Monday, March 08, 2010

Self-diagnostics, self-medication

I don't get sick very often. Actually, with the filtered-air, bright-light factory environment I work in, I (almost) don't get sick at all anymore,* at least on my on-shift.

One way that I know I am getting sick: the number of typos I make while writing increases dramatically, even if I feel otherwise fine. Whenever I see this happening, I can usually knock it down with a little home remedy - equal parts lemon, whiskey, and honey. Taken at the first onset of symptoms, it will often prevent development of a full-blown cold. And to be clear: we're talking a LOT of lemon, a LOT of whiskey, and a LOT of honey here, maybe three or four fluid ounces each in each dose. Combine the lemon (lemon juice is fine, but cut-up fresh lemons are much better) and honey and microwave until they are hot, then add the whiskey. (Don't add it before you heat it or the alcohol in the whiskey may begin to evaporate away.) When I was in Ireland a friend made a similar drink called a "hot whiskey", but studded the lemon with cloves. The cloves add a delicious dimension to the drink.

I can measure work-induced fatigue in a similar way. On the days that I am working, my ability to play Scrabble suffers dramatically.** Usually my brain can only manage to assemble three- or four-letter words. On my off-shift days, I am able to more clearly access the concordance of words I have experienced in my life, so I have a larger selection of Scrabble possibilities to choose from. Not that I don't get my ass kicked fairly regularly by certain players even on my off-shift days.

Unfortunately, the lemon, whiskey, and honey remedy does not help to correct work-induced fatigue, and is specifically disallowed on my working days. Add to that the fact that I don't particularly like whiskey***, or any other alcoholic drink, and that the stuff is damned expensive, and I tend to reserve this medicinal tonic for times that I actually need it.

*Other people who work alongside me swear that our workplace actually causes them to get coughs and colds more often. I used to get sick fairly regularly when I worked in an office environment.
**My ability to blog also diminishes dramatically, though part of this is vastly reduced time available for writing, even if I have just spent much of the night's twelve-hour shift mentally composing and editing one or more posts.
***With the exception of Paddy whiskey, which is tragically - or fortunately - not available in the United States.


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