Ginger Shots – A recipe

This is my first time sharing one of my recipes inspired by a week of having the sniffles at the break of Autumn. Not that Germany has had a proper summer this year, because let’s face it, it was pretty mild. Still, autumn has hit everyone pretty hard, which caused our department a 25% sick rate. I happened to have my share right after I had my 4-day weekend. Having to wake up at 3 AM after having been in class until 9 PM the night before did not help my case at all. I only had 3 days until my next off-day but it felt like I had to work for two weeks straight. When I was asked if I could jump in for my sick colleague, I had to pass. I thought that if I had to work another day, I’ll most probably have to call in sick the following days which will only cause a bigger disruption in our shifts.

So with one whole day to make myself feel better, I went back to one of my old recipes. I swear by this concoction every flu season. I like to try out new products that I find in the supermarket and, one faithful day, bottled ginger shots have hit the shelves. I love ginger and I love the prickling sensation of it on my throat so it’s not surprising that I went out for some more. Soon enough, I realised it leaves a huge hole in my pocket. 1,49 € for one shot (60 ml) is too much for daily consumption. I had to find a way to get it for cheaper. And here it goes:

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Recipe for Ginger Shots

Ingredients:

Makes about 1L of ginger juice.

(Breakdown: 60% apple juice, 25% ginger-turmeric juice, 10% orange juice, 5% lemon juice)

  • 400g ginger roots (or replace 50g ginger with 50g fresh turmeric root for a more earthy taste and nutritional value)
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 oranges
  • 7 apples

Directions:

  1. Prepare your apples and ginger roots for your juicer. You may have to peel them depending on the type of juicer you are using. Mine did not require that so I only had to wash everything thoroughly.
  2. Juice the apples, ginger roots, and turmeric (if used).
  3. Squeeze out the juice of your oranges and lemon in a citrus juicer.
  4. Mix everything together and pour into your container of choice. I used a few airtight bottles.
  5. Refrigerate for up to 5 days and don’t forget to share!

(Who am I kidding, I finished these on my own within 5 days, taking a few shots a day.)

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Important Reminder:

When preparing your turmeric roots, don’t forget to wear gloves! I did not wear any since I only washed them and put them in the juicer unpeeled but it was when I cleaned out my juicer that I instantly regretted not wearing gloves and walked around with my right hand the colour of Homer Simpson’s for a few days.

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Results? For one, I got my voice back one day later. We know about citrus fruits having high vitamin C levels that help boost our immune system, and so do apples. Both ginger and turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties, the latter also serving as an antioxidant.

Septoplasty – Correcting my Deviated Septum Part 2

I finished my previous blog post on this matter at Day 3 after my surgery with the promise of continuity. I am currently writing this on my last sick day and I am finally going back to work tomorrow. Yay! So I’ll just get started with the chronology.

Days 4 & 5

On the fourth day after my surgery, I noticed that I had stopped spitting out bloody mucus. I can’t get much out from my nose and that’s why everything has to come out via my mouth. It all didn’t feel much different from a common cold – stuffy nose and all, except in my case my nose was literally stuffed with the nasal splints, hence, it felt stiff the whole time to keep my septum in place. I even sneezed a couple of times, which I had to do with an open mouth to not put too much pressure on my nose. Day five wasn’t much different. It was a Saturday so we went grocery shopping which proved hard to pull off when you are around strangers and you have to keep breathing through your mouth. I always had a pack of Kleenex in my hand just in case something starts to drip off my nose, which it did on several occasions.

Day 6

It’s the last day of suffering with the nasal splints and I kept counting down the hours! Daylight savings also kicked in here in Germany so that saved me one full hour. At around noon I started feeling something coming down my throat so I spit it out and it was a long line of dried bloody mucus, around 3cm long. I felt my right nostril decongest and I was able to breathe through it! I concluded that the other nostril must be stuffed with it as well so I tried to get it out by inhaling deeply. It eventually came out in the afternoon and I was able to sleep well that night, for a change.

Day 7

I don’t remember how many different versions I dreamt that night of my doctors’ appointment going really badly. I am not a stranger to anxiety dreams and this night was one full of them. It usually went like this: I sit in the chair at my doctor’s and while he looks through my nose he tells me that I’m going to have to wear the nasal splints a few days longer because it didn’t heal as quickly as expected. When I woke up, I realised how badly I wanted these things out.

So at around noon I went to the ENT with my wife and he cut the threads holding the splints together and he pulled them out one at a time, right and then left. My wife was watching in horror because she had no idea how big those things were and neither did I. I’m not gonna lie, mucus was hanging down my nose after he pulled the splints out but I guess that’s to be expected. I was just happy to be able to breathe again!

Day 8 & 9

It’s nice to be able to sleep really well for change. While the wound hasn’t fully healed yet, I’m pretty sure I am breathing so much better than before my surgery. I still do experience the post-nasal drip but I guess I’ll just wait patiently for everything to fall into place, maybe my body just has to get used to the change. For the record, I still have a cold or at least I’m experiencing the symptoms and I guess this is all just part of the healing process. After all, my nose and throat area have been through a LOT this past week.

Day 10

I had my last doctor’s appointment today and he was really happy with his work. He just noticed that my nose was really dry and he prescribed me with an oil to moisturise it. It comes in a bottle much like that of a nasal spray, only it’s oil. I otherwise only tried putting vaseline on the wound which he said was perfectly fine, but he still gave me the oil because that’s what most of his patients used in their recovery. He also wrote my recommendation to the GP to check on the blood pressure drop I had during surgery and he asked me to come back with whatever the findings are so he could put it in my file. But other than that, I have no more need to come by, unless of course something goes wrong with my nose again which he said is unlikely. Even the post-nasal drip, he said, shall get better and I really do hope so. The best news, though, is that I am finally allowed to do whatever I want. I had been wanting to go to the gym this whole time and now I can finally go!

Day 11 & 12

I had some trouble with the dryness of my nostrils. At some point I even started bleeding, which is a common symptom of a dry nose. It didn’t bleed on the spot that was operated on, though, so I didn’t worry all too much. I applied the oil when the bleeding stopped and just let it work its magic.

Day 13

I can honestly say that I am ready to go back to my normal life. I still feel the common cold symptoms but I can at least breathe normally and, most importantly, I am ready to go back to work tomorrow! This whole experience, in general, has not been as hard as I had expected but it’s also not necessarily something I would want to go through again. I am glad I had done it and I do suggest you do it too if your doctor recommends it.

Septoplasty – Correcting my Deviated Septum Part 1

I haven’t been around in a while, I know. I got really busy with work and with doctors’ appointments and even with my social life that despite all the interesting stuff happening in my life, I couldn’t put them into words due to lack of time. Today, though, is my third day of a two week break from the activities listed above (except for the trips to the doctors’) because of my corrective surgery last Monday and I will try to talk about it as much as I can.

So what’s a deviated septum and how did it come to be?

Nasal septum deviation or deviated nasal septum (DNS) is a physical disorder of the nose, involving a displacement of the nasal septum. Some displacement is common, affecting 80% of people, most unknowingly. – Wikipedia

My doctor says it’s either you were born with it or it is caused by trauma. I’m not sure which has caused mine, because back when I was five years old, I was in a car accident where I hit my nose on the hard shell of the front seat. I don’t remember it being checked back then, but it might have just made some permanent damage. All I remember was walking around with a swollen nose for like a week.

Fast forward 20 years, it finally bothered me. It started last summer when I was feeling a constant post-nasal drip, causing me to clear my throat every so often. I went to my GP and they gave me some medication. By then my throat was really sore as well. While the soreness and swelling stopped eventually, the post-nasal drip didn’t and I kept sounding like Dolores bleeding Umbridge the entire time. I remember it catching people’s attention whenever I clear my throat in public, the same sound you make when you have been watching someone doing something they shouldn’t be doing. It gave me a hard time especially at work where I can’t help but make those sounds a few times  in a day.

So when I went back to my GP, he then prescribed me with allergy medication, blaming my condition to the weather. Simultaneously, they drew some blood and I was asked to come back for the results. A week later, I came in and said the allergy medication didn’t work and he explained that it can’t work because they didn’t find any signs of allergies in my blood tests. So he then sent me to an ENT.

Getting an appointment at the ENT took a few weeks. When the day came, I was having bad luck because the ENT’s equipment broke and he couldn’t look through my nose. So anyway, he asked me what I had been doing with this condition and handed him the blood test results from my GP. I told him about the allergy medication and he kept asking why I took them when, according to my blood test, I wasn’t suffering from any allergies? I had no answer to that question and I just brushed it off as doctor politics. WTVR.

He gave me another appointment for another allergy test, since I was still experiencing the symptoms, but this one was a skin-prick test, just to exclude the allergy theory for sure. I didn’t get the appointment until after a month later, though, so imagine my frustration at not knowing what’s going on and just prolonging the illness. But the test went by quickly and I got the results right away, and I came back to talk to the ENT about it another week later. The last angle he wanted to look at was the deviated septum. Unlike for most people with this disorder, it can actually be seen in the mirror if you tilt your head far enough back and look through your nose. Well, mine looked pretty symmetrical so I never would have thought this would eventually be the problem. He sent me to get an MRI done and when we looked over the results together, this came out:

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This is an image from above my head and this was one that showed a pretty obvious displacement in my nose, which apparently is the main source of my problems. He explained to me how it can be fixed, which is by surgery, and we discussed a few pros and cons. After giving me enough time to decide whether to go through with it or not, we set an appointment for the surgery itself and for the preparatory measures.

The Surgery –  Septoplasty

Despite being on probation period at work, they let me go through with it as soon as possible instead of waiting for my regular contract to kick in, which won’t be until this summer – peak season in our industry. So I took my two weeks off from work and went under the knife. It was an outpatient operation so I had my wife and mum wait for me at the waiting room to bring me home after. I was called to the operating room, I was given general anaesthesia, and the rest was history. The surgery was supposed to take about 25-30 mins and I woke up about two hours later, which was later than I had expected. The anaesthesiologist came in again to tell me about my blood pressure dropping mid-surgery, and that while everything went great, I should maybe talk to a cardiologist about what happened. I guess that’s why I was woken up so late.

The nurses asked me about how I felt and I told them I had a headache – normal, and that my teeth were hurting – apparently, also normal. I remember feeling this way back when I was recovering from my tonsillectomy, where my gums were being pulled by the tissue to cover the wounds from the removal of my tonsils. Why I experienced the exact same pain this time, I wasn’t sure. My throat also felt really dry and sore which was due to the tube put in there to help me, I guess, breathe. I was given pain medication which we had to wait a few minutes for to kick in. The nurse came back asking again how I felt and when I told her I was still in pain, she asked for permission to give me another shot. I then felt a bit dizzy and tried to fall asleep, which proved hard having to breathe through my mouth and I was scared that I wasn’t breathing enough. I also remember drinking lots of water through a straw and eventually I had to pee like badly and I was escorted to the toilet to make sure I don’t collapse. My wife was then called to help me get dressed so we could finally go home. Only then was I able to start checking out what’s really going on inside my nose: both holes were stuffed with tamponades so far up that I could barely see them.

Post-operational Experience

Day 1

Before leaving the outpatient center, I still had a gauze under my nose to catch the dripping blood. I was advised to remove it once I got home, for hygienic reasons, and use Kleenex instead from then on. It felt like a never ending nosebleed from one nostril, and runny nose from the other. I had icepacks on my forehead and the nape of my neck the first night. I couldn’t sleep well that night because I could only breathe through my mouth, and I had the feeling that every time I dozed off, I would just stop breathing altogether and I woke up in panic. Some time in the night I eventually took the stronger pain medication they gave me to at least help me with my discomfort but it only really made me dizzy and didn’t help with my inability to fall asleep.

Day 2

In the morning I had my doctors’ appointment to take the tamponades out. I went there with my mom and she was just watching close by. The doctor first took out the one from the side he didn’t cut from, and it was really uncomfortable. Tears were streaming down my face involuntarily but he explained, more for my mother’s sake than my own, that it’s caused by penetrating the insides of my face and not by pain. He then took out the other one, which was a bit painful but it was soon over. I looked at the tray I was holding below my head where he placed the tamponades he took out just at the same time he asked me whether I wanted to see them or not. “I guess it’s too late now”, I told him. And I’m not gonna lie, they were about 7cm long. He saw how the blood drained from my face so he reclined the chair I was sitting on while he typed up his protocol. He had some pleasant bedside manners on him and he kept reassuring me that I was a strong woman and that I had been through a lot in the last 24 hours. He then let me transfer to a stretcher in the other room so he could see other patients and asked me to come back again in three days to do some more vacuuming in my nose. I rested there for another ten minutes before we called a taxi to take us home.

I still have the splints inside to keep my septum in place and they will be taken out on Monday, that’s exactly a week after the operation and it should be easier than the removal of the tamponades. At night I was able to sleep rather well, I was even breathing through my nose while asleep.

To be continued…