How to Stop Coughing

For those of you who know I am a fan of Vicks™ on the feet, and think that this post is going to reiterate that, think again. I have something better that works like a charm. It seems magic, it works so well. It works for adults as well as children.

A couple of years ago during a particularly bad cold where I could not stop coughing no matter what, I wanted to determine what a cough was exactly so that perhaps I could then figure out how to stop it. I had been coughing for days, couldn’t sleep, and was sick to death of the constant tickling in my throat and ache in my head from coughing and coughing and coughing.

I figured out that a lot of cough is a reflex designed to prevent pulmonary aspiration, promote the movement of cilia in the lungs, and to clear airway debris. The reflex is partially triggered by blood in the throat. The purpose behind plasters (covering the chest or feet with different ingredients) to stop coughs is to pull blood away from the vessels into the throat. The point then, of putting Vicks™ or its equivalent on the chest or feet is to draw blood away from the throat, thereby relieving the cough.

I became a major fan of the Vicks™ approach because it worked so well on my baby daughter, who was age one at the time. I figured this out and was suffering mightily from a cold as well. I had given her the children’s version of cough medicine and it wasn’t working any better than the adult version was working for me. My research also brought up medical study after medical study showing how ineffective cough medicine really is. When I put Vicks on my baby’s feet, her coughs would stop within a minute. It was miraculous. She would be sleeping peacefully within minutes.

Yet the Vicks™ approach did not always work so well for me during a particularly bad cold this fall. I have a friend who complained it did not work for her at all. Lying awake coughing one night, I pondered this. Why would it work so well for small children and not adults? The answer it seemed to me was that the soles of the feet of adults are thicker than those of small children. One part of the Vicks™ on the feet approach that I did not like was that I had to spread it on really thick and cover my feet with socks, otherwise the sheets would get covered in petroleum jelly, the ingredient in Vicks™ that holds it together. I scanned my body, considering all the places where blood vessels would be near the surface that would take blood away from the neck. I realized that the wrists are just about perfect. The veins are right there near the surface of the skin, and wrists are far away from the neck.

I started putting Vicks™ on my wrists. It worked much better than feet. However, there was still the issue of petroleum jelly getting all over everything and leaving an oily residue, even after washing. The ingredients in Vicks are camphor, menthol, and eucalyptus. (Incidentally, I never actually used the Vicks™ brand because it is stupidly expensive and the generic version is exactly the same thing.)

Then one afternoon my teenage daughter pointed out that the ingredients in pain relieving cream (aka BenGay™, Icy Hot™, Mentholatum Deep Heat™, and the lot) are virtually identical, except without the petroleum jelly. We had a couple of tubes of generic pain relieving cream. The next time Milla had a cold, she used this on her wrists and claimed it worked better than anything we had used to date. The ingredients are camphor, menthol, and methyl salicylate, which is essentially wintergreen oil. The best part about this stuff is that it is extremely cheap (I paid $2.39 for a 4 ounce tube), and because the veins in the wrist are so close to the surface of the skin, you do not need much to get a result. The cream is not greasy and doesn’t leave any residue on the clothes. Plus the wintergreen smells good. I was also able to purchase a menthol stick designed for sore muscles, which is the best approach of all. Menthol has become our new coughing charm.

My 5-year-old has had a cold for about a week. She sleeps with me and started coughing several nights ago. I keep a stick of menthol rub on the bedside table. She coughs, I rub a small amount on her wrists, the coughing stops in under 20 seconds and she stays asleep for several hours. It’s miraculous. One night, I felt a tickle in my throat that kept on long enough I thought it would erupt in a huge cough. I rubbed on a small amount of menthol. The tickle disappeared. We are both getting sleep, and sleep is the best remedy to cure the cold that causes the cough in the first place.

One small caution: menthol is painful if you get it in your eyes. Be sure to wear long sleeves and cover your wrists after applying so that if your arm is up near your face, you don’t get it in your eyes. I’ve applied it to the inside of the elbow with the same success as the wrists, but with less risk of getting the menthol into the membranes of the eyes.

This works. I can’t recommend it enough. Want to stop a cough? Put menthol on your wrists or anywhere else you see veins near the surface of your skin. It works.

Interestingly, over the summer, we spent a weekend at the coast. I’d had a bit of a niggling cough off and on. Nothing major, but irritating periodically. I did not bring any sort of menthol to the beach with us. Lying there awake with the niggling cough, I considered what else might work. I had read that toothpaste has menthol in it, and it certainly has peppermint oil, which is the original ingredient in menthol. Worn out I figured, why not? I got up, got the travel toothpaste, and smeared some on my wrists. The cough ceased. Both nights we were there it worked. I slept and the cough was never able to really take hold.

One thing to note, if your cough is caused by inflamed lungs, smoking, or something more chronic, this won’t work. This is for the cough that is caused by blood in the blood vessels of the throat. If the cough is caused by something other than blood in the blood vessels in the throat, this is not the remedy.

If you try this, let me know how it worked for you in the comments section. I’m sure others would love to hear of your experience as well.

Watch Out for the Big, Bad Pig

So a week ago I published a blurb about the swine flu thinking everyone was freaking out for nothing.  For a few days after, I wondered if maybe I got it wrong.  Now however, I’m back to my original premise.  I was also right about the foolish overreacting that would take place.  Some ountries have banned travel to Mexico.  Others have killed off a bunch of pigs.  Everyone is still all freaked out.  Yet the numbers of deaths have remained quite small and very contained even though the flu itself has shown up in many places.  Craziness.

The killing of the pigs really bugs me.  In spite of assertions by doctors and other scientists that this flu isn’t caught from eating pork, nor can it be transmitted from pigs to humans, Egypt killed over 300,000 pigs.  In response, the WHO came out with a statement that the name needs to be changed because killing pigs is unnecessary.

All the news organizations went nuts when a toddler died from the flu outside of Mexico, the first case outside that country.  EGADS!  It’s spreading!  Someone outside Mexico died!  We’re all going to get it!  It’s pandemic! We’re all dead!  Um, yeah.  Lost in the uproar was the fact the child was Mexican and had just been in Mexico.  It wasn’t like the flu came crawling across the border, snaking its way north in ever increasing tentacles.  Yet that is what the media worldwide seemed to want people to believe.

The actual truth is that most of the people who died had not gotten treatment when they should have.  For everyone else who has contracted the flu, their illnesses have been sh0rt-lived and they have recovered.  The trick was early detection and intervention.  It would be nice if the news media could find a nice balance between letting people know they should do something and acting like lunatics.  Unfortunately they usually lean towards lunacy.

The nasty right-winger radio hosts have used the swine flu as an opportunity to spread their hate mongering, lies, and racism.  They blatantly lie, claiming that we’re all going to get sick from Mexicans and we better close our borders further.  It’s disgusting.  Maybe any idiots who believe their bullshit will lock themselves in their homes with a gun and stop wandering the streets. If this happens, I guess in a twisted way the hate mongerers have performed a public service.

Pure Med Spa Again

In spite of the rather large number of comments I received on my posts about Pure Med Spa, not one of the commenters responded to my request to interview them for an article I am doing on the company.  I am posting this in an effort to find people who were harmed by Pure Med Spa, employees who would like to tell their story, or even those who had a great experience.  If you would like to speak to me, please comment on this post and I will contact you.  If you would like to remain anonymous, that request will be honored.

Thanks much.

Original posts:

You be Sorry You Mess With Me, Pure Med Spa

Let’s Eliminate Pure Med Spa

Good Riddance, Pure Med Spa

Good Riddance, Pure Med Spa

See my previous posts on Pure Med Spa here and here.

I am writing an article on Pure Med Spa.  For info, please click here.

Last summer, I stopped into a local spa to inquire about Botox treatments.  After being told the price, I asked to schedule an appointment.  I was informed that I would need to provide a $50 deposit to hold the appointment, and that if I did not cancel within twenty-four hours of the appointment, I would forfeit the deposit.  Seeing no problem with this policy, I scheduled an appointment for the following week.  The company was Pure Med Spa, also known as GRF Medspa.

That afternoon, I decided I no longer wanted the appointment.  I called to cancel the appointment and to request a refund of my deposit.  I was informed that Pure Med Spa does not provide refunds.  I asked to speak with the manager who was not available.  I left a message and waited angrily for her to contact me.

In the meantime, I did a little statutory research and discovered that my state has an act to protect consumers from shady spa practices.  Among other things, the act allows for full refunds of any procedures if they are cancelled within 72 hours of making an appointment.  To comply with the statute, it is necessary to send a letter stating the intent to cancel and requesting a full refund.  I immediately wrote such a letter and sent it to Pure Med Spa.

That afternoon I spoke with the manager.  After haggling for twenty minutes, I informed her that I had written her company in compliance with the statute and that if I did not receive a refund, I would be filing suit in small claims court.  I also told her I was a writer and would write about my experience on my blog.  I did not think Pure Med Spa would like the negative publicity.

The manager said she would try to get me a refund.  After another wait, she called me back to tell me the fifty dollars would be refunded to my debit card.  I thanked her and hung up.  I did not stop payment on my debit card because I thought the matter would be handled and the cost to stop payment would have been twenty-five dollars.  It seemed a steep price to pay.

Twenty-five dollars would have been better than the nothing I have ever received from Pure Med Spa.  I honestly believe the manager in the store thought her company would refund the money.  Every time I spoke to her she was even more apologetic and her apologies were genuine.

The timing of this situation was not great for me.  I left to move to Hawaii a month afterwards.  I was tracking to see if the refund arrived, and would call to speak to the manager, but because I was not in Portland where the spa was located, I could not go in and work something out in person.

In September, frustrated by the entire situation, I wrote a blog post about my experience.  I stated my intent to sue in small claims court.  I received a lot of responses from other people who had much worse situations than mine.

Through my blog I am able to track the searches people use to find my blog and to see which posts are read the most.  By far the posts on Pure Med Spa get the most attention.  Dozens of people read these posts every day.  I have gotten several comments from readers whose experiences were terrible.  One woman has a droopy face from improperly administered Botox.  Another was an employee who spoke of their terrible treatment of her and other employees.  A graduate student writing on Pure Med Spa contacted me to see if I would forward her information to people who contacted me.  The posts continue to get tons of attention.

I was planning on suing Pure Med Spa in small claims court when I returned to Portland next week.  Unfortunately, I heard the company filed for bankruptcy under the name GRF Medspa.  I looked up their case.  They filed chapter 11 in the district of Georgia.  Their case number is 08-85038-crm.  Their filing date was December 4, 2008.  Also unfortunately, they have not yet filed all the required paperwork.  It is not due until December 19, so I could not view the details of their case.  If they do not file the necessary paperwork within the alloted time, their case will be dismissed.

If you have a potential claim against Pure Med Spa, I urge you to contact the Bankruptcy Court and ask to be listed as a creditor.  When you are notified to file a claim, do so.  It is not difficult to file the claim paperwork.  In some districts it can even be done online.

Also contact the bankruptcy trustee assigned to the case and tell your story.  His name and address are:  Thomas Wayne Dworschak, Office of the U. S. Trustee, Room 362, 75 Spring Street, SW, Atlanta, GA 30303, (404) 331-4437 – ext. 145
Email: thomas.w.dworschak@usdoj.gov.

Write clearly and concisely.  Be sure to him all the information related to your case including dates and the amounts you paid.  Maybe if enough people provide this information, the trustee will pursue a class action claim against these crooks.  In this way perhaps the trustee can collect more to distribute to all their creditors.

Pure Med Spa should be put out of business.  Its CEO and any other associated with ripping people off should go to jail.  I am going to be here writing anything I can to work towards that end.  If you have a story you would like me to post for you, I would be happy to.  A company like Pure Med Spa does not need to be in business.  Let’s do what we can to get rid of them.

First Do No Harm

So my mom is a member of Kaiser.   American Cancer Society guidelines recommend a mammogram and an MRI for women whose mothers, sisters, or daughters have had breast cancer.  I had breast cancer.  Her sister had breast cancer.  Her mother had breast cancer.  Yet her docter at Kaiser told her an MRI was not warranted.  On what planet does this doctor live?  Where is his brain?  Who does he work for?  Duh.  Kaiser.  He wants to keep from costing Kaiser money.  Who gives a shit if my mom gets cancer and DIES.  That’s cheaper for them than paying for a fucking MRI.  Damn insurance companies.

Well, too bad for them that Mom’s daughter called up and figured out how to go around Mr. Hippocratic Oath (not!).  We’re going to appeal AND get a second opinion.  So there. Dumbass.  Would have cost less just to get her the MRI.

“First do no harm.”  Yeah, unless it costs some fucking insurance company money.  Do no harm to insurance companies.  We’ll change the oath to “Thou shalt protect thy insurance company’s ass at all costs, even if a human being dies.”

Evil Guerrilla Virus

These can be addicting.  I sit here and have these random thoughts and want to write them here instead of my journal.  I carry around this notebook to write my strange random thoughts and to draw pictures.  Sometimes I’ll have a dream and write it in there thinking it’s profound and I should make a movie out of it.  Then I’ll go back and read the dream later and realize it WAS profound…profoundly dumb. Now I’m experimenting with background color.  Yes.  My time is well spent.  Well spent indeed.  (:I had a cold in early November.  A nasty wicked cold that kicked my ass and left me in bed for days.  It lasted about 3 1/2 weeks.  It started with a wretched, mind-blowing headache that just hurt no matter how much caffeine or ibuprofen I poured on it.  Then there were two days of sore throat that hurt so badly I could not speak and swallowing was pure hell and torture.  After that cleared, I suddenly had snot gushing from every available orifice in my head.  That started to clear and I began to feel the rumblings low in my lungs of a cough that rattled every joint in my body.  I attempted to stave off the cough, but to no avail.  I would lie there, feeling it humming in my chest.  I would breathe slowly. In. Out. In. Out.  Please god, don’t make me cough.  Then it would happen and it would hurt and it would not stop.  This went on for days.  I had to pile pillows high on my bed to prop myself up so I could sleep because anytime I was horizontal the cough would creep up and kick my ass.  I would be in that lovely place right before sleep, drowsily imagining flying or that I had three arms, when that cough would smash me right back into reality.  I remember lying there with my eyes dry feeling like I would never sleep again.  I finally succumbed and took four of Milla’s triaminic cough strips.  I don’t like taking those kinds of drugs because they drug me so completely I have a hangover for days, but even a hangover was preferable to that shit.  Only it was like the cough sat and waited for the exact SECOND the dextromethorphan wore off.  I love saying that word, dextromethorphan.  I would lie there and say it over and over to take myself into that sleepy place knowing the cough couldn’t get me.  ANYWAY.  The SECOND it wore off, the cough would return with a vengeance worse than anything prior to the attempted cough murder.  I finally started popping the dextromethorphan like some kind of an addict just to sleep.  After about a week of this, my head hurt constantly and I was a walking zombie from lack of non-drug-induced sleep.  That’s about when the tickle began.  I didn’t have any mucous left.  There was just that fucking tickle in the back of my throat.  I’d be sitting there on the computer or reading a book or trying to work and feel that wretched ass tickle.  Tickle.  Tickle.  And have to cough.  And then I could not stop coughing.  I even stuck my finger in the back of my throat in an attempt to stop the tickle.  It didn’t work.  I looked up the tickle on the internet and found many a distressed sufferer lamenting on various medical websites about the wretched ass tickle.  Some had suffered for years.  These were people with chronic conditions, asthma and the like.  Thank GOD I did not have that. I had the tickle for about four days.  I probably would have found a huge bridge from which to fling myself had the tickle continued much longer.  I pity those people who live their lives with the tickle.

ANYWAY.  What was my point? I had one.  The POINT is that I had this bitch of a cold that lasted nearly four weeks, then I began gradually to heal.  There was a period of about five days where I sneezed, but had no other symptoms, but that faded as well.  Even Milla’s aftercare teacher would say, You are doing better. Then the next day he would say, You seem 10 percent better today.  Finally one day he said, I think you are 98 percent better.  Does that mean the cold is all gone and you are well?  I would say, Yes!  I am so much better.  Thank you so much for thinking of me.

Well.  We were both wrong.  I woke up yesterday and the damn headache, lung ache, face snot, sneezing, sore throat, and cough are all back and all at once.  No more of that systematic one at a time shit for this cold.  No.  It’s all back and it’s all back at once.  And you know what is really strange?  My friend Britta had this same crap about the same time I did and in the same order.  And yesterday her shit came back exactly like mine!!  It’s like some miracle virus that tricks you into thinking you are well when you’re not!  It’s so cruel.

So this is what I’m contemplating as I sit here not doing much work because my head hurts and I’m tired and my lungs hurt and I’m WHINING.  Wah wah wah!  I guess I will see now if the pretty orange color stays when I actually post this thing.

DAMN!!  I just typed in Evil Guerrilla Virus and in the process sneezed the biggest grossest sneeze of ick I’ve sneezed in years!  Thank god for tissue and thank god more for soft tissue with lotion in it!  Yikes!