the quality of the pictures – they were taken with my BlackBerry!

Day 2
Day 2
Day 3
Day 3

This morning, I went to the dentist…

Kawaii Tooth
I inserted this picture purely because it’s cute… (Photo credit: Jenn and Tony Bot)

Yesterday, I woke up with a slight dull ache in the bottom corner of my mouth. It didn’t feel like it was on a tooth, so I figured I had managed to bite the bottom of cheek somehow (I bite the inside of my mouth a lot!) and thought nothing of it, at least until yesterday evening when the pain got worse… and worse. It started getting really painful on the train, and by the time I got home I wanted to cry. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option, so I tried rinsing my mouth out with warm salt water (tastes disgusting but works amazingly well on mouth ulcers!). It felt slightly better while I was rinsing, but as soon as a spat out the water, the pain came back as bad as ever. Woe, woe, woe, etc. By now the pain was spread, and I was no longer certain whether it was actually the corner of my gum, or a tooth after all.  So I called Jan and told him I wouldn’t be able to do any cooking because a) I had at least an hour of extra work to do if things were going to be finished in time  and b) my mouth was in PAIN! Jan asked if I would want to eat at all if my mouth was sore, and I replied maybe some soup. Then he suggested driking some of the cold water he had put in the fridge to see if that would numb it a bit and volunteered to grab some tins of soup on the way home. Miraculously, the cold water did help a bit (if only for a few minutes at a time) and I was able to do my work without being distracted by pain too much. Shortly before Jan came home, I decided to take an Ibuprofen in the hope that it would kick in before bedtime and allow me to get to sleep…

tomato soup
My soup wasn’t this pretty (Photo credit: sassyradish)

The Ibuprofen started working shortly before we ate, and I was able to consume a bowl of soup and two slices of bread (bread soaked in soup for aaages so it wouldn’t require chewing), then I went to bed. I managed to sleep off and on, with some discomfort, until about 1 a.m. when I woke up in pain again. After tossing and turning for an hour, I went and took another Ibuprofen then lay awake for what seemed like forever waiting for it to kick in. It must have eventually though, because the next thing I knew my alarm was going off.

I had hoped to feel better this morning, but the pain was still there (although not as bad as the night before) and I also noticed I couldn’t open my mouth as wide as usual, so I heaved the greatest of sighs and decided I would have to go to the dentist. Not a good time for it because my colleague is ill and there are only two of us (hence the overtime last night), but there was nothing I could do. Nobody was at work yet, so I logged on and sent an e-mail saying I would work from home and go see a dentist as soon as I (hopefully) got an appointment. Knowing my utter terror of the phone, Jan called his dentist for me and got me an appointment for 10:15. He had to travel elsewhere for work today, so I had to go to the appointment alone…

An image from 1300s (A.D.) England depicting a...
At least my teeth won’t be extracted like this… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Luckily, the dentist was nice and (the part I was more worried about than the dentist itself), I was able to explain what was wrong and understand what he told me. Apparantly, the wisdom tooth is coming through (so basically I’m teething at thirty!), and there isn’t really enough room for it plus it seems to be coming in at an angle… which is a bad thing. So he said he was going to give me a referral to a “Kieferchirurgen” (literally a “jaw surgeon!” – orthodontist, I presume…) so I could get my jaw x-rayed and figure out what to do next. He also said the fact that my mouth wouldn’t open properly was not right, but that could also be caused by the wisdom tooth. Later, when I got my referral, I saw that he had written on it that I need a consultation due to “restricted opening of mouth” (terrible attempt to translate from the German that, but I’m sure you know what I mean). He also gave me a recommendation for a Kiefer-thingy practice. So now I need to make an appointment with said jaw doctor… I actually tried calling a couple of times today, hetting myself all psyched up each time only for the phone to be engaged! SO eventually I decided to give the contact form on their website a go instead. So now, I wait… and take more Ibuprofen, I guess.

One thing is certain… I am going to this wine festival on Saturday even if I have to drink grape juice all day!

**Update: The “Kiefer” practice called me back! I have an appointment for consultation on Tuesday morning, first one available… to get one after work I would have had to wait til the week after next! The woman on the phone seemed nice, so hopefully it won’t be too bad**

Quick update

I’m fiiiinally back from England, so here’s just a quick review of the past week. Moredetailed posts will follow once I get myself sorted…

  • The flight to England was pretty uneventful… once I actually got on it! Jan decided as we were about to board that he felt too ill to fly, so we had to go and have the suitcase transferred into his name. While the girl from the airline was sorting that out he asked for a doctor!! So I flew alone and he was taken to hospital for blood tests and things.
  • The christening was lovely, and I am now officially a godmother! I got a little certificate and everything.
  • My mam’s birthday meal was a great night. Delicious food and I saw a few family members who I hadn’t seen in a while.
  • The flight back to Amsterday was fine… a tiny bit of turbulence, but not enough for the fasten seatbelt fine to be switched on. Then I landed in Amsterdam, went to check my gate number for the connecting flight and discovered it was cancelled! I managed to get rebooked onto the Stuttgart flight – taking the very last flight on the plane!! Unfortunately, my suitcase didn’t make the transfer and is currently in Amsterdam waiting to be sent on to me! I hope it actually turns up, because the cross stitch I’ve been working on is in there!! Along with all my birthday presents…
  • Jan is feeling much better now… he was sent home from hospital on Tuesday and the pain in his stomach only reappears when he walks around too much. But the doctors still have no idea what’s wrong with him! Come on docs… it’s been over a week!!

That’s all for now. I need to go and take a cold shower!! I barely slept last night because the bedroom was so hot… and the temperature is set to increase today! Oh the joy…

Things I learned over the weekend

  • This image shows a whole and a cut lemon.
    Lemons… becasue Zemanta has no pictures of Lemsip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    I am not as unfit as I think I am! And I can walk up hills if I have to.

  • If you go hiking with a blocked nose, after a while it will start to run instead.
  • However, within a couple of hours of returning from the hike, your cold will return with a vengeance.
  • Lemsip is amazing!! Actually, I knew that already but it bears repeating.
  • The pain from blisters is much worse than post-hike muscle ache!
  • Chocolate and cherry brownies are DELICIOUS! (Recipe to come)
  • The people I come in to contact with have no idea how I feel when meeting new people. Which I guess means I do a good enough job of acting “normal” (whatever that is…).

I have to go to the Irish pub now to see the owner – he asked us to come in some time this week, I assume to get some Ireland tips – so that’s all you’re getting today. Next post will be longer, promise!

Friday letters (the illness edition)

I am so glad that it’s Friday! This has definitely not been my favourite week ever, and all I currently want is to have my boyfriend home again. And to sleep. I’m ridiculously tired right now! Also, for the first time in a very long time, I’m wishing my weekend away. I never thought I would say this, but I just want it to be Monday already! Anyway, here are my Friday letters. The subject matter may be a little monotonous this week…

You've got..
You’ve got.. (Photo credit: macca)

Dear boyfriend. I’m so happy that you’re on the mend. Now hurry home so I can feed you delicious, nourishing soup (aka covering from illness food) and keep an eye on you! P.S. Happy Birthday! I hope you manage to have a somewhat nice time, despite everything… I seriously hope the doctors give the OK for you to come home on Monday!

Dear boyfriend’s colleague. I’m not even sure which of you I should be thanking, but Jan’s mum told me you were planning to stay on in Turkey until Monday to carry his luggage for him. I hope he is appropriately grateful to you (at least as grateful as I am)! I had been seriously concerned about how he was going to manage that.

Dear Facebook friends (who I allowed to see my status). Thank you for all your messages of support, well wishes, etc. It’s good to see how many people out there care about me (or Jan, as the case may be…)

Thank you
Photo credit: Avard Woolaver

Dear sister. You saw my Facebook status and immediately contacted our dad, who then called me. I hadn’t had a chance to contact him yet and I was so glad to hear from him! We may fight occasionally whenever we’re forced to spend more than two days together, but when it counts you’re an amazing sister.

Dear readers. While I’m on a thanking spree, I want you to know that I appreciate every single one of your comments/reassurances/well wishes. I have the best readers in the blogosphere!

Dear teenagers on the train. 1. Wearing your caps backward and your jeans so far down your backsides that you could only walk with wide-open legs to stop them falling down does not make you cool. 2. Nobody wants to hear your awful “hip hop” music at 7:30 a.m. 3. Please take a shower – you stink!!

Dear sleep. We’ve spent far too little time together this week. And waking up at 3 in the morning from a dream in which I’d it was 8 a.m. and I’d completely slept through my alarm was no fun whatsoever. Please come back soon – I miss you!

Dear readers (again). Specifically, those of you who mentioned knowing someone who’s had an appendectomy. I have a question. How long was it before they were able to do normal things again? I ask because my grandparents are going to be in Germany at Easter. They’ll be staying about 2 and a half hours away, and we were supposed to drive up and meet them. If Jan can’t drive, we can’t go. So I’m wondering whether to cancel on them or not? At this point, they may still be able to cancel if seeing us was the most important part for them…

That’s all from me this week. I’m too tired to think of any more letters. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Photobucket

Down with salads!

yuck

After consuming an entire packet of biscuits all by myself on Sunday, on Monday it was time to resume my healthy eating plan. New week, new start and all that.

I had bought a cheese and ham salad from Aldi that I was quite excited about. It’s very unusual for a salad to contain no ingredients that I won’t eat, but this one had managed it. No cucumber, no pepper, no boiled eggs. Cherry tomatoes (good!) rather than ordinary tomatoes (I only like them when they’re cooked). It should have been the perfect Bevchen salad… except it wasn’t.

The grated carrots were mushy, half the croutons were soft and I found one hard piece each of ham and cheese (those went straight in the bin!). Even the bits of ham that weren’t hard didn’t taste particularly nice, and I ended up feeling slightly sick. On the bright side, that meant I didn’t want anything else to eat for the rest of the afternoon (a good thing because I didn’t have anything else with me… and by the time I’d forced down the salad my lunch break was over).

In future, I’m sticking with the biscuits!

 

Brief update on Jan: He has to stay in Turkey until Monday as he won’t be safe to fly until then. I suspected that this would be the case despite his initally assuring me that he should be able to fly home with the rest of them. Major disappointment, but better than him flying when it’s not safe.

And on an entirely unrelated note, how and why did two people manage to find my blog by searching for “girls playing with noose”? Should I be worried?…

An update on the appendix situation

Thank you all for your lovely comments on yesterday’s post. After speaking to Jan last night, I was reassured that everything is looking good. He told me the surgery went well, and at the time I spoke to him he’d just started being able to feel his legs again as the general anaesthetic wore off. The downside, of course, was that he could also feel the pain from the surgery. He wasn’t allowed to eat yesterday, but today he was to be allowed soup and, if that went well, tomorrow he’ll be allowed solid foods. All going well, he will be allowed to take his original flight back with his colleagues. I’m hoping like mad that that’s the case – I don’t like to think of him on his own on a later flight having been so ill! With his colleagues around, some of whom I actually know, I feel like he’ll at least be in good hands.

little poo
little poo (Photo credit: roboppy)

On a (slightly) lighter note, after Jan informed me that he was going to have his appendix out, I googled appendicitis – as you do (or as I do anyway) – and found it that it’s caused by an infection or, more commonly, a blockage. The NHS websitte says “Some cases of appendicitis are thought to be caused by a small piece of faeces getting trapped in your appendix and causing a blockage. Bacteria in the appendix then start to multiply, causing it to fill up with pus and swell.” Other causes of the blockage include inflammatory bowel disease, such as Chron’s disease, and ulceritive colitis. Since Jan has neither of those, the most likely cause for him is probably the first one. So my boyfriend is in hospital because he got a bit of pooh in his appendix! At least a small source of amusement in amongst all the worry. (Yes, I find pooh funny… I may, in fact, be a five-year-old boy…)

I am writing this from work (but having finished working for the day, so I’m not doing anything naughty ;-)) and am about to go out for a meal with my colleagues. One less evening alone, and that much closer to having my boyfriend back home with me and I “have living, walking proof he’s all in one piece again” to quote The Pink Rachael, whose comment yesterday was absolutely spot on!

“Interesting news”

May You Live in Interesting TimesThis afternoon, just as I was thinking about stopping work and lunch, my mobile phone rang. My initial reaction was confusion. Who could be calling me? Hardly anyone calls me, and especially not while I’m at work. Then, on taking the phone out of my bag and seeing my boyfriend’s name on the screen, I started to worry. Jan does occasionally call me during the day, but he’s currently in Turkey, where he’s supposed to be watching presentations and such. I wasn’t expecting to hear from him until tonight – his presentation was supposed to be today and he usually calls to tell me how it went.

I answered the phone, and his first words were “I have interesting news.” Turns out he’d had a stomach ache on the flight over, on Monday it got so bad that he went to see a doctor, and he was calling my yesterday from the hospital where he was about to have his appendix removed. This is what my boyfriend calls interesting news?!

worried square
worried square (Photo: cathredfern)

Knowing that 1) He had a good translator with him who was taking care of all the insurance-related stuff and 2) The appendix hadn’t ruptured and only a small cut would be needed did nothing to alleviate my worry. He was still in hospital. In Turkey. And I had absolutely no way of knowing what was going on. He promised to call me again as soon as he could after the operation, then hung up so he could phone his mum. It’s a good job I didn’t have much work to do in the afternoon because my concentration level was roughly zero!

At 2 p.m. I received a text message:

Appendix is out. Went well. Gonna get some sleep now. I love you.

Panic over. Or at least reduced. I still wish he wasn’t in Turkey though.

Oh, just go away (no, not you dear readers!)

My cough has almost gone.
The key word in the above sentence is almost. I am now able to go hours at a time without coughing. I can fall asleep at night and actually stay asleep. My throat no longer feels like someone’s been at it with a cheese grater thanks to being constantly attacked.  These are all good things, of course. But I am out of cough medicine and I am still not entirely free of the dreaded tickle in my throat.

Cough and the Common Cold
I wish MY cough was as cute as this one! – Cough and the Common Cold (Photo credit: RobertFrancis)

The other day, I had a coughing fit on the train. I’m talking the full works here – tickle in the throat that would not go away, check. Red face, check. Tears streaming from my eyes, check. Runny nose (caused by said tears), check. Oh yes, I was a sight to behold. And I didn’t even have any water on me to attempt to soothe my poor throat (I now have a large bottle of water in my work bag – lesson learned!). When I told this story to the boyfriend, I finished it with the words “it was so embarrassing”. “Why would that be embarrassing?” he asked. Well, it could just have had something to do with me having wrenched a dozen commuters away from their books/dreams of tonight’s meal/whatever with my racket and I could feel all their eyes on me. Not to mention the fact that I looked like some kind of red-faced, watery eyed freak. Not exactly how I want to appear to a bunch of complete strangers. But what could possibly be embarrassing about that? Hmm, I wonder… I then arrived home and had another coughing fit, which almost made me throw up on my living room floor. Hmm, nice.

 

Dear cough, I am definitely over you now, so please do us both a favour and GET LOST!

 

Real medicine!

♪ Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme  ♪
♪ Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme ♪ (Photo credit: Jill Clardy)

After an entire week of trying the German solution to colds – basically lots of hot drinks and throat sweets made with natural ingredients like sage (just add some onion and you could call me a Christmas turkey!) – and feeling absolutely no better and if anything slightly worse, I finally caved and sent the boyfriend out to get me some real medicine. I mean, I’m sure the tea drinking thing would have cured my cold eventually (if only because my immune system finally won the battle) but when I’m ill I want medicine, not parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme! (Actually, only sage and thyme were included in my many “natural” remedies but I couldn’t resist gettng that in there).

After some searching on the Internet (not sure why it took me 6 years to think of it?!), I discovered that Germany does sell a hot drink that contains actual medicine, like paracetamol and some other stuff that I can neither spell nor pronounce but basically one thing to help with coughs plus something to clear the nose. It’s called Cetebe – for those of you who speak German, it’s pronounced like the letters c, t, b auf Deutsch, as the boyfriend informed me after my failed attempt to say it. Cetebe also do other products, such as some capsules to help the immune system. The cold powder stuff is called antiGrippal. So, fellow British expats in Germany, if you ever find yourself in the grips of cold/flu and don’t have any Lemsip/Beechams cold and flu powder, this is what you need to look out for! As is usual with anything that contains even the merest hint of something that is actually medicinal and not something that is actually meant for cooking with, it’s “Apothekenpflichtig” (i.e. can only be bought at pharmacies).

Apart from Cebete, the other thing I asked the boyfriend to purchase for me was cough medicine. The one I still had from last time I had a cough was out of date, plus it was not from the chemist and therefore again contained no actual medicine – the active ingredient in that particular one is Spitzwegerich (ribwort in English apparantly – not that the translation helps, I’ve still never heard of it!), which I cannot stand the taste of! Not that cough medicines in England taste particularly nice, but I can put up with the horridness if I know there is actual medicine in that is going to make me feel better! So I got Jan to buy me some medicine from the chemist’s. It doesn’t taste all that nice, but it isn’t awful either.

I can’t say the medicines worked instantly, but it’s not like I was expecting them to! But within an hour I had a throat that only hurt when I swallowed, eather than constantly, my coughing fits had become less frquent and I was coughing for shorter stretches at a time and, for the first time in days, my nose was clear enough for me to be able to taste. Woo hoo! I celebrated by making myself a cheese toastie. After being woken up by a coughing fit at 6 o’clock this morning, I got out of bed, took my medicine and then actually managed to fall back to sleep until 11 (I know, sooo lazy! But it is Sunday and I am still ill, albeit recovering). And today even the boyfriend has commented that he hasn’t heard me cough as much. Real medicine! You can’t beat it.

So remember, if you’re ever feeling coldy/fluey in Germany and find yourself wishing for Lemsip, the equivalent is called Cetebe.