I’m wondering … in the US when we get a cold in the summer we often say, “Summer colds suck.” What do you say here, in Honduras, where it’s always summer? Just thought I’d throw that out there for you to ponder.
Anyway, the chicken soup in these photos is as always, the comforting “cure all” that it’s meant to be and while today and tomorrow I will have it as is, it’s likely to become many other things in the future.
I hadn’t been sick in years and never liked to mention it because I’d hate to jinx myself and suddenly come down with the plague or ebola or something. So I would just count my lucky stars and continue to wash my hands after each handshake, use my sleeve or a paper towel to open a public bathroom door, steer clear of anyone with a hacking, sneezing cough thing going on, etc. You know what I’m talking about. So a few months after I get here I end up with an upper respiratory “thing.” It’s a cold, but maybe something more. I go off to see a doctor with Emmy, my able-bodied helper and he pulls out a pad and begins to write prescriptions.
We fill them all right there at the clinic for more than the cost of the doctor’s visit and off I go. I am quickly on the mend, the antibiotic did the trick and life returns to “normal.”
I notice a bit of hacking and snorkeling and snuffling around the office recently and cross my fingers. I keep up with the hand washing and paper towel when opening the bathroom door routine, but to no avail.
Tuesday morning was the beginning of a new malady. No big deal, right? It’s just a cold. Wo-man up and handle it, Fran! I do for a couple of days until I realize I really need to take something and my stash of NyQuil or any other cold medicine is GONE! And I’d given my cough drops to someone who had a terrible hack a few months ago. Oh dear, what was I to do?
It was the perfect opportunity to give our new company doctor a test run.
Young guy. Pretty new in the “doctoring” business, but eager. He’s got a pretty nice set-up. A beautiful office, nurse, air conditioning, a cafeteria with decent food at good prices. Not much to complain about unless you’re the kind of doctor that likes a challenge. Wants to treat serious illnesses. But he’s got a great bedside manner from what I can tell (remember, we don’t speak the same language) and he is very willing to help.
I take someone with me to help translate and he checks me out, but he’s stumped at one point. He’s got the tongue depressor and he’s in there. I gag a time or two because he’s got that thing pretty far back and then I realize — he’s looking for my tonsils!!!! So I say, I don’t have them anymore! They were taken out 50 years ago! They all gasp and look so surprised. I told them my adenoids went with the tonsils as well. “Really?” Yep, didn’t need them and it was time to stop being sick all the time so on the last day of Kindergarten, a couple of weeks before summer camp, I was packed off to the hospital with a pretty new nightie and went to sleep at the count of 8. When I woke up, cherry Jell-O and a sleek “Pan Am” Barbie in a black patent leather looking carrying case at my bedside and a wicked sore throat, but no tonsils or adenoids to give me trouble anymore! Be gone with you evil tonsils. You made me sick so often those first 5 years and I just didn’t need you!
I wonder if having a tonsillectomy is a very unusual procedure here? Either way, Doctor Feel Better hits the prescription pad and writes a script for cough medicine, a spray for the sore throat and an allergy pills. Nope, I’m not sure why I would be taking something like Claritin, but hey, I’m in a new-to-me culture and I’m feeling like poop, so why not give it a try, although I’d love a box of NyQuil and a box of Sudafed or something like it.
He tells me it’s viral so he doesn’t want to prescribe an antibiotic which I respect and sends me on my way. We get the prescriptions filled and I take them and … nothing. Decide to let it go another day and on Saturday I wake up with a full-blown upper respiratory infection. It’s not pretty and squawking out a conversation is annoying to me and to whomever the listeners are. Sorry!
I decide I’d better get to the office and see the good doctor and ask for a prescription for an antibiotic but when I get there I am reminded that the doctor doesn’t work on Saturdays and the nurse is not able to dispense prescriptions. Oh no! What do I do? Not to worry, I knew I kept that empty bottle of Ciprofloxacin around for a reason.
I ask Jorge to take me to a pharmacy and he drives up to one of the countless drive-through stores and they hand him three boxes, but I am not entirely sure they are the same thing as what was once in my bottle so we head to a walk in pharmacy and the nice guy behind the counter speaks English! He says they do have this, but it’s a different name. I look and am satisfied it will be the same 500mg per tablet antibiotic and say YES! Which may or may not have come out sounding like EUREKA! I then ask for Sudagrip which Ana, our HR Manager swears by and tried to get me to take a couple of days prior but my stubborn self declined.
He’s got that behind the counter as well. But here’s the thing, you buy these medicines by the individual packet. The Cipro is in a packet and inside that is a foil lined paket with the individual pill. The Sudagrip is in individual shrink wrapped packets that you cut apart. There’s no such thing as a bottle of Advil on a shelf in the supermarket — you have to go to a pharmacy ans ask for them and they dispense them 10 at a time in a box.
I don’t care! I am going to get better! I grab the goods like a drug addict late for a fix and run home with them eager to “drink my pills.” (That’s the way we say take my pills here, to my friends and family back home).
I’ve had just 2 doses of antibiotics and 3 of the Sudagrip and am feeling a bit better, but am hoping by the next dose of Cipro I will start to turn the corner. The thing that will help take me over to the other side? A piping hot bowl of this delicious “Kosher Penicillin.”
It’s so easy there is just no reason to not have a stockpile of soup in the freezer to help fight off illness or for use in another recipe or just because you feel like a good bowl of home made chicken soup.
The instructions are simple:
Recipe: Chicken Soup
- 3 Carrots, sliced into 1 inch pieces
- 2 small Onions — skin on — cut off the root if it’s dirty, otherwise you don’t have to bother peeling
- 2 stalks Celery, cut in large chunks — you are going to remove the celery before serving, so size is not an issue
- 1 whole Chicken –or parts if you can’t get your hands on a whole bird
- 1 whole Chicken — if you don’t have a whole chicken, you can use parts
- Salt — you need at least 2 tablespoons of salt. Do not overdo it at this point. Wait until the chicken has cooked for an hour and then begin tasting.
- Fill the pot to within 3 inches of the top and bring to a boil.
- When boiling, reduce to simmer and cook for 2 – 3 hours.
- Using a large strainer, separate the broth from the solids. Pull the meat off the bones and put into the container with the stock. Chill and freeze or use during he week.
For a bit different flavor, try using a rotisserie or chicken from the store or a a whole grilled or roasted chicken from home. It adds a whole other level of complexity to the soup and shortens your weeknight dinner time.