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Cure the cold

Bernie Grauer

I have had the world’s worst cold for the last 10 days, and there is no medicine in the world available to cure it. I also have cancer, but it is the cold that is really bothering me right now.In my quest to end the annoying sniffles, I have bought every over-the-counter cold, sinus, throat, flu, or headache medicine known to the pharmaceutical companies.Apparently, every one of them is about seven years behind the mutation of the latest cold/flu germs to come out of some remote province in Northwestern China by way of the jet stream or a passenger on some airline. This is a reality, because it takes at least seven years for the FDA to let the company sell something that is already mutated out of date.In addition to the countless cold remedies in any drugstore or supermarket, there are at least as many old-time cold remedies.When I was a little kid, my grandmother believed in the magic of applying a hot potato poultice. She would boil up a big potato untilit was kind of soft, then wrap it up in a napkin and tie it around my neck with a piece of string.Eventually, the boiled potato became mashed and would begin to squirt out of the corners of the bag. Any self-respecting cold germ couldn’t live near that three-day-old mess of squashed potatoes.The other thing my grandmother used to insist on was drinking a lot of honey in a cup of hot lemonade. Even if this didn’t work, I was happy to comply because it was the middle of the depression and my grandpa was opposed to turning on the heat. He used to say, “Just put on some more clothes.”My point is that regardless of the pharmaceutical and grandparent remedies, the common cold still flourishes. I’m thinking about all of this while lying on a sheet of plastic that is hard as a marble slaband clutching a towel wrapped with a knot in each end.I have long ago memorized the number of ceiling tiles overhead and one of them has a cross cutout in the middle of it. The cross is for the laser beams to shine down on my semi-naked body.I lie here while a $3 million machine beams 16,000,000 volts, megahertz, amps, ohms, reams, ergs, bagels, or something electric into my body to kill the cancer cells that have found a temporary home in my prostate.All of this is happening while two attractive nurses cover my private parts with a small towel and a highly skilled technician lines the beams up with the tattoos on my hips and stomach so the right organs will be in the right place when the radiation beams start to flow.Since I have time to think during radiation, I pose the question that I’m sure a lot of people wonder. If they can cure over a hundred different kinds of cancer, why can’t they figure out how to cure thecommon cold? This is an age-old and somewhat rhetorical question, I’m sure.However, what if “Cure the Cold” advocates started having marathons and walks to raise money to cure the common cold just as they do for cancer? Would Lance Armstrong be as famous if he was a cold survivor rather than a cancer survivor? I think not, but I know you could sure get a lot of people to sign up for a Sunday walk to raise money to cure the common cold.I wonder if we could raise as much money each year to cure the common cold as we do to cure cancer.A friend of mine walked 60 miles last summer with 3,000 other people to raise money to cure cancer, and I’m sure that the money contributed to a good cause.Maybe I should join them next summer when I will be both a cancer survivor and someone who survived one or more of about 100,000,000 different mutations of what is termed, “The Common Cold.” (Since when is one out of one hundred million considered common?)So the cold is still with me and the cancer is going away. I know that attitude is a key factor in curing cancer. My attitude is that right now I’m almost one-fourth of the way to being cured, with only 35more trips to the radiation machine.Incidentally, since I went public with my prostate cancer, I have talked with several men who have never heard of the term PSA (prostate-specific antigen). All of them are in their sixties and as many as 10 years on the wrong side of early detection.If you are over 50 and haven’t had your PSA checked every year, shame on you! Better do it now or you’ll be one year older when it gets ahead of you.The talk among the medical profession goes like this: most American men will die with prostate cancer, not from it. Catch it early with a simple blood test and you, too, will be a cancersurvivor.Now if I could just get rid of my sniffles, I’d be in really good shape.


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