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Ode to my favorite cough syrup

By PAM STONE

If the iconic English Romantic poet, John Keats, could write Ode to a Nightingale, and Ode on a Grecian Urn, then perhaps I, just over 200 years, later can also wax poetic about the greatest love of my life.

I shall call it Ode to120 Cheratussin AC 10-100MG/5ML

That’s right, cough syrup. This cherry flavored (not quite sure about that, it is colored red but tastes a bit like Pledge) elixir has become my best friend forever as well as the stuff of dreams. I mean that quite literally because each time I’ve taken it, my brain has exploded into a kaleidoscope of non sequitur images along with a Phil Spector Wall of Sound behind it all for special emphasis. And always, always, these dreams center around me in the middle of something incredibly important: a television appearance, or a business meeting, and I can’t find my shoes or, in the case of my last dream, finding, to my horror, I had put my bra on over my sweater.

Frankly, I think it’s a good look and could erupt into a fashion trend if Kanye could talk one of the Kardashians into it.

Now, as grateful as I am for my Cheratussin’s ability to quell the chronic hack that Paul generously brought back to me, along with most of the remaining phlegm, from Seattle, my overwhelming affection is for codeine that resides inside. Because you know how this virus is: after the initial fever and aches, the cough won’t.let.go.

“Oh, you got that thing?” said the medical receptionist at my doctor’s office, “That cough lasts forever.”

“My wife has had it for six weeks,” mentioned a church friend. “It’s now turned into dizziness.”

Oh, joy.

And when a cough won’t let go, it tends to tease you. You think, during the day, when you splutter a bit here and there, it’s getting better. Then, when you’re exhausted and ready for bed, you lie down and that’s when it starts: those hacking, hollow chested, repetitive coughs that you finally realize really can crack a rib after all, just like the doctor said.

Not only does it become impossible to eat (what the hell was I thinking when I decided to snack on a handful of chips during ‘The Voice?’ They felt like a shovelful of stone dust going down my throat) it also becomes impossible to sleep.

But not with Cheratussy, baby. And that’s why this little red bottle has my heart. When you’re a woman in your fifties and a big ol’ full moon invades the bedroom, punching its way through drawn curtains, you may as well just get up and start staining the rear deck of the house because you are not going to be sleeping a wink all night. I even boldly proclaimed to Paul as I grasped the bottle from the bedside table the first night, pouring the dosage of a single teaspoon and swallowing it. “It might help stop the cough, but it’s not going to help me sleep, nothing helps me sleep, I don’t care what Dr Bridges sayzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….The next thing I knew, I had my bra on over my sweater and Johnny Carson was looking at me like I had two heads. I began running through the studio, out into traffic, and every car had a clown behind the wheel. But when I finally came to, sometime in mid March, I felt wonderfully refreshed.

Unlike Keats’ Grecian Urn, my eternal pursuit for love (but mostly, sleep) does end with complete fulfillment. And so I say to you, Cheratussin, my heart brimming over in gratitude, ‘beauty is truth and truth is beauty.’ But most of all, it’s eight hours uninterrupted rest.

Reach PAM STONE at pammstone@gmail.com.

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