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Ammi Midstokke: The universal loathing of hypocrisy

Ammi Midstokke is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review writing about living off the grid. (The Spokesman-Review / SR)
Ammi Midstokke is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review writing about living off the grid. (The Spokesman-Review / SR)
By Ammi Midstokke For The Spokesman-Review

As some of you may or may not know, in real life I am a nutritionist.

Among other realistic assumptions about how I live are my excessive consumption of vegetables and the fact that I probably never get sick. And if I did, I’d drink some echinacea tea and scare that microbe off with threats of Vitamin C enemas or something.

The truth is, I just ate a molasses cookie for breakfast and am suffering from the persistent effects of influenza B. Some people like to say they have the flu, but I prefer the more dramatic approach of dated clinical terminology. I treat my symptoms the same way, using words like ‘sputum’ for added visceral grossness.

“Did you get the shot?” people ask. “Of course not!” I claim. I am not an at-risk group, and I only eat gluten-free cookies. So even if I did get the flu, I’d probably get a runny nose for like 2 hours, then carry on my merry way. Then I would claim immune robustness from the lack of alcohol and cigarettes in my life while noting how many dark, leafy greens I eat.

Imagine my surprise then when I was running last week and assumed I was getting knee cancer because mine ached so frightfully. “That’s strange,” I thought, “knee cancer doesn’t run in my family.” Then I laughed heartily at my hilarious pun and limped my way home. By the time I got there, I was dizzy and seeing spots. I should have been more concerned, except that I’m out of shape, and fainting after a workout is to be expected until after eggnog season.

The next morning when I awoke, I decided that I was dying. That could be the only explanation. Unless I had been crushed by a tractor while being fed bad oysters, but that seemed unlikely this far inland. Among the various physiological rebellions that take place during flu, we often forget to list “self-pity” as a primary symptom.

I lied in my bed, alternately sweating through sheets and stripping myself bare, feeling sorry for my pathetic state and observing with fascination the mighty power of The Virus. Only more awesome in its microscopic force is the response of the immune system. I hallucinated about little armies of T cells marching forth to gobble up foreign invaders.

I desperately wished someone would invent some organic Nyquil. Back in the day, when I still consumed green food coloring with reckless abandon, I almost looked forward to getting sick just for the sake of mixing cocktails of cough syrup and pain killers. My re-educated stubbornness has me sucking on zinc lozenges and bone broth instead. I have righteousness on my side though: This approach would surely reduce the misery and length of my disease, and I would ride out of it on my high horse of hippie sauce in no time.

Six days later, I drank a hot toddy – extra whiskey – for lunch. For future reference, this is basically the equivalent of organic cough syrup and I will begin treating my next flu much earlier with this method. I’m not sure if it reduced the pain or just made me not care. I stayed lightly inebriated for the next three days and plan to stay moderately inebriated for all subsequent viral infections, against the advice of addiction specialists and immunologists, no doubt.

In the end, I’m still in agreement for using the time-tested natural methods our grandmothers have recommended for generations (and being grateful for science when pharmaceutical big guns are needed).

Cancel work. Stay in bed. Drink lots of fluids. Some of them 80 proof. It’s medicinal.

Ammi Midstokke can be contacted at

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