Zinc Lozenges

I’ve been thinking a lot about health & wellness here these past few days. Reid continues to recover from his tummy bug – which good! Except, oh right, he still has a chest cold.

And fun! Graham now has it [the chest cold] too.

He is also chock full of vague complaints like he “has stuffing in his throat” or “cracklies when [he] breathe[s]”. He also looked at me and said, “Mom, I think I have a sore throat.” This comment, for no good reason took me back to a time when I was home from college for break.


I walked into my parents’ living room and flopped onto one of the armchairs and complained about having gotten a sore throat. My mom was sitting across from me on the couch, reading, and mentioned that she’d gotten some zinc lozenges from the chiropractor that I could try.

“Have you tried them already?”
“Did they work?”
“I”m not sure.”
“You’re not sure??”
“I don’t remember.”

I laughed and gave her a hard time. How do you not remember if something worked or not? Mom and I are in full agreement – the sore throat is the worst part of the cold. So how could you have such an unsure assessment of something that was supposed to fix the worst part of a cold.

She ignored my jabs and asked again if I wanted one, so I agreed to try it. She went to the kitchen and opened a prescription pill container (not actually a prescription, by the way, just the container that it happened to be sold in. Sketchy, no?) She extracted one of these.


Like this… only the size of a milk cap

There were no words. It was gray-brown, and grainy-looking. Flat and HUGE. Mom just said, “I know.”

I popped it in my mouth and held it there. A huge Necco wafer gone horribly wrong. It tasted like it looked. Chalky, grainy, brown. Slightly metallic. Earthy, like someone ground up and dried down a bunch of twigs from the backyard.

I moved it around – as one does with a lozenge – but found it to be sort of unwieldy and obtrusive. I had to have grimaced. Mom said, “Give it a minute.”

So, we both resumed our original places in the living room. She with her book, and I with my twig-wafer. The thing slowly started to dissolve, making it only rougher. The muddy flavor was increasing, as was the metallic taste. My stomach started to turn. I wondered if the sensation was psychosomatic or if there was actually something in the lozenge I was physically rejecting. The worst part was: I still had a good quarter-sized lozenge left to dissolve – the thickness of about three quarters too.

I looked over and said, “Dith you finish thith entire thing?” Mom replied, “No, I had to spit it out.” I sprung off the couch, spit it out in the kitchen and came back to the living room. The metallic aftertaste and the nausea lingered. When I came back, she continued, “I’m not sure if it actually works or if it’s just so bad that it takes your mind off your sore throat.”

“So,” she continued, “did it work?”

Green around the gills and trying to bring feeling back to my tongue, I thought about it and then realized…

“I’m not sure.”


  1. Made me laugh! I remember the whole thing!!

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