For the first time in more than four years, my body has succumbed to the seasonal flu virus. It’s really been about two decades since I have had a full-blown flu debilitate me for days on end. When others around me catch the bug and I witness how it affects them, I feel quite fortunate, thankful that I got off easy.

I usually manage to kick the pestilence securely out of my body within 24-36 hours of first feeling that scratchy throat, mild headache, and achy joints.  My immune system seems to work really well, which I can attribute to my rock-climbing tours of Western Europe in my early and mid-twenties.

While climbing in Switzerland in the 1980s, I ended up contracting a European flu virus, which was very persistent and debilitating and eventually managed to cross the pond.  It was so nasty that the elderly as well as some infants were succumbing to the aggressive virus.  My climbing partner, Martin Gollner, who was from Switzerland, caught the bug the same time as I did.  Once we realized what we had, we made a hasty retreat from the mountains to his parent’s house in Thayngen (the home of the Knorr soup company).

I recall both of us being bedridden for well over five days.  I also remember Martin’s sweet mother lifting my head several times to try to feed me chicken soup and herbal infusions as I drifted in and out of sleep and cold sweats.  We were both essentially immobilized, and without the care and nursing of Mrs. Gollner, I surely would have been hospitalized.  I also recall losing a full layer of epidermis.  I peeled like a molting lizard during the ordeal.  For a week, the only thing I could keep down was mint tea and homemade chicken soup.

Jump ahead two decades and here I am lying on the couch feeling slightly drained, yet knowing that the worst is behind me, a half day and night of mild headaches, a slight cough, and some dizziness.  As a result of that horrid bout in Switzerland, my immune system has been supercharged ever since.

Last night before bed, I dug into my deep freeze and pulled out a bag of chicken soup I had made a few months back.  Funny thing ,I don’t normally make chicken soup (turkey, squash, and green pea are my regulars), so the soup gods must have had a premonition. The only year in the past four I have caught the bug, and I just happen to have homemade chicken soup in the freezer!

And tea, how could I forget the 35 or so cups of tea in the past 24 hours?  That’s about triple what I normally drink, they say the body needs fluids, so what better way than to drown the virus in catechins, flavanoids, and other polyphenols.  Let’s see you swim your way out of that, suckers!!

So, TGIF, I have the weekend to get my body back to normal, lay low, so to speak.  That’s just fine with me, as I am working on a new tea blend involving two very cool flavors.  I can now put this project on the table for weekend R & D, and enjoy a little workout for the palate, nothing too strenuous.

But before I do, I would like to extend a warm and heartfelt New Year’s greeting to all the readers and contributors here at The Tea Guy.  I sense 2013 will be a very exciting year.  Realize your dreams, my dear friends.

Brendan Waye

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