I was coming down with a massive cold yesterday. The signs arrived the night before—a fluey muzziness, a cough, soreness in the chest. Past experience suggested I’d have a ripping head cold and sinusitis by morning, fever and a sore throat the next day, and a fine honking case of bronchitis to follow.
My old friend Bibi Bulambowitz is a vastly intelligent, worldly, emotionally volatile individual who has been living too close for too long to a notorious cosmic energy vortex and its attendant mob of New Agers. So I have to take her advice with a grain of salt (itself a New Age practice among ancient Romans). Anyway, she said she knows I’m a skeptic, and bone-headed to boot, but here’s what I should do. I should take 4,000mm of vitamin C every four hours for two days. And this vitamin C of which she spoke should include bioflavonoids. Why? She wasn’t sure, but I should trust her in this matter. And no, it doesn’t work better at the crossroads in the full of the moon, she told me in answer to my query.
Linus Pauling lives! But I wasn’t in the mood for flu/bronchitis/the whole shtick. A doctor would merely tell me to take some aspirin, drink a lot of fluids. Rest. And I’d still have bronchitis next month. So I thought what the heck, eh? I took 12 big tabs of vit. C (with bioflavonoids and stuff) yesterday, and another four upon rising this morning. And guess what? It worked. This malarkey got right past my skeptical defenses, I’m embarrassed to say, and cured me.
I don’t feel really excellent, something I rarely do anyway. But I have no head cold, no more sinusitis than your average Bangkokian experiences every day of his life. My chest feels normal. Prognosis generally positive, in fact, except now I can find no justification for goofing off for a day or two. The down side of health.
Sara has just reminded me of a recent lecture I gave her on the placebo effect, when she was taking capsules full of some green powder that a colleague had dealt her, claiming this would cure the common cold, prevent osteoporosis, and generally keep her motor humming to a ripe old age.
Yeah, but, I tell her. This is different. It works. Don’t ask me how.
Bibi really knows her placebos, says Sara.
What’s a bioflavonoid?