The real problem with healthcare: Russian cures.

I am sick.

As if it weren’t evident by my recent Tweets:

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What can I say? I suffer in silence. Like a martyr.

The weekend of my sickness coincided with the weekend, Mr. B’s American friend was over.  As a result, he got to bear witness to some of the craziest healthcare he’s probably ever seen in his life.  Poor Friend.  You did not deserve this.

On Saturday morning, I woke up with a fever of 500 degrees Kelvin, after hallucinating in a dream that somehow me and my parents had gone to the West Bank, but gotten rocks thrown at us because we had gone in a Palestinian area.  But the rocks turned into frogs that talked to us.  Some of the frogs had Moshe Sharrett’s face.  That’s when I woke up and realized I needed Tylenol.  Also, since my throat hurt, I needed emergency relief.

“Boil me some water and bring the baking soda,” I told Mr. B, no doubt startling Friend.  What you do, is you put the baking soda in the boiling water and then you gargle with it.  This is a time-tested Russian cure dating back to 1993, when my mom told me to use it for my first major cold in America.  It beats cough drops, throat spray, and socialized healthcare.

Luckily, I didn’t need to go any further, because I started to feel better, but there was more that could have been done. If I felt my nose was getting clogged, I could have boiled a whole soup pot of water and then, precariously thrown a towel over my head and stood over the pot,creating a vacuum so that the vapor of the water reached me and breathed in for 5-10 minutes.  If you have never seen a Russian woman standing over a pot of hot water, it is truly a sight to behold.

I attempted this procedure with Mr. B when he was sick in the fall, to continue the tradition of passing down into our own little family.  “Be careful when you lean over, that you don’t put the towel on the stove, because you will burn yourself and die, defeating the purpose of making you better.”

If THAT didn’t work, I’d move on to banki.  Banki (jars) is the worst.  I believe in English, banki are known as fire cupping, which, right away makes it sound as bad as it is.  Basically, what happens is illustrated below:


Also here:

That’s right.  It’s supposed to clear up your cold somehow.  And it does.  But it is NOWHERE NEAR AS RELAXING AS IT LOOKS.  Mainly because we didn’t have special cupping jars in the Soviet Union, and my mom and aunt used real jars on me when I was 4 or 5.  Also there was animal fat involved.    Anyway, banki are perhaps the most terrifying experience of my childhood and I hope never to God to come near those again.  Unless we get government healthcare and I have to go before a death panel. Maybe then I’ll consider it.

So there you have it.  The the trinity of Russian healthcare.   I’m off to gargle now.