Halfway through a bog standard weekend and I already feel as though I have let the side down. If I wanted to be feeble, I could blame it on toothache, but that would be a lie. It is true that yesterday I thought I was going to be in real trouble with a back tooth that is almost gone, and which I should have got sorted out years ago. I had been fiddling with it and it didn’t like it, so the gum was swollen and painful around it yesterday.
I tried a lot of painkillers, mainly to try and stop fiddling with it and while it kept the ache at bay, it was not fixing it. Then I went for the old fashioned cure all: saltwater, and bingo ever since then, the swelling and pain has been receding.
Don’t get me wrong, I love modern medicine, but every now and again, it is nice to have a home remedy work some magic.
The last time I used saltwater to great effect, I was in the UK and running a pub. A cat had come to stay with us for a bit, because her owner had been forced to move and she was temporarily without a home. I love cats, but my husband (before he actually was my husband) did not have a lot of experience with them and kept expecting to be able to train her like a dog. It did not matter how many times I tried to explain to him that ‘dogs have owners, cats have staff’ he refused to believe it and kept treating her like a puppy. The cat was unhappy, stressed, and too old for this bullshit and eventually decided – I forget exactly why – that she was going to let my husband know exactly how she felt. I got in the way and the result was that she bit my hand.
I did not think anything more about it, but two days later I could not move my thumb and my hand was swollen and painful. Alarmed, I visited A&E at the local hospital and was surprised to find myself triaged up to the front of the queue. Cat bites, are apparently, very nasty. It is not the depth or severity of the bite itself, but their filthy, bacteria riddled mouths and the ensuing infection. The doctor rolled up my sleeve and surely enough, there was a redness crawling up my wrist on the skin. The doctor drew a line about halfway up my forearm.
‘That redness,’ she explained, ‘is infection that is spreading. If it gets as far as this line, then you need to come back.’
She then prescribed me some very strong antibiotics and said that I was not allowed to drink any alcohol while taking them.
I do not know whether I had a genuine reaction to the antibiotics (my father is allergic to some v strong ones) or I just had such a large residue of alcohol in my system that it reacted, but I was as sick as a dog after the first pill. Really sick. I was vomiting every half hour and could not keep anything down. I would have a sip of water, and then be sick. It was awful. There was no way I was going to be able to finish the course of antibiotics, they would not stay down for a start.
So I got a bowl of very hot water – about as hot as I could tolerate – and added salt, then put my wounded hand it it. I do not know if it was this, or just dumb luck and coincidence, but the infection started to fade and the red wave crept back and disappeared .
We left the cat, who had retreated to a cupboard after the fight, alone for a week. I just took her food and water daily and left her to acclimatise to her new home in peace and quiet. After that, she settled in beautifully and stayed with us the whole time we had the pub. I bawled my eyes out when we had to leave and find her somewhere else to stay, but she found a brilliant new home with the guy who had been our cleaner.
That is the last cat we had, because one of my two current dogs, Archie, hates cats and this house is not big enough to cope with that.
My tooth was no excuse for the lack of activity today, but that was what ensued. I have two days off and basically spent this one shopping and washing. Oh and I re-watched season four of Girls it its entirety, because I noticed that Season Five, which I think is the last season, is now available and although my official line is that I will go and buy the DVD, the likelihood is that I will buy it sometime tomorrow and waste another full day watching young, self-obsessed American women having awkward and ugly relationships, some of which will be sexual, and I will love it. No salt required.