In A Pickle  

Warding off influenza 'reaper' with homeopathic remedies

Home treatments for the flu

My life force was ripped from my body and caught it up in an invisible tornado, which made my head spin and legs turn into spaghetti.

Collapsing onto the bed, I waited for the inevitable. The phone brought me back to the land of the living. It was my friend Morningstar and she wept at the sound of my voice, asking if I felt like I was going to die.

“Whaaat? Uhhh, I dunno, maybe,” I replied. She begged me not to leave her, which made me realize the gravity of my situation.

“Don’t go, promise me you won’t” she shrieked.

It compelled me to fight back against an illness that wanted me dead.

“Okay, okay,” I mumbled and hung up.

“Stay awake or you’ll die, I told myself.” I dragged my butt out of bed and encouraged my husband to do the same.

“It’s not good to lie down so much. Fluid will build up in our lungs and we’ll end up with phenomena. Get up and let’s have some homeopathic meds and another onion poultice.”

We used various tried and true, ancient folk remedies, including mustard plasters which work on a variety of lung ailments. Mustard promotes increased blood circulation to the skin surface and opens up the respiratory tract. The phlegm loosens up and helps prevent chest congestion from getting worse. Seeing a doctor wasn’t always possible back then, so the mighty mustard plaster saved many people.

Along with the plasters and poultices applied to our chests, we also took the following vitamins, minerals supplements, including H20 as a healing modality:

• Vitamins D3 and C

• Quercetin

• K2

• Zinc

• Selenium

• NAC—N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine

• Colloidal vegetable iodine diluted with filtered water and sprayed in the nose and mouth

• Bronchosan - a cough tincture

• Steam inhalations with 2 drops of tea tree oil or oil of oregano

• Hydrotherapy–hot and cold foot bath

• Flu bomb tea (garlic, onion, rosemary, ginger and cayenne pepper with a smidgen of honey)

• Sunshine and fresh air

We employed these life-saving measures and pulled through without long-term side effects. Initially, I was skeptical, but desperate enough to try anything. Our church family popped by with these products, along with casseroles and soups of various kinds. Their kindness, generosity and prayers spurred us on.

However, during that first night of illness, I awoke at three a.m. and wrote my children a goodbye letter just in case. I addressed them all in the same document, acknowledging my failures to them individually and my deepest regrets.

Even though they’d forgiven me long ago, I still felt guilty. This time was different. I had the clarity only the dying could have. Nonetheless, I didn’t mail it for a couple months until I was well again. I didn’t want to alarm them unnecessarily.

More than a year later, I realized I no longer carried that crushing weight of self reproach. What peace of mind I received.

I’ve had several life-threatening accidents, illnesses and injuries that were brutal, but this respiratory infection took the cake. While, at the time, I told myself I survived worse, I was worried the “grim reaper” would be victorious.

In a creepy twist of fate, I’d written a fictional story about having a date with the “dark angel,” and then was struck with the disease the next day. Was it a coincidence? Or had I been toying with an evil force and nearly paid the ultimate price? There are powers and principalities in the unseen realms with which we mere mortals should not engage. I learned my lesson.

Knowledge is power, but in spite of that, I had got sick again eight months later. But I knew the drill and fought it off with the same protocol.

I have had brushes with death before and warded off Mr. Reaper. So you’ll just have to wait, oh angel of death, God’s more powerful than you are and He’s not done with me yet.

(The information published here is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.)

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Ogopogo not alone when it comes to mythical lake monsters in Canada

Serpents of the deep

The beast appeared through the fog, its eyes glowed yellow as the sun.

Fire blasted from its mouth, which heated the sea. Smoke billowed out of his nostrils, blackening the skies. As Leviathan swam, the water churned like a boiling cauldron.

It looked like a dragon with the body of a snake, and it slithered effortlessly through the depths. Its spiky scaled skin was impenetrable armour, no arrow or spear could pierce the hide or belly. This brute was the T. rex of the ocean. Leviathan had huge interlocking teeth from which no prey could escape.

Armies equipped with primitive weapons might as well have been throwing toothpicks at it. Iron bars couldn’t hold it because it snapped the metal like rotten wood. It craved live human flesh. Those lucky enough to flee went insane or dropped dead of a heart attack.

Leviathan was a primordial sea monster recorded in several places in the Bible, including the book of Job 41: 1-34. The gory scene took place in the Mediterranean Sea during the 6th Century B.C.

Along with Leviathan was a creature called Behemoth, which resembled a sauropod dinosaur and lived in the marshes. (Job 40:18) The Behemoth’s tail stood high as a cedar tree, and when tromping on dry land, its enormous appendage left massive ruts.

Throughout history, sea monsters documented worldwide shared many characteristics.

In Ontario’s Lake Superior, a dinosaur lurks. Her name is Mishipeshu, nick-named Mishi, who made the water churn as a boiling pot and she tipped over boats. The famed Edmund Fitzgerald (popularized in a song by singer Gordon Lightfoot) is one of the vessels she allegedly capsized.

Mishi, an armoured amphibian, had pointed scales on its body. She once walked on land, leaving cavernous trenches behind her. The Algonquian people immortalized her by creating a petroglyph of Mishipeshu on a rock face. The painting is century’s old, pre-dating Columbus. Mishi’s portrait features the head of a lynx or panther and the body of a viper.

Our very own Okanagan Lake is said to have a giant serpent that occasionally surfaces too. Its name is Ogopogo, or Nx?a?x??itk? (NN-Ha-Ha-Teek).

“Eyewitness” accounts state the critter is a 15-meter-long black or green snake, with five curves on its back and a horse shaped head. The cryptid (an animal not proven to exist) makes strange whooshing sounds while swimming towards onlookers.

On Oct.19, Colleen and Dale Hanchar photographed a peculiar image while out boating on Okanagan Lake. It looked like it had a wolf’s head with knobby horns for ears. Cryptozoologist Adam Benedict said that it was probably an enormous bird. Perhaps it was a wooden carving tossed in the water.

Whereas there’s no scientific evidence to prove Ogopogo, or any other sea monster, is authentic, many indigenous people acknowledge and believe N'ha-a-I,tk is real, along with others who claim to have seen him.

The creature is a lake spirit that links local First Nation people to their land and water and protects the valley. They believe the mysterious aquatic entity comes from another dimension and it is an honour to see it.

Some say there are many living fossils haunting Canadian lakes including:

• Manipogo—Lake Winnipeg, MB

• Champ—Lake Champlain, QC

• Cressie—Crescent Lake, NFL Labrador

• Gaasyendictha—Gaasy, Lake Ontario

• Igopogo—Lake Simcoe, ON

• Kingstie—Lake Ontario, Kingston, ON

• Memphre—Lake Memphremagog, Magog, QC

• Mugwump—Lake Timiskaming, Ont/QC Boundary

• Mussie—Muskrat Lake, ON

• Ol’Slavery—Great Slave Lake, NWT

• Ponik—Lake Pohenegamook, QC

• Thetis—Thetis Lake, B.C.

• Shuswaggi—Shuswap Lake, B.C.

• Pressie—Lake Superior, ON

• Saggy—Saginaw Bay, MI, Lake Huron, ON

• Yawu?nik--Kootenay, Columbia Rivers, Columbia Lake and Arrow Lakes, B.C.

Since antediluvian times, there has been documentation of hundreds of water-dwelling monsters around the globe. Notably, one that resembles Mishi is the Bunyip of Australia. Several Australian Indigenous people described their local man-eating mermonster as having the head of a black panther with a snake’s body. The word Bunyip means evil spirit.

While most sea monsters are elusive, camera shy and benign, a few of them were bloodthirsty ogres.

I am grateful that Ogopogo is primarily a gentle soul, without a hankering for human hors d’oeuvres.

It isn’t one to trifle with, however. According to the book The Kelowna Story, an Okanagan History, there was a man called Chief Timbasket who scoffed at the legend and soon thereafter disappeared.

Searchers found his canoe empty and up a mountainside. No wave could have tossed it that far onto land.

It is believed the chief and his family were sucked under the waves in a violent storm and vanished.

So keep your cell phone handy, and be respectful, as who knows what strange beasts lurk in our local waters and forests and are just waiting to greet you.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Children need support

Casting off the dunce cap

I hung my head in shame as they sneered and snickered while I shuffled past them, headed down the hallway to the dummy classroom.

It felt like the death march for my morale. At the tender age of 10, I was completely devastated.

That memory was laying in wait when I clicked on a documentary called Subnormal, A British Scandal, produced by the BBC in 2021. The program resurrected some ghosts, reminding me of my childhood nightmare of an education.

Although I wasn’t a victim of racism, like the ones featured in the film, I was a casualty of the same type of learning system; having parallel experiences with what the mostly black children suffered in England. We hailed from different continents but came from the bleak era of the 1960s and 1970s.

They labeled those children as being educationally subnormal. Nothing could’ve been further from the truth, as the immigration process had traumatized the kids. When their parents went to England, they left the little ones behind. They worked hard to earn enough money to send for their sons and daughters. By the time the children arrived, the families were strangers. The youngsters had to cope with being uprooted and sent to a foreign land.

Life emotionally scarred me too, and it was getting worse. My peers and I sat around making paper dolls and cardboard houses. The instructor did not teach regular schoolwork, reading, writing, and arithmetic. The powers that be believed we were too simple to do much in life, and a standard education was a waste. The best-case scenario was for me to be a hairdresser and the boys to learn a trade, or become labourers if that was too challenging.

My mother went to bat for me when they wanted to ship me off to a “special” school in Calgary. She saw how dejected I was. Back to regular school for me, but not before serious damage was done.

Sadly, I lived up to their low expectations, and a few of us turned it into a competition to see who could get the lowest marks.

I’d been drowning in the classroom for several years, with no teacher to throw me a life preserver. My brain had frozen over and I couldn’t answer the simplest questions, or perform meagre tasks. I became the joke of the school, “Duh, duh, Doreeeeen,” the other children taunted. Snapping out of my stupor, I responded with a left hook.

When I reached my early teens, I realized I shouldn’t behave that way, as the boys had become stronger than me. No longer being able to cope, I turned to alcohol and cigarettes, as I couldn’t stand the skin I lived in. Life went downhill from there.

Hope springs eternal, however, and thus was my case.

Years later, a friend recommended I enrol at university for a semester. I excelled in the psychology courses I took as a mature student and soon went to college and participated in an IQ test.

It was a gut punch when the psychologist diagnosed me with a low score. He gave me a poor prognosis for my education and career goals. I’d recently left an abusive marriage and was in shock. I did not know the repercussions of trauma until I went to a workshop decades later, where the experts explained how it affected learning.

A child cannot learn if they are in a hyper vigilant state, just trying to survive each day as it comes.

Apparently there are many people with anger management problems that don’t realize their temper outbursts are from anxiety, according to Jody Whiteley, who has a blog called Hope and Giggles.

Whiteley thinks there are five F's as a trauma response—fight, flight, freeze, feed and fornicate.

Whereas the first three are self explanatory, the last two, feed and fornicate, aren’t obvious.

When our Neolithic ancestors had to hunt and gather, they sometimes went hungry. Therefore it was a good idea to gorge oneself when there was plenty of food. Likewise, it was beneficial to mate. Sometimes they'd kill to get the privilege of passing on their genes. Having sex was the best way to ensure survival.

The amygdala part of the brain still activates our survival impulses today. However, it may leave a person bewildered and ashamed afterwards.

“Remember, you are in charge now.” said Whiteley. “Sit, stand and walk like a confident person. It sends a message to yourself (that) you've got this. It takes time and patience to retrain an anxiety response. Think of yourself as a loving parent to yourself.”

I hope the education system has learned to love children enough to drop the labels and work through the children's pain while casting off the proverbial dunce cap.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


Trucker steps in to save stabbing victim

Stepping in to help

Justin McDonald watched in horror as a man pummelled a petite woman only one-third his size alongside West Kelowna highway.

The truck driver had a bird's-eye view from his cab and didn’t think twice about helping her. He slammed on the brakes of his truck and parked in the middle of the highway. With a winch bar in hand, he charged after the pair. It was Dec. 2, 2021, around three p.m.

He told me this story some nine-months later but for him, it was as vivid as if it happened yesterday.

The woman, McDonald explained, begged for mercy as her assailant dragged her by her hair down the sidewalk, and angrily kept whaling on her.

McDonald stepped around the side of the truck and said he bellowed at the man to stop hitting her or he’d clobber him on the head and wouldn’t stop until he quit moving. The two men went toe to toe when McDonald suddenly realized the abuser had a six-inch filet knife in his blood-covered hand.

When the trucker saw the woman bleeding out of the many holes in her shirt, he panicked. The perpetrator fled, jumped into a pickup truck and drove over a traffic sign as he sped away.

McDonald said he yelled for someone to call 911 as he tried to stop the bleeding with some balled up fresh paper towel he’d grabbed from his semi. The injured woman held the blood-soaked bundle to her abdomen and told him how some bystanders laughed and pointed but wouldn’t intervene. That was later verified by street surveillance footage.

An elderly couple appeared from nowhere and handed McDonald their cell phone to call for help. He spoke to the operator, but feared the culprit would come back and finish them all off. So he returned the phone and put on his headset to talk to the emergency dispatcher. He then stood guard with a baseball bat grip on his trusty metal rod.

Just as the police arrived, McDonald spotted the same pickup as it screeched to a halt at a nearby house. He hollered to the officers they needed to go arrest the guy and pointed in the suspect's direction.

Meanwhile, he moved his 18-wheeler off to the side of the road as it was blocking traffic. He remained until the ambulance took the woman away to hospital and told the authorities he had to deliver his load in Penticton but would go to the station later and give a statement.

As promised, he returned and gave a video recorded account of the incident. He also found out the stabbing victim was going to survive, thanks to his intervention. Somehow, it seemed the blade missed her vital organs.

McDonald said he was a mess and went for a drive later in his personal vehicle and the police stopped him. He recounted what he’d just been through and they were sympathetic. One of them put his arm around McDonald’s shoulders and told him he’d seen a lot of gruesome things in his career and was in therapy over it. Victim Services would be beneficial, the officer suggested.

However, Justin discovered victim services weren’t that useful, so he turned to TikTok and Face book for comfort instead. He met a fellow trucker and other strangers online from around the globe who consoled and supported him in the tough weeks ahead.

The victim and her mother thanked McDonald through the RCMP for saving her life.

He is an unsung hero who, in-spite-of his fear, confronted an armed and dangerous would-be murderer. He deserves a medal of bravery and proper support.

Trauma educator Emillie Macas, featured recently on The Global Morning Show, Vancouver says trauma polarization can be dangerous for those who cannot afford professional care. “Trauma dumping” occurs when social media is used to generate sympathy and backing. She says people are crying for help and 211 is the number to find free resources. Crisis Services Canada is available 24/7/365. Call 1-833-456-4566, or Text 'Start' to 45645.

Regarding the callous spectators, I think it’s terrifying to realize the human brain doesn't differentiate between fantasy and reality, and we become desensitized by watching shows featuring violent crimes and homicide.

That could explain why the amused onlookers did nothing but cheer on the offender.

We aren’t much different from those in ancient Roman times, when Christians were thrown into the ring with half- starved lions for the entertainment of a jeering crowd in the coliseum.

How close are we as a society to becoming like those barbaric ancient peoples?

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Doreen Zyderveld-Hagel writes about the humour in every-day life, and gets much of her inspiration from the late Erma Bombeck’s writing style. 

Doreen also has a serious side, shares her views on current events, human-interest stories and sometimes the downright bizarre. 

She can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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