Back to: PSA: Hugo and Nebula nominations | Forward to: Still ill


I haven't been blogging these past few days because I'm coughing like a dog — no, there's no fever: just a mild chest infection — and consequently I'm somewhat sleep-deprived. (Coughing every five minutes through the night will do that.) I'm also struggling with the edits on a novel. I'm sufficiently under the weather that I'm not even paying attention to the firehose of new product announcements coming out of CES.

I'm wishing someone would invent one of these for my blog. Then my work here would be done.



Get Well. Finally picked up Rajaniemi's book and noticed that they'd plastered the quote you made here a while back all over it ;-)


I remember having a cough like that a few years ago. Went to the doctor and complained about not being able to sleep, after which he prescribed Codein-pills (some depot-version that stays in your body for 24 hours).

Well I was able to sleep afterwards, but I didn't like the periods when I was awake much. Brain turned all mushy, couldn't think straight (mostly, whilst my wife was talking to me, by the end of her sentence I couldn't remember the start, which is normally not the case. Also, I was trying to solder some electronics onto a prototype board and was totally unable to line up my drawing with what I had in front of me .. quite unsettling).

So .. anti-cough medicine when codeine-based: certainly very potent, I didn't cough even once afterwards. Not nice, though. At least if you're the kind of person who needs their brain for work. Which I guess you kinda are.


Hope you recover soon. Take care of yourself, and grab as much sleep as you can in between times.


Have you tried DadaDodo? Your blog may have too big corpus to produce even interesting results. Another option is to train a neural network with your blog and then use it to filter the product announcements from CES.


The Plane generator is a computerised version of a very old joke: The corporate buzzword generator - originally a set of 4 (?) concentric card circles, divided into about 8 (16?) sectors, on each of which was printed some peice of the usual bullshit. I'm not sure it's funny any more, given the way it has spread around like grey goo.....


Get well soon. It's a right bugger being sick and having to get on with work, even when the work is writing.


Cranberry Juice - it won't make you foggy like the codeine-based cough syrups. It is a natural decongestant; so you will cough a lot to begin with,but it gets the stuff out. Get well.


@7: Thought it was elderberry that's supposed to be decongestant? That's what my neighbour said when she gave me some home-made elderberry elixir for my cough (that sounds a lot like the one Charlie's got) last month. Just one drink of the stuff and the coughing stopped - about four days later. Did buy some real decongestant, but when I got it home, I found the small print said it shouldn't be taken with beta-blockers, which I'm on. Not able, for various reasons, to get out to a chemists again, I just rode it out. Luckily, I don't need my brain all that much (though it's handy to have around, just in case...).


You have my sympathies. I'm just getting over one of those buggers - I was supposed to go back to work on Wednesday and might make it in on Monday...

For me, the decongenstant juice is tomato, with copious quantities of Worcester sauce, Tabasco, pepper and celery salt.


I am looking at my herbal an elderberry is good, too, #8. Perhaps a difference in choice from here in the US to the UK? My husband has the same problem w/beta blockers; hence, my research at alternatives (OK, I'm a witch, I freely admit).


Oops, word 6 on line 1 of post 10 should be an "and". Mea culpa.


You forgot the vodka. Me, I'm on hot toddies with added Boots flue-max all-in-one chesty cough & cold powder. Knocks me out anyway.


Can you get over-the-counter with-codeine meds in Scotland? If so, they might help. Codeine is (among other things) a cough-suppressant, and should allow you to get a proper nights sleep. (I'm not a medical professional, talk to your pharmacist, etc.)

I hope you feel better soon!


Persistent dry coughs can SOMETIMES be allievated (as can indigestion) with SCHNAPPS/decent Malt. The latter suitably admixed with a small amount of water. You need to relax the muscles, and alchohol is good for that.

Charlie has my sympathies, as problems like that, are really irritating (oops), but difficult to pin down. Me, I've just aquired Gout - fortunately dealable-with using industrial-strength anti-inflammatories. And I'm about 25 years older than he is .....


Vodka? How about hot buttered spiced rum with a bit of honey and lemon instead? Doubt it will stop the cough, but it will make you feel better. And gallons of tea - recent research shows the diuretic effects are just about nil, so it's good for hydrating. With honey and lemon I think it's better than cough drops.


Dude, (a) yes, you can get codeine-based meds from a pharmacy; and (b) I am aware of its properties. (Certainly my resume would suggest a passing familiarity ...)


I'm currently going through the same thing myself so you have my sympathies. I have no miracle cure to suggest, time and a good malt whisky seems to work for me but the whisky is definitely non-medicinal. Hope it passes soon.


I've been a big fan of co-codamol (soluble paracetamol and codeine, available OTC in the UK) whenever I've had a cough. Unfortunately, I've just moved to the USA where apparently codeine is considered to be just a couple of notches below crack on the scale of Things That Are Not Allowed, so I don't know what I'll do next time I get a cough, which judging by how I felt on the train earlier might be imminently...


Co-codamol isn't entirely OTC; the weaker strengths are pharmacy-only (meaning, you don't need a prescription but it's only sold under the supervision of a pharmacist) and the stronger formulations (e.g. 30mg Codeine/500mg Paracetamol) are prescription-only.

Mixing opiates with paracetamol (aka acetaminophen, for the Americans in the audience) is a cynical War On Drugs ploy to stop folks getting high on the stuff. (You get to do it once -- then you need a new liver.)


Codeine...Angostura bitters...Chinese honey-loquat-menthol cough syrup. Warm steam humidifier.


I drink a glass of cranberry juice every morning (required by the nephrologist even though no studies show it works) and it doesn't seem to be a decongestant.


I thought that was hangover stuff.


You're getting NSAIDs or allopurinol and colchicine?


another great way to spice up the story is after all that throw it through several language translators, and then u can post some ones private confidentieonal email without them knowing it...


Ah, here in America, we are getting ready for burnings again. Strange place, America, advanced and oh so backwards at the same time.

I know about cranberry for nephrological reasons. The decongestant is in my herbal, and I do use it when we have URIs. And yes, to one of the other posters, adding Vodka is a nice thing. As one person told me about adding spirits to any folk cold remedy: it doesn't hurt, and if it doesn't work, you don't notice.


The CES stuff? We're mainlining it for you in Vegas, walking several miles a day and then writing a few K words. Themes for the year: connecting but not connected, your iOS doctor, keep taking the (Android) tablets, and poor poor Intel. Oh, and Angry Birds.

And oh my poor aching feet.


From my GP surgery's web page: "If you have FLU symptoms, please STAY AT HOME and TELEPHONE the Surgery on 0131 xxx xxxx or NHS 24 on 08454 24 24 24 for advice."

In other words, don't you bloody dare drag your infectious carcass into our nice surgery and give everyone the lurgee... If you call them, GP phone advice is quite hardline these days: "Well I could prescribe antibiotics but they're not shown to work, so ..." "Tough it out?" "If you're not seeing any improvement in a few days, contact us again." " /cough "


I've had flu, and what I've got now is not flu. (If it was flu, I wouldn't be typing this.)


Apologies - this took longer than expected due to difficulties debugging javascript on the iPad - and the back room with the main machine in it being too cold to work in.

It's a little simple but all the code is in the source html so you should be able to modify it give more interesting option


sue, your link doesn't work -- it needs the "www" prepended:


Do'h! worked from mine, but then by browser is pretty forgiving.

Thanks for the correction

It occurred to me with a little more effort I could write a virtual blog writer generator which would produce the code for the page that you would then used to make the blog - but my husband accused me of hastening approaching the singularity when Machines would decided humanity was unnecessary and wipe us all out. :) So may be not.


Antibiotics don't work on viral infections. There is no treatment for flu that can be given without needing hospitilisation (apart from pills to treat the symptoms)


Wrong: we have some antiviral drugs these days that are effective against Influenza A and B: oseltamivir and zanamivir, reducing the severity and duration of symptoms by around 1.5 days if treatment is started within 24-48 hours. Problem is, they're not totally effective and they have side-effects; overuse may also lead to the propagation of drug-resistant strains.


I see someone mentioned the Chinese honey-loquat syrup already, but I wanted to talk a little about it.

Chinese cough syrup.

Basically, it's Slippery Elm, a demulcent. 635mg/tablespoon, which isn't mentioned in the wiki article there, but that's what it says on the bottle.

Looks like molasses, tastes like a ricola. My wife has been suffering from a cough for a few months now, and this has allowed her to get much better sleep than stuff with DXM in it.

From our experiences, it doesn't last as long as Robitussin, but it takes effect much more quickly and the effects are stronger in the short term. It seems to last about two hours when the coughing is really bad.

Anyway, this has really helped us, so I wanted to mention it. I hope you feel better soon.


My wife picked up the flu by going shopping on Thursday; it hit her hard on Friday: dizziness so bad she couldn't stand up without help, and nausea that wouldn't even let her keep water down. It started to fade Saturday afternoon, and is mostly gone now. I tried some googling to see if I could get a differential diagnosis for the particular strain she got, but couldn't find enough info to do that. Now we're waiting to see if I get it. Aren't you glad real viruses can't travel the intertubes?


One of my colleagues was explaining through an interpreter that the patient was infected by a virus and it would resolve.

The interpreter balked ("did a double take?") at "virus". "What? Like a computer?

Words move in the language, sometimes away from where their meaning started.

Codeine is useful stuff, some of us have a gene that gives it greater effectiveness, some of us have a gene that gives it no effect, so the dose varies and YMMV.

Steam is good. Most of the other remedies sold are rubbish, often on flawed models of action and the ones that work do so by being a bit sticky and soothing in the mouth.


The interpreter balked ("did a double take?") at "virus". "What? Like a computer?"

Neal Stephenson, how are ya.

The plane story generator reminds me of this:

41: various - According to my ex-GP (happily retired, but advice given whilst he was still practicing), cranberry juice is a natural unblocker alright, but at the other end to what a decongestant is normally used for IYSWIM. 23 - I was on hols when that one broke, and my sis and I were both fine with the idea that "witch" could be a profession, but were somewhat surprised to discover that "driving instructor" hadn't been!

Been there, coughed up that. Peppermint tea with honey can be pleasant on a throat sore from coughing, hope you're better soon.


Hope you are feeling better soon. Had that kind of respiratory infection a while ago, I'm really grateful I have a really comfy Old Chair, I was so congested that sleeping sitting up was a lot better than trying to lie down.

I also tore a rib muscle during that episode....

Best wishes.


CES... Announcement wise it really felt like CES2010 take 2, 3D TV? Yeap. Tablets. Yeap...

Nothing too exciting really.

The big thing was how much busier and "guzzler" it was for having so little going on. It was stunningly, hugely, busy. The downside being, the WiFi was fragged everywhere. For 2 days my phone was a glorified paperweight.... For most of Thursday after I couldn't even send SMSs.

Frankly it's good to be home. At least I have a month to get ready for MWC.


Sorry about the cough, awful things. To amuse you try this:



I'm not a doctor, but I have had a persistent cough for several months. Repeated trips to various doctors yielded prescriptions that did nothing for the cough. Finally a trip to an ENT resulted in a diagnosis of GERD. So I'm on these mad expensive pills, and the real cure (for me) is to lose weight. I'm only 4 years older than you.



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on January 8, 2011 11:47 AM.

PSA: Hugo and Nebula nominations was the previous entry in this blog.

Still ill is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Search this blog