Pass the drugs

Seriously, could this cold have worse timing? (Yes. Yes it could. Please forget I said that or the universe will accept it as a dare and send me another cold at a worst time, like a year when I am finishing a book the week before Christmas while caring for newborn twins or something.) I am truly miserable feeling today, which has me entirely thrilled.

To my way of thinking, if I feel this bad now, then obviously the cold is maxing out and I shall feel far better tomorrow when I am in New Jersey, and on the weekend for Rhinebeck. Timing is everything, and I am going to be very kind to myself today to try and get well enough to get on the plane this evening. At present, I have deep and serious concerns about what happens if someone who’s head is “full” – to put it delicately, gets on a plane. Is it dangerous? Messy? Will the liquid in my head expand like the liquid in a water bottle? I keep thinking about the way that I saw a bag of chips puff up and expand when they pressurized the cabin a while ago and then doing some extrapolation and feeling the unmistakable stirrings of panic.

I’m taking myself down to the village in short order (if you see me, do not to speak to me. I am not fit for human contact beyond what is absolutely essential) and I am going to buy things I cannot live without.

1. A stinking boatload of pharmaceuticals to try and get myself to the airport. I am normally a very gentle user of these things and rely on natural means to support my health but dudes…..SCREW IT. I am going to embrace better living though chemistry and find a drug or ten that will leave me with the wits to identify my luggage while simultaneously avoiding the head explosion I feel certain will happen if I cannot reduce the amount of liquid present in my head. I am going to look for the words “non-drowsy” and “miracle cure” on the label. If I cannot find them, I may buy scotch.

2. Some buttons, because I am determined, dastardly cold or not, to have a Kauni Cardigan for Rhinebeck. I trimmed the steeks and wove in my ends.


It struck me, while I was concerning myself with these innards, that the inside of the sweater is possibly as beautiful as the outside.


When I return, buttons and drugs procured, I shall fill myself with as many cold medications as it is safe to put in me, and lie on the cool floor of the kitchen with my yarn as my pillow until it is time to go to the airport.

No problem. I can handle it. We’re going to have fun. Party on.

237 thoughts on “Pass the drugs

  1. Decongestants are your friend.
    Sudafed, Benadryl if you can take a nap.
    Hands down I always take Sudafed though before getting on a plane whether I need it or not.
    Popping ears is no fun even when you aren’t sick.

  2. The sweater truly is as beautiful on the inside as the outside. Lovely, lovely, lovely.
    I hope you feel better soon and are able to enjoy Rhinebeck.

  3. Yes, drugs are a good idea especially if you are coming to Jersey. ;~) Please feel better… but please get on the plane. All of us knitters in Jersey can’t wait to see you!!!!!

  4. I hope the drugs do their magic ultra-soon for you. Also, do take some chewing gum with you. It helps with the ear pressure/popping. It helped me last time I had to fly with a “full head.”

  5. Zicam and Airborne – works every time to get over it faster. And it doesn’t interfere with the “actual” pharmaceuticals. Good luck!

  6. I see thread in those trimmings. Someday I shall get you to embrace cutting without reinforcement. Someday.
    Meantime, if you want some Airborne, we’ll be packing plenty of it. And, dude, didja see the kilt?

  7. I will not get to see you in your Kauni at Rhinebeck so I sure hope you model it on your blog – maybe when the red doesn’t match your nose anymore?
    It did occur to me though that the conbination of pressurized sinuses in a pressurized cabin might lead to a redefinition of “commingled” that wouldn’t be appreciated by the other passengers.

  8. As I pharmacist knitter, I recommend decongestants for your sinuses, ibuprofen if you have any aches and pains (probably good for the flight, too, cause full sinuses + air travel = headache.) and a travelling sock for anxiety.
    Now get drink plenty of fluids, take a nap and have a ton of fun on your trip!

  9. flying with a cold, for me, is TORTURE. the pressure in the head becomes unbearable, and when you think it can’t get worse, the person in the seat next to you who is totally immune to cabin pressure begins chatting merrily and expecting you to engage in this conversation. Try not to kill that person, they frown on that sort of thing on planes these days. I too swear by SUDAFED, but NOT the PE stuff, get the real McCoy. Pop one of those babies 30 min before boarding and another one upon boarding. I do this everytime I fly, cold or no, as it dries out the nose and makes it harder for all those nasty germs living in airplane air to set up housekeeping in your head. Drink lots of WATER. I know you may be tempted by alcohol, but stick with the water till you’re safely on the ground. Do as Auntie Patti says and you’ll be fine. Trust me, I’ve been there.

  10. I am excited to meet you at Rhinebeck- do you have any suggestions for a first time fiber festival attender?
    oh, and I promise I’m not creepy, I do read your blog all the time, and forgot that means I know who you are but you don’t know who I am….. ok, I am going to stop before I am more of a stalker…

  11. Ear nose and throat doc told me in that situation to use Afrin – it just squirts up the nose, opens it all up and doesn’t leave you wacked out, spacy or speedy.

  12. Feel better, Steph. Remember the recipe I sent you last year– hot tea, brown sugar, spices, and rum. Take it just before your talk, and your voice will last an hour.

  13. As my co-blogger and co-Rx knitter Joline has already suggested – decongestant. YOu can get a lovely ibuprofen and pseudoephedrine mix. Just ask your pharmacist! And definitely take prior to getting on the plane – like 1 hr before boarding. The chip analogy is probably true.
    Wishing you rest, sleep, less-snot and a finished Kauni!

  14. Mucinex works wonders for clearing the goo out of your head. If that fails, my mom (a nurse) recommends a good dose of brandy.
    Also, have you seen the weather for Rhinebeck? (I’m checking it pretty obsessively, and it looks to be pretty warm – highs of 20 and 21 for the weekend!) You may not need to worry about the buttons for that cardigan..

  15. IF you can sleep, Tylenold Cold PM will knock you out and you’ll feel so much better when you wake. And get some Airborne. Take one every hour with glass of water. It will help shorten cold and goes better with your all natural philosophy, and as Aunt Patti said, you need the water! Good luck in NJ! Even though I spent my childhood there, I regret I am now far away or I would come see you with some nice hot tea.

  16. I do hope your present condition improves by tomorrow…And, bear in mind that it is currently close to 80 degrees here…better take short sleeved shirt…have a good flight, Ruth in NJ

  17. …also get the really really soft tissues, because you deserve the best, cause you need to go to Rhinebeck to help Megan and Rachel H. buy us a B.F.L. fleece. Safe trip.

  18. What a horrible time to feel yucky! I struggle with lots of sinus issues, and combined with the drugs others have suggested, I think you should try nasal rinses. While the idea is creepy, my ENT has me using a nasal rinse on a regular basis and it really helps. It is basically ph balanced saline solution that you squirt up one nostril and out the other.(Sorry, I know, really icky thought, but it is totally natural.) It took my quite a bit of standing at the sink to gain the courage to try it the first time, but I am now a believer and find it to be quite soothing. Your mileage may vary, but you sound desperate enough to try it. Please note, DO NOT do this with regular table salt becuase without balancing the ph it will sting terribly. The NeilMed kits should be at most every pharmacy.

  19. Your instinct about flying with a stuffed head are, unfortunately, exactly correct. The bag of chips is a good analogy. I flew once with a bad cold and I thought my sinuses were going to explode through the roof of my mouth. The pressure was extremely painful. I can’t remember whether it was taking off or landing that hurt, but I do remember that it hurt a lot. Like you, I usually avoid cold medicine, but I would definitely recommend medicating to clear your sinuses during the flight.

  20. {sigh} Sending all kinds o’ Jewish Mother Health vibes your direction (it wouldn’t do to send chicken soup anyway). I don’t even know what “Rhinebeck” is, although I’m sure I will when I look it up — but I’ll bow three times a day in its direction because it sounds like That Sort of Thing. I think if I’m really good when I die I’ll find myself next to you on a very loooong flight (heaven, perhaps?)

  21. I completely sympathize with you!!! I have someone flying in from Florida tomorrow to head to Rhinebeck with me, and I feel like I have been run over by a truck.
    Get well!

  22. Take Mucinex. Not the DM – just the regular. Two of ’em at a time. Drink LOTS of water. Guiafenesin liquifies secretions (ugh) and keeps head from being all pluggy-uppy.
    Also, a neti pot is worth its weight in gold. Nasal irrigation. Google “neti pot.” (And use kosher salt, not table salt.)

  23. Sudafed is definately the way to go…. one or two 30-45 minutes before you are on your flight and it will really help.

  24. GET DRIXORAL – there are 3 kinds, flu, cold, and NONDROWSY. Cold will get you thru the night, nondrowsy will get you through the day. REALLY…

  25. Does anyone out there know of a yarn/knitting store(s) in Wichita KS?? I am going to be there over the weekend and I know Stephanie was there in September and there were hundreds of knitters to see her…..where do they buy their stash???

  26. I meant to say this yesterday, but I spaced. I just wanted to thank you for being so wonderfully clear in your explanations and tutorials! (The same thing goes for your books!) I’m the type of person who catches on really quickly when I learn by actually doing something, but I absolutely stink at learning just by reading about it. So if you sit me down and knit/weave/cook/sew/etc. with me, I’ll get it right away, and take off. If I try to learn from a book, I feel like I’m a walking learning disability.
    That goes for everything *except* your tutorials. You make things so clear, so understandable, and in plain English, that I always get it!
    So thank you. And…uh…do you know anything about cars?

  27. Right. Canadian drugs. The silver Neo-Citran Extra Strength Chest Congestion and Cough: 1 gram acetaminophen, guaifenisen, pseudoephedrine, dextromethorphan. This is the crack you want: it comes in pouches appropriately sized for airplane tea, it is not liquid or liquigel-cappy, and holy cow, dude.
    Other formulations will either have the drowse factor or the crappy YOU METHMAKERS ARE EVIL non-decongestant decongestant. Just… don’t take any tylenol. All day.
    Ibuprofen is fine in short-term concurrent use, says Chronic Pain Woman.
    There is no Mucinex here, nor is there Zicam. Buy a stash on arrival – Mucinex in particular is your friend, because time-release guaifenisen will make the cement be not quite so cementy. But carry water.
    Wednesday White: trying all meds so you don’t have to.

  28. Hi Stuffy Steph,
    Seriously, flying with a stuffed head is awful and very painful. Take decongestants like Sudafed for the ears and sinuses and Afrin will clear up your nose.
    Try to get your head and ears as clear as possible.
    The sweater is gorgeous. I have the yarn and needles ready to go, but since you struggled with it, I am compleletly overwhelmed and very afraid to start. I am even having trouble with the trim on the baby tulip sweater so you can see my poor level of abiity.
    I hope you have a wonderful time on your travels and your cold gets much better very soon.

  29. Four words, Stephanie:
    Advil Cold and Sinus
    This drug is, indeed, a miracle cure. It has gotten me back from places far and wide and tamed the pounding head, the swollen sinuses and cleared the nasal passages enough that I was able to make my ears clear on ascents and descents.
    Combine this with a shot of good whiskey and you’ll be all set. I PROMISE.

  30. for the plane….Benadryl. The knock you out kind. Then if your head does explode, you won’t notice it.
    Seriously, I feel for you.
    “Habbing a code” es no fun!

  31. 2 Words (or one hypenated one) Ny-quil! the stuff rocks! I used to think it was just mumbo jumbo – until I tried it. My colds have been much easier to deal with since I can now sleep at night. Use both the Day-Quil and Ny-Quil. Believe me, I’m someone who had chronic sinusitis and bronchitis off and on for years.
    Have fun! I am very envious!

  32. NICE!! I love the Timothy Leary quote πŸ˜€
    Rock out in Jersey, I hope you feel better! The cold kitchen floor is sure to help.

  33. The real question is – will they let you on the plane if you have more than 3oz of “stuff” in your head? Will they make you put it in 3oz container to be stored in a quart size plastic bag? Maybe you will be lucky and they will remove it because it’s not allowed on the plane. LOL
    Seriously…I hope the drugs work and you feel better soon!

  34. I am here to warn you that you will be tempted to stab yourself in the sinues with your knitting needles. I flew with a cold one time and I thought my face was going to explode. Good times.

  35. I’m with Mary Lou– for the plane, Afrin nasal spray, about 30 minutes before you board. LOTS OF FLUIDS– water, tea, juice.
    For sinus pain at home, I use a hot dry rice pack: Long thin sock filled with dry, raw (NOT COOKED!) rice, packed loosely enough that it can be mooshed into whatever shape fits your face, secure the end somehow (I tied a knot in mine), microwave for a minute or two, then lay it over your aching sinuses. The warmth will feel wonderful and should help them start to drain. Feel better and have a wonderful time!! — Carol in North Bend (Seattle area knitter of the gargantuan gray aran cardigan at Third Place Books Sept. 14)

  36. Definitely get some decongestant! On a trip to Europe (quite some time ago) I had a cold and during descent I literally thought my head was going to explode!… the world was going to end…. please shoot me now. Really, not to frighten you… your plane won’t nearly reach the altitude of going overseas… but seriously… medicate!… chew gum… anything… just prepare!

  37. Oh I have flown with a sinus infection and it was terrible. In addition to all helpful drugs and pharmaceuticals posted above, I suggest taking some saltines on the plane. I found the pressure and the draining sinuses made me extremely nauseous. I spent the whole cross-country flight repeating the mantra “I will not throw-up. This is me, not throwing up. I will not throw up…”

  38. The last time I flew, I had a terrible sinus infection. As we took off, I could feel…um…movement. It wasn’t uncomfortable, it was just…you know. Movement. Where there had previously been no movement before.
    Then, to my shock, my sinuses cleared. There was a bit of a high-pitched squeaky snorking noise during this. I don’t know if anyone else could hear it. My theory is that the air behind all the stuff expanded, pushing it to wherever stuff goes. Possibly down the back of the throat – I didn’t have to blow my nose.
    Alas, it all came back soon after landing. I was very sad.

  39. I find that hefty use (as in 1-2 cups liquid) of a neti pot as close to flight time as possible is a great way to clear my head so that things don’t implode with excess pressure. It took me forever to get round to trying one but I’ve been sick far less often since I did.

  40. Last spring I flew with the flu (it was like a cold only with body aches and fever) and a squirmy 15mo on my lap. It wasn’t especially fun but we got through it with plenty of Dayquil (I couldn’t take the drowsy stuff and cope with the kid) and accepting the fact that after a 2-hr plane trip with a head full of moucous you won’t be able to hear anything except your own breathing for a good 24 hours.
    Oh, and snorting warm salt water is good for clearing congestion. Please don’t ask me how I know.

  41. Garlic and sunshine are just about the best natural cures for everything. Fresh garlic is a natural antibiotic and will not interfere with any other meds you’re taking. Cut up a clove or two into pill-sized pieces, swish them in some olive oil, then swallow them with water like you would a pill. Then spend some time outside in the sunshine. It’ll help dry you up. And, of course, stop consuming those known mucous-producers: dairy and beer (yeah, sorry, but scotch is okay :-).

  42. We are sisters in the misery of the cold. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I’m not going to Rhinebeck. I’ve found that (at least in the lower 48), the non-drowsy drugs are easy to find; the drowsy ones are impossible to find. Good luck, feel better, and here’s hoping your head doesn’t explode.

  43. Sudafed is indeed fantastic, but make sure you go for the Non-Drying Sinus kind. Otherwise, when combined with the dryness of recycled airplane air your nasal passages will turn dryer than the Sahara and ache terribly. Mucinex D has the same active ingredients, but doesn’t seem to work as well. And to risk sounding repetitive, water, water, water. Hydration makes the…”stuff” looser and easier to remove. Good luck!!!

  44. Agreeing with others: Afrin, half hour before you get on the plane.
    And if you can find EarPlanes–they’re pressure-regulating earplugs–I have horrible ear issues on planes (with or without a cold) and I’ve been flying with these for years. They got me off having to always take a decongestant before flying.
    Feel better.

  45. I hope you are feeling better soon. It’s terrible to have something like an awful cold when there is something fun going on.
    To ease some of your panic (maybe) the only thing I have heard bad about flying when you are sick is someone who had a severely bad sinus infection and had some major pain on take off and landing because of the pressure. So, unless you have a sinus infection or an ear infection, you will probably be okay.

  46. Are you sure its not allergies? I felt the same way a couple weeks back and found out that’s what it was instead of a cold. And I didn’t develop allergies until the past couple of years (I’m now in my 30s). At any rate, I hope you feel better!!!

  47. You poor baby! I’m not sure what had me chuckling the most: “miracle cure” or “I’m going to embrace better living through chemistry” or “lie on the cool floor of the kitchen with my yarn as my pillow”. Either way, thanks for making me feel good. I can only hope it rebounds on you karmically and you feel better soon.

  48. Excellent. The indications are that you have not traced your malaise to the jealousy-vibes tracking you from South Bend immediately upon your SOAR posting. You should really be concentrating on placating me, not my microbial minions. I, in turn, am at work to shield you from finding out about Drixoral, though I see I have a few early-posters to wipe out.
    No problem.

  49. After having had some (vegetarian) sushi for lunch, I’m thinking that a good dose of wasabi would clear your sinuses. Feel better.

  50. I second the Ny-quil Day-quil options. YOU NEED DRUGS, or your head is going to really, really hurt while you’re flying. It’ll feel like your brains are trying to squeeze out of your ears. It’ll make you cry. Do the drugs.
    The inside is indeed gorgeous – bet if you wore it inside out, only other knitters would notice it was inside out, and they’d think you were a genius!

  51. Decongestants are pretty much the only way I survive flying with even the hint of a cold. Tablets _and_ nasal sprays on a bad day!

  52. BUCKLEY’S. Lots and lots of Buckley’s. You can’t get it here in the States (well, supposedly you can, but I can never find it, and trust me, I’ve tried.) There’s nothing like Buckley’s for clearing your sinuses and making you feel all warm inside. Okay, that’s assuming you can get the stuff down without gagging, but dude, it’s SO worth the agony.
    Good luck. And do your best to hide your agony until after the planne is in the air.

  53. Another vote for Sudafed – the real stuff (not the fake, do-nothing PE) – 2 to start, 1 for maintenance. I couldn’t live without the stuff, thanks to perpetual sinus problems. Also Advil or Aleve (or generic equivalent) if you’re achy. And definitely take some chewing gum with you, especially for take-off & landing.
    Hope you feel better soon & have a great trip!

  54. i find that most decongestants make me worse in the long run. i’ve had chronic ear and sinus infections off and on my whole life. the best thing i’ve ever found was suggested to me by mom (who’s incidentally a nurse) while i may have been having a nervous breakdown in the cold and flu isle of the local pharmacy.
    you should really try guaifenesin, its an expectorant, but it always gets my congestion moving when i’m seriously stuffed up. be sure to DRINK LOTS OF FLUIDS or it won’t work (you need that extra fluid to thin out the moucus). i use a brand called Humibid, it used to be prescription only but its moved to otc.
    hope you feel better soon!

  55. Oh no, I hope you make it through your flight okay! And don’t make the same mistake I did the last time I flew with a head cold. I was blowing my nose so obnoxiously that I figured I should go into the bathroom instead of spraying snot all over my fellow passengers, and then when I finally got my nose clear enough to breathe through it a little, all I could smell was… airplane bathroom. It was almost bad enough that I wished my nose was still stuffed.

  56. When you get to the airport (or the town) — look for EARPLANES. They are special plugs to put in your ears that equalize air pressure when ascending or descending. Those are the two worst times when your ears are clogged, as the pressure can get severe and push any infection into your inner ear or ear drum. Failing that, ask the steward/ess to give you two cups with HOT wet paper towels in them, and hold these over your ears while ascending or descending. The heat and humidity help open your ears a bit so that the pressure does not get too painful. Either one of these is quite critical to help keep your inner ears in one piece.
    It may also be helpful to dose yourself with a nasal decongestant spray before you talk off and again before you start to descend — Afrin works great, although I don’t know if that is available in Canada.
    I learned all this the hard way — I used to fly a lot for work and often had to fly with bad colds and allergies.

  57. Not to further the panic or anything, but I once got on a plane with an ear infection/head cold thingy, and actually felt my ear drum perforate. It didn’t squirt stuff or anything, but that night it drained this horrible, yellow stuff on my pillow.
    I felt better the next day, though.

  58. Once on the plane, ask the plane attendant to get two paper towels soaked in very hot (think burn your tongue hot) water in two separate cups. Smoosh the hot towels down to the bottom of the cup, drain out extra water so they don’t spill and stick the cups on your ears. It is the miracle airplane-head-stuffiness remedy. Other than that I recommend DayQuil and NyQuil, not sure if you can get those in Canada, I certainly can’t here in Germany and it makes me sad. The Kauni looks fabulous!

  59. Grab me some buttons for Sonnet, because I’ll never make it to a LYS before tomorrow! I’m going buttonless and hoping to run across something at Rhinebeck. Hopefully there’ll be a button vendor there. Somewhere. Feel better soon!! πŸ™‚

  60. I would recommend Coryzalia, a homeopathic medecine that does wonders for head colds – but it often makes matters worse by rying to drain everything at once. After that things get much better! Still, you don’t want to deal with that while you are flying so name brand drugs it is! Drixoral nasal spray – works instantly, put it in your carry on just in case. And Advil Cold and Sinus. And just before bed: Extra-Strength Neo-Citran with a shot of rum (Screech?) in it. Yes, I know it says not to take it with alcohol. Do you want to sleep or not?

  61. Good luck on the plane! Stuffed up heads and altitude are not a fun combo, but it sounds like you’ve got some good drug recommendations. It frightened me to see the bits of Kauni in your first picture — I’m almost to that stage, and I’m thinking I’m going to need scotch to get through the cutting of my first steeks… Have fun in Jersey!

  62. I do not have any good cold advice, but:
    Do be careful when sewing on bottons while full of snot and scotch… though the interior of your sweater IS beautiful, I think, when your head is expanding on the plane and everyone is looking at you, you WILL WANT the outside showing. That way, at least, everyone can admire the sweater. (In the manner of “That poor woman, look at her head! Well, at least she knows the right side of a sweater.”)

  63. The last time I flew with a cold I felt like my head was going to explode but happily it did not. Good luck and hope you are feeling better.

  64. I use Contac[R] 12-hour decongestant for airplanes,
    routinely (acetaminophen, pseudoephedrine hydrochloride, dextromethorphan hydrobromide). Oh, and I always wear a germ-fending-off mask – people look at me funny, but I don’t get “airplane throat” when I’m rigorous about it. (I do raise it to get on the plane, eat and drink.)
    Mucinex is good too (guaifenesin 600 mg).

  65. Hmm, about Afrin (assuming it’s available in Canada). It WORKS. However, the one time I tried it, I had rebound congestion that lasted for the rest of the week. I realize this varies a lot from person to person but it’s definitely not something you want to use more than a couple of times at a stretch.
    If you try it, I’d suggest using it ONCE right before the flight. Like I said, it REALLY works, though.
    Like I s

  66. Don’t you just love the cold season! It’s in full swing at our house as well. Go for the drugs and take it easy!! And if your head explodes on the plain can you pass your camera to someone to take a picture? πŸ™‚

  67. Take all the drugs you can, but also take Cold-eez. I’ve found it usually works even when I don’t start it as soon as I should.
    I once flew with the worst flu I’ve ever had. I think I was so doped up I mostly slept. My head did not explode. (It was at the end of my sophomore year in college. I have absolutely no memory of how I managed to take my exams, never mind pass them.)
    The Kauni is amazing.

  68. The last time I had to fly with a terrible cold (that turned out to be bronchitis by the time I got home), I was told to use Afrin, but only for the plane! My doctor said to use it 30 minutes before I got on, then every 2 hours after, until I got off. Using it more than that will just inflame your sinuses and make it worse in the long run. Also, be aware that flying with a head full of goo can lead to an ear infection! Remember the bag of chips you were watching? The pressure can squeeze the goo out of your sinuses and into your inner ear. If the goo is already infected, your ears will be, too. There isn’t anything you can do to prevent it really (other than stuff yourself silly with decongestants, which you are already doing), just be aware that if your ears are bothering you when you get back and you spike a fever, it may be a plane-induced ear infection. Can you tell I’ve flown with a hellacious cold more than once? LOL

  69. Listen to Chris. Earplanes. Both my husband and I were forced to fly with raging headcolds. We about died on the flight out. Bought Earplanes for the return and we were both pain free. Bonus points for them muffling the noise in the plane and allowing us to ignore the screaming baby that is always seated right behind us.

  70. Hey everyone, I know you need to share your horror stories but my goodness! We will all be lucky if our poor Steph dares to step on the tarmac. Steph, Mucinex(guaifenesin) is a good choice. Drink fluids. Have a hot fragrant cup of herbal tea( mint or orange spice) before take off to help loosen some mucus. The steam helps with this. Remember, this too shall pass but the trip may be a bitch!! Happy and hopefully comfortable travels. Hope to spy you at Rhinebeck on Sat.

  71. Lots of sympathy and empathy for you, but no advice. I do hope you find something that gives you the relief you seek. I once bled from my ears while flying, so I really do understand your pain and fear of more.

  72. I see that I’m in good company! I too have experienced the horror of flying with sinus congestion. Steph, do whatever it takes to get rid of the mucus. After that, put some nice thick slices of raw onion and horseradish in your carry-on bag. You know, just in case the fail. I know it sounds um…a little over the top, but trust me. I’d have eaten them happily.
    Your Kauni innards look great!

  73. Oh dear! I have flown with a head cold and it made me feel extra oogey. Drink lots of fluids and hope for the best. Upside: the joy of finding the yarn you bought while under the influence of the flying-cold-head. It will be like buying it all over again! Two times the joy! πŸ˜‰

  74. I’m not sure if this is two, three, or one word, but I’ll say it anyway. COLD-FX. Not available in the states, expensive as polar bear nipple rings, but IT WORKS. Don Cherry, and my husband, say so. And myself.
    Feel better. It can only go UP from here! Have fun at Rhinebeck! Pet the yarn for me!

  75. I ditto Shelly with the saline rinse. Sounds gross, works really well to open things up. You can even buy a little kit at the drugstore.
    Have fun at (sob) Rhinebeck (sob).

  76. De-lurking to offer yet more advice: I once got prescribed ‘the best single malt scotch I could afford’ by a fabulous doctor when I was in a similar situation – and it worked. Doesn’t go so well with sudafed, but with a nasal decongestant for the flight, and the scotch for the nightcap/socialising, you might be sweet!
    Today is my first day off the couch for four days thanks to a holiday-acquired ‘flu, so I have ultimate sympathy!

  77. As a woman who likes to travel, but has yet to travel without a severe head cold (I’m hoping to break the trend when I go to cuba in a month, but who am I kidding?) I recommend the following:
    Pre-Plane: Advil Cold and Sinus. Get the liquid gels if you can. I SWEAR by these. My immune system sucks but these work every time. (And I’m slightly amused to picture the Yarn Harlot version of their β€œYou think a cold would stop me?” campaign)
    Meanwhile, get lots of rest and liquids. I recommend using one to get the other – Hot Toddies. It’s a Sutherland family cure-all for colds. They relax you, booze you up, help you sweat out the sick and taste mighty fine.
    During the plane ride, make sure to have gum or a hard candy, whatever works for you, just in case the pressure gets to you. Make sure to bring Kleenex, as they never have the good stuff on the plane (I recommend Puffs).

  78. vicks vaporub or a reasonable facsimile there of! i put a huge wad of it in a papertowel and stick it in my bra. the warmth makes the vapors come up and it frees up your hands.

  79. I once asked a doctor friend how much of an over-the-counter cold medicine I could really take (as opposed to the chintzy amounts listed on the box). She told me, “Oh, pretty much as much as you can stand without making you pass out or making your ears ring.” Gee, *that’s* encouraging…

  80. Sometimes you just have to use the drugs. I’m usually anti drugs as well for colds and such…but sometimes…even superheros like yourself need a little help :o)

  81. Decongestant…required.
    As a Mom of three (sound familiar?) I am around every cold germ known to man the first two months of school. All three have brought colds home this year (from three different schools) and I have not caught a one. I am attributing my current level of resistance to Airborne. I don’t know if you can get that where you are…but it is working for me. It is not a cold remedy, but all the vitamins and minerals and stuff really boost the immune system. I don’t think it could possibly hurt you at this point.
    Good luck on the flight and have fun at Rhinebeck.

  82. No matter what meds you take (& I can recommend Mucinex as one that works almost too well if you take the max dose which I believe is 2 pills), the most important thing is to drink as much water as you can – more than you would ever think necessary. You need a lot to help keep the mucus liquid rather than thick. What can happen, if your head is too congested with non- runny mucus, is that one or both eardrums can rupture. But it generally has to be pretty bad for that to happen. Several years ago I spent a couple of weeks in Baltimore for work & developed a cold while there. I ended up spending almost every minute that I was not at work in my room in bed – trying to sleep & drinking water, tea & soup. I always drink a lot of water when I fly (I notice that I am not alone – most folks seem to tote a bottle of water on the plane) The flight back to Chicago was very, very painful – I could feel a huge amount of pressure on my eardrums & my head really felt like it would explode. I continued to feel pretty awful after I got off the plane so I went to the doctor the next day. She diagnosed a severe sinus infection & said that actually she was surprised my eardrums hadn’t ruptured as bad as the infection was & that I was probably saved by the enormous quantities of water I had been drinking. Ironically, if an eardrum does rupture, the pain will generally stop very abruptly.

    I think I have the same cold bug as you and at one point the sinuses were draining out the nose as a steady stream of water and when it couldn’t get out fast enough it came out my EYE!!
    more than you wanted to know i am sure, but have fun in Rhinebeck

  84. One word (as mentioned by so many others)
    Makes sure whatever you pick up has psydophedrine (however you spell it) in it- it will make your life MUCH MORE PLEASANT on a plane. Having had to fly with a sinus infection- this stuff save my life.
    *sigh* please post lots of stuff on Rhineback- so I can live vicariously through you.

  85. There’s a new herbal cure for colds that works incredibly well- even my non-herby friends swear by it. It’s called Umcka, and you can find it in the cold remedy or herbal section at most stores around here (Oregon). It’s a geranium root extract, but several studies have backed it up. It cuts your symptoms over about a day, and it shortens the duration down to about half. Doesn’t taste bad either. I highly recommend you give it a try.

  86. Good God woman, do NOT lie down on the floor, you may not have the energy to get up again & it will be much easier for friends & family to peel you out of a chair & get you out the door.

  87. Forgot to mention that it also has NO SIDE EFFECT. Whatsoever. Stuff is better than estate sale silk laceweight at $2 a ball.

  88. Flying with a cold can be no fun for sure-at least in my experience. My ears have a hard time popping, but sometimes when I use the medicine you squeeze in your nose it helps (advice from my pilot father-in-law). Good luck and have fun. I hope you feel much better soon:)

  89. The Kauni Cardigan photo is beautiful. It looks like a little rainbow waterfall. Hope you feel better and your head doesn’t pop on the plane. πŸ™‚

  90. Make it. Drink / eat it. Be Well.
    I Gud a Cod Soop
    Bring a box / large can (about 6 cups minimum) chicken broth to a rolling boil. Still in slowly 2-3 well beaten eggs, so that they make strings in the broth. This is the foundation – now, you can go crazy. Here is my favorite:
    Add a cup or so of frozen peas
    1-2 teaspoons WHITE pepper
    1-2 T soy sauce (more to taste)
    and just before you eat it, add a good splash of fresh lemon juice.
    Feel bedder, chickee!!

  91. I recommend pseudoephedrine (Sudafed or its generic equivalent, that you have to ask the pharmacist and surrender three forms of ID for) + ibuprofen for your cold.
    I have not found the combination drugs to provide enough of what’s needed – decongestant and pain relief. Plus which, if all you need any particular day is decongestant, you can take only that whereas with a combo pill, you’re stuck with “all or nothing.”
    Get Nyquil or its generic for nighttime, so at least you will be able to sleep.

  92. skip the pharmaceuticals and go for the Scotch! then again if you’re finishing the Kauni i’d stick with something non-drowsy that won’t make you loopy since that sweater hasn’t been the kindest to you. beautiful things can be so tempermental.
    have fun in Rhinebeck!

  93. No drug can cure your cold, only make you feel less like poop that has been trampled by stampeding elephants. Nyquil to knock you out tonight. Water tomorrow and forever. A lot of it. Like gallons of it. You are now a massive linebacker on the NFL team of your choice. Drink water.
    Your head won’t explode on the plane. It’ll hurt, but it won’t explode. At worst, you’ll go deaf, should your eardrums rupture. But I doubt it.

  94. I Gud a Cod Soop – CORRECTION!!!!
    1/2 teaspoon white pepper – unless you want to blow your head off BEFORE you get on the plane!!

  95. I didn’t read through all the 100+ comments, but just wanted to chime in that anything with that magical word “pseudoephedrine” does the trick for me. It’s legal speed of course, but hey…if you really need to function…. Unfortunately it’s actually NOT legal where I live (Germany) without a prescription, but my drug dealers aka visitors from the states bring me the occasional supplies.

    Like in Cold-eze, but Target and Walmart have some that are just as good but far cheaper. Don’t know if you have either there. But the zinc lonzenges really do work, and will help you feel better through the worst of the cold. Keep them in your pocket, and use one every two hours for the duration.
    Also, Dayquil and Nyquil used to have pseudoephedrine in them like the real Sudafed, but no longer do, so go with Sudafed, not the PE version.
    Alcohol will help you sleep, but don’t take too much. Use a nasal saline rinse (as in a neti pot.) It helps clear out the fog in your brain along with your sinuses.
    And finally… some kind of wipes in a plastic pocket pack for your hands, so you’ll know it wasn’t you and won’t have to feel bad if somebody else gets sick.
    Colds go like this… three days coming, wherein you just feel a little tacky.
    Three days here, wherein you were run over by a truck.
    Three days going, wherein you have a sore nose and a sore throat and are grumpy because you have a right to be, but you’re clearly better than you were.
    And then the thing is GONE.
    So if you’re feeling wiped out today, tomorrow and Saturday are going to be tough, but Sunday you will feel better, but not well.

  97. This might sound weird, but watch a sad movie or read a sad book – anything that will make you cry. When you cry, your nose runs and a lot will come out. It’s worked for me in the past.

  98. Poor Harlot! Sudafed will keep your nose/sinuses/ears from exploding and will keep you awake. The second day is always the worst. You’ll feel better tomorrow, I promise. Take care of yourself. I’m sending anti-virus vibes from California.

  99. I recommend a moisturising nasal spray to prevent too much ear pressure discomfort while flying. I got this tip from my doctor because I have issues from childhood ear infections and current allaergies. Your sinuses apply pressure from the other side and impair adaptation to changes when they’re clogged. The 12 hour nasal spray version really does last that long.
    Try to enjoy your trip and stay dry.

  100. Stephanie, I hate to be a mom here, but as i’ve commented before it seems every time you go away you come back and get sick. Your body is trying to tell you something!! Plane travel is nuts when you have a cold – not only will you feel worse you’ll spread your nasty virus around! I’m sure New Jersey is nice, but having a healthy you would be nicer.

  101. I just love your blog- and your books, that I bought when we visited St. Catharines last summer (we live in Norway). Can you help me with something if you read this in between all the other comments? My husband wants me to hunt down a pattern for one of those retro sweater coats in chunky yarn with a motif preferably of a labrador on the back. You know what I’m talking about? His mother made him one ages ago, and now he wanted her to make him another one (even a canada goose on the back would do if we could just find the pattern!)Her mother is in an old age home and could use this project to keep her mind and hands occupied!I missed some patterns that was on the ebay not long ago. In Norway they don’t even know what I’m talking about.
    Other than that: Get well. Big fan in Norway:Lisbeth

  102. Cold-Ease – it’s full of Zinc and it helps to get rid of colds fast – I swear by it
    and to the rest of us heading to Rhinebeck – Airborne πŸ™‚

  103. Glad I’m driving coz I don’t feel much more alive than you today by the looks of things.

  104. Hope you feel better soon!
    Mucinex is my cure for the stuffed up icky grossness in the sinuses. Hope you can get the good drugs. πŸ™‚

  105. It must be a cosmic joke right now. I am flying to Peru tomorrow for a medical mission and I just came down with a humdinger of a cold too.
    Have fun with the fiber this weekend. I will keep my eyes out for some excellent Peruvian wool.
    Lizzie (aka Turtlewoman)

  106. Hiya,
    I have a lot of trouble flying due to ‘fullness’ and ear ‘situations.’ Those situations tend to feel as if an ice pick has been shoved into 1 ear, repeatedly!
    My doc suggested taking an over-the-counter decongestant about 1/2 before flying. I typically don’t take those things but am a convert. I do when I fly and it makes a world of difference.
    Good luck and may you not have a ‘messy’ flight!

  107. Get ear plugs.. put them in before the cabin doors close, and take them out after they close at the end of the flight.
    You’ll feel like an idiot, and you might ask for your coffee a little louder than normal, but it will help.
    It can be painful (and dangerous, although I don’t think as much on a commercial airliner since they are pressurized) to fly with a sinus infection.. so be careful!

  108. I travelled with a head cold once. I learned that you have to be strategic about when you blow your nose. If you blow your nose part way through ascending or descending your ears will equalize to that altitude but it may be impossible to get them to equalize after. Also, when you blow your nose, it may mess with your inner ear balance. It wasn’t a big deal when I was sitting in my seat. I just fell back onto the back rest. However, when I did it in the bathroom, just after landing, I practically toppled over. When mid-blow, your hands aren’t in a good position to catch yourself. Luckily there was a wall not too far away. I just fell into it, rather than all the way to the bathroom floor.
    Good luck and I hope you feel better.

  109. If scotch doesn’t work (and, really, it’s the one worth trying first), I swear by Advil Cold and Sinus. It’s the only thing that has me vertical this week, and even somewhat functional. Just don’t mix up the daytime and hte nighttime versions. Seriously.

  110. Oh my god ,poor you . I cannot imagine getting on a plane with a head cold. Couldn’t you just cancel out of this one ? Your health and well being are more important . At any rate , you are going to do what you have decided to do and I wish you all the very best .

  111. Lots of sage advice here. I’d go with the scotch, then you won’t care if you are miserable or not and when your head explodes, it will make the whole plane smell yummy delicious.

  112. Hi, definitely do the saline wash for your nose; if you can get hold of a neti pot (most holistic and/or natural food stores carry them), use it to rinse out your sinuses with saline. Definitely use Airborne and ZiCam, because they reduce the duration of a cold and its’ intensity, so you feel better sooner. Push Vitamin C and liquids, especially on the plane, which terribly dehydrating. And yes, I’d take a decongestant of some kind to unplug your head.
    I hope I see you at Rhinebeck, feeling much better!

  113. You have got to stop pushing yourself so hard or you’ll end up with more than a cold, young lady! (How did my best school marm voice sound?) Seriously, I used to do this. I was 35, working double shifts, working art commissions, partying, struggling with home matters, and all of a sudden my body stopped working. Now I have a not-so-fun autoimmune disease and if I ever push myself at all, I am dangerously ill.
    Take care of yourself. You can only do so much. I’ve said my peace; now get in bed and take some drugs.

  114. Call a doctor, tell her/him what you are doing and get the strongest stuff you can.
    If Afrin is recommended, try it out beforehand, a doctor recommend Afrin to me, I had a bad reaction to it. Unfortunately, I had asked for something to get me through the company xmas party…on a boat…while pregnant. I spent the evening sneezing, peeing my pants, running to and trying to quickly squeeze my gigantic belly into the tiny head. For four hours. I still wince at the thought.

  115. As everyone else has already stated, decongestant is your friend. Tea will also help. (More the steam you breathe in than the drinking, but it tastes good!) And if you can sweet talk the stewardess into giving you one of those hot towels they give first class it could be great. I once used those instant hand warmers on my sinuses and it helped.
    Good Luck!

  116. I react in every contraindicated form listed on a package of cold medicine. Alka-Seltzer Plus is the ONLY one I can take – and it works beautifully for me. Good luck and healing vibes.

  117. I’m a long-time aviation professional and can confirm that a stuffed-up head and flying don’t go too well together. There’s even a name for the pain, barotrauma. What people who have to fly do in this situation is use Afrin. Use it just before takeoff and again when the descent starts. Also take a decongestant like Sudafed (be careful with this if you have high blood pressure) about an hour before boarding. Chew gum during the climb and descent.
    No matter how good the Afrin makes you feel, don’t keep using it. Your nose and sinuses will get addicted to it after a while and produce massive rebound congestion when you stop taking it.
    I also find Coldeze to work really well if you start taking it early. Whenever you take it, though, it seems to reduce the intensity.

  118. Never let it be said that knitters are stingy with advice! Having read bunches of previous comments is almost enough to make me want to fly somewhere with a cold just to do the research!
    Anyone who has knitted a sweater that gorgeous should have oodles of good karma and lots of breathing ability coming her way soon.
    Now I know how to find you Saturday – look for the sweater glowing on the horizon.

  119. Wow, Stephanie, that Kauni sweater is the most gorgeous sweater I have ever seen, inside or out.
    I will also give you another word of cold-treatment advice: take the drugs enough to loosen things up BEFORE you get on the plane and start going up. Give yourself plenty of time. The last time I flew with a cold, I left it to late and suddenly, there I was feeling like I had a 250 pound man standing on my face. I honestly thought my face was going to implode.
    On that cheery note, have a great trip!

  120. I once flew from Boston to Detroit with some sinus thing going on. My head didn’t explode (obviously, or I am just a great typist) but I, and my seatmate who had to see me use the barf bag, would recommend the scotch.

  121. You poor thing!
    But take comfort in remembering that, because you’re Canadian, you can get all the good drugs over the counter.
    I’ll also share a tip I’ve read about – if your head and ears get too stuffy on the plane, ask for a cup half-full (only HALF!) of hot water. Lower your head down so your ear is over the cup – supposedly this will help equalize the pressure.
    Or you could just drink a lot of scotch. That’s definitely what I’d try first.

  122. I don’t know how it is for pseudoephedrine HCL in Canada, but if you can get a hold of that rather than the stuff with phenylephrine, you will probably be much better off. The latter doesn’t work nearly as well. I hope your head doesn’t explode!

  123. For the plane I recommend NeoCitron or something else that will make you sleepy because you’ll be decongested a bit, and you’ll get some sleep which can only help. And you get a warm tummy.
    For being awake I swear by Advil Cold and Sinus. It cuts down on the symptoms and doesn’t make me jittery with the non-drowsy part.
    And scotch is always good.
    Can’t wait to see Kauni and you of course!

  124. I don’t know if you have these in Canada, but here in the States we have something called Ear Planes that you buy at the drug store. It is sort of like a tiny plastic corkscrew that you stick in your ear before the plane takes off. I have no idea why it works, but it has prevented ear popping and ear pain for me 100% of the time. Even when my head was scary full of liquid.

  125. The advantage of getting on a plane with a cold is that you’re already prepared for the cold. I don’t think I’ve ever flown anywhere without getting a cold from that horrible air they pump around inside the airplane. French onion soup, that’s my remedy.

  126. OMG it will be easy to spot you in Rhinebeck….your nose will match your sweater!! Of course I say that because I wish I had a modicum of talent which would allow me to make my own Kauni sweater. But I will be bringing my socks to your book signing and speech..and perhaps the night before at a certain party in Rock City??

  127. Old Australian cure, mix Rum (brown not white) with lemon juice, honey and a bit of hot water (rum tea, yummmm), guaranteed to work, makes you sweat a bit, but you get up feeling better, (two is even more effective)

  128. Sadly, as so many have already said, your head won’t explode; it will only feel as if it should. IME, drink as much non-caffeinated beverage as you can stand and take pseudephedrine for the sinuses. Oddly, it seems like the more water I drink, the better the crud drains from my head. The bunnies and I will be thinking happy plane thoughts for you.

  129. I once had to take training from the US Air Force so I could go on a research mission to get my thesis data. Flying with a serious cold on military planes can be hazardous to your health because the cabins are less pressurized and they descend faster than commercial flights. The primary problem is when you descend back to earth, is that it is essential to keep equalizing the pressure in your ears with the cabin pressure. If the pressure differential gets too large your eustacian tubes collapse and it becomes (nearly) impossible to equalize the pressure. And then comes the pain… Commercial flights can be quite unpleasant too, but since the descent is slower, you have more time to equalize the pressure inside and outside your ears. The Air Force Captain running the training had the following recommendation for flying with a bad cold:
    1) bring Afrin on the flight
    2) take it 30-45 minutes before the flight is about to *land*. Do NOT take it earlier!
    Afrin works by opening up your sinus passages, but as the dose wears off, some people experience a rebound, and your sinus passages will actually become more constricted.
    I’ve used this advice more times than I like to remember, and it works for me… (I figure the Air Force has lots of practice with flying…)
    Good luck!

  130. Any cough syrup with guaifenesin is your friend. Makes everything runnier (this is good). Avoid the dextromethorphan (cough suppressant) unless you need it. Drink 2 tons of water. Despite all this, you will have a new sympathy for why babies shriek as if they are being murdered in airplanes – the pain in their heads yields to no other interpretation.

  131. Poor you. Nothing worse than being pleasant and friendly when you feel like shit. Wrap your self in your Kauni and you will at least be warm. I finished mine 2 weeks ago and haven’t taken it off. You will love it. It may even cure your cold.

  132. Hot whisky and lemon… and the amount of lemon is entirely optional. Consider guiding yourself by martini making rules… i.e. vermouth (or is it gin? — never have made many martinis…) in the same room as the gin, vermouth on the shelf near the gin, rinse the glass with vermouth,etc. You get the idea.
    Have fun in Rhinebeck (now THERE’S an oxymoron…).

  133. Earplugs help with the pressure too, somehow. The first time I flew with a cold, I experienced two excruciating take-offs and one excruciating landing before a kindly flight attendant noticed my plight and gave me earplugs. Totally helped.

  134. If you’ve gotten hold of anything with Guitex, that stuff will dry you out like nobody’s business. Drink extra extra water. Or Earl Grey — bergamot will help with the congestion too.
    It’s supposed to be very pleasant for Rhinebeck — temperatures around 45 C or so (but muddy!) so maybe that will help too. I will be keeping an eye out for you, I hope I’ll have a chance to say hello! =)

  135. nothing but sympathy here.
    I leave tomorrow and today I’ve been in bed with the world’s worst sinus headache, and a stomach virus (!!!) I’m just being thankful that by tomorrow, at least the tummy bug should be gone.
    Heres to healthy vibes and a safe trip! Hopefully I’ll run into you at the blogger meetup πŸ™‚

  136. Having a cold sucks! Having a cold and flying sucks even more! If you’re taking over the counter medication, look for something with Ibuprofen(instead of acetaminophen) and pseudophedrine to help you decongest your nose. Don’t forget to chew gum!

  137. Flying with a head that’s “full” doesn’t exactly rank up there with life’s greatest pleasures, but it’s survivable. Some sort of sinus medication would probably help a lot, but barring that, Advil works in a pinch (for the pain. Won’t do diddly for the congestion). Or enough Dramamine or Benedryl to knock you out for the duration of the flight (which is usually what I do, plus the Advil).
    As far as less chemical methods are concerned, saline solution can do a lot to relieve congestion. It can be messy, but it can help. Obviously, this isn’t a solution you want for *on* the plane, though. *shudders at the thought*

  138. I hope that you – and all of the other ailing bloggers – feel better soon. I’ve got my virus software galore working overtime and am popping all sorts of preventative medicines because I cannot be sick next week.

  139. No Sudafed….honestly that stuff sends me into a highly anxious state very quickly…awful awful stuff…
    There’s a nasal spray here in Australia – it’s not saline, but here it’s over the counter and you only use it for about 5 days max and it cleared up my insanely stuffy nose within minutes of using it!
    OK just grabbed it – assuming you get this…the active ingredient is…Oxymetazoline Hydrochloride!
    Hope you have a blast!

  140. Marvellous interior on the Kauni! You will be turning that sweater inside out sooo many times this trip… πŸ˜‰ Best wishes for survival so you can have the fun! And when you get home, enjoy the collapse. [g] Make the kids do everything and get yourself better, ok?
    What Mary the Digital Knitter said re the Afrin spray – word. I was addicted to the stuff for about 12 *years*; couldn’t breathe without it. What finally worked to get me off it is also what I use now when I have a cold, bronchitis, allergy reaction, whatever – Hyland’s Sinus. Usually found in the herbal section. It’s homeopathic, doesn’t interfere with my blood pressure meds, and *works*. Takes a little longer to kick in, of course; but after about 2-3 doses, you start being able to breathe again. It’s wonderful, because I can’t take *any* of the usual stuff what with my bp meds! Not even echinacea; that’s a no-no with high bp and/or meds too. Only drawback w/be if one’s lactose intolerant; they’re one of those lactose-based formulations you let melt under your tongue.
    This isn’t for current use; you want the heavy guns for the trip. [g] (Plus with the time diff, you’re no doubt safely curled up at home by now.) But for future, when you’re back to avoiding heavy pharmaceuticals, check it out. They have a bunch of good remedies, and you can track them down on their website at Plus there are 25 stores in Toronto that carry Hyland’s. πŸ˜‰

  141. As much as it pains me to say this, may be you shouldn’t fly while you are sick. Why does this pain me? Because I am one of the Jersey knitters planning to come see you tomorrow. Maybe you could cancel and reschedule? When you feel better? I would be disappointed but I’ll live and I hate to think of you in the plane feeling shitty.

  142. Full strength, standard Sudafed and a big jolt of Vitamin C for airline travel. Anytime, not just when you have a cold.
    Strong black tea with lemon and sugar. Add a jolt of Jameson’s at bedtime.
    Leek broth. Wash and cut up two leeks, cover with water (no salt) bring to boil, simmer for 45 minutes, drain liquid. Eat the leeks anytime you want but drink the broth, one cup every couple of hours, unril it’s gone. It really helps.
    BTW — I got your message last night re the safe arrival of the box, however, I replied by gmail and reset my hotmail settings. I have no idea where your messages went! πŸ™

  143. Don’t forget the gum. Chewing gum with much snapping and bubble popping can help by irritating other passengers enough that they slap you upside the head and clear your ears for you.

  144. I have a) wicked allergies, b) chronic sinusitis, and c) no immune system against colds. I have the holy grail to your problem: pseudoephedrine hydrochloride (Sudafed). It HAS to be pseudoephedrine, not phenylephrine (Sudafed PE) or it won’t work nearly as well. You can get it over the counter, though you might have to ask the pharmacist (in some areas they keep it behind the counter, because believe it or not it can be used to make crystal meth). This, plus hot tea, plus tylenol or advil will do more for you than any other cold meds out there.

  145. Poor Harlot! I flew with a severe head cold once. In my experience, taking off was not so bad. It was landing the just about did me in. Try to time the meds so that they peak right around the time you expect to be descending.
    I will bring some Mighty Leaf Tea with me to Rhinebeck, in case we bump into each other on Saturday. πŸ˜‰
    Hope you feel better and safe travels!

  146. I haven’t read the comments yet, so I don’t know what drugs people have recommended, but Advil Cold and Sinus is pretty good. What you want to do is relieve some of the pressure in your head before you take off. Actually, I think landing is going to be worse, so maybe take one pill about half an hour before takeoff, and another one half an hour before landing. Forget about how much the bottle says to take. It won’t be enough, so go for an overdose. The dose on the label is meant for people who are not going up and down in airplanes. As long as you can still walk off the plane, you’re okay.

  147. My dear Harlotta,
    Be very careful with those drugs and look for your friendly pharmacist (chemist) to direct you to the decongestants. Drink as much clear non-alcoholic fluids as you can stand (chicken soup qualifies most excellently).
    Also, turn off that air that is blowing in your face on the plane. It may be how you got said cold in the first place.
    Love and virtual tea and sympathy,
    Melinda your school nurse

  148. Many years ago I flew from New York to Amsterdam with a head cold. It was a landing to remember – very painful ears, and an impact to my hearing for about 24 hours. I hope you fare much better and I hope you have a wonderful time! I’m getting over a cold too, and I’m going to go back and read the other comments again. Sounds like lots of good advice here.

  149. I hope looking at that cardigan makes you feel better…it certainly is doing that for me! May you feel better, and may Rhinebeck rise to meet you:-)

  150. Kauni is so beautiful that I kind of want to make one and wear it commando so that I can have that lovlieness right against my skin. Ahem. Also (and I’m blaming my Kauni feelings on this) Drambuie and Zicam are possibly the greatest 1-2 punch ever for a cold. Even if they don’t work all that well to eliminate the symptoms, the Drambuie keeps you from noticing all of the snot. πŸ™‚

  151. I flew with a cold and my eardrum ruptured. Believe me, this should be avoided at all costs. If it happens, the doctors won’t let you on another plane for at least a week — they tell you to take the train! When I finally was able to fly home, they had me take sudafed well before the flight and Afrin 20 minutes before take off and landing. Also, drink tons of water and no alcohol. I guess we all sound like a broken record!
    Good luck and have a great time at Rhinebeck.

  152. Party on dude. You’ll have a fantastic time, even if you are a bit drugged out. πŸ˜‰ And hey, the drugs might help lower your yarn purchasing firewall, so this could be your best Rhinebeck yet! Poor Joe πŸ™

  153. I just want to say that’s it’s really, really interesting reading everyone’s solution to your stuffiness. I second the gum for the plane. The biggest problem is probably your ears. Chewing gum, yawning, and sucking on the plane all help move the back area of your mouth/nose around to open up the little hole that goes to your ear. That lets the air repressurize. With congestion, this hole clogs up. Anything that will dry you up or encourage drainage is a good thing in that regards. However, just a note of caution to those out there who might take decongestants all the time (not you Steph), these literally dry up the congestion within your skull. Good in the short term, but if you use these all the time at the drop of a hat, you can get build up and gunk within your head that can actually lead to recurrent sinus infections. And make your singing voice less pretty, which is why I learned this from my vocalist roommate. Get well! I’m so sorry you’re sick!

  154. Another vote for Sudafed- it got me through an ill-timed cold when I had to travel to do research and be in a library archive for 8 hours a day. I’m usually a big fan of Zicam, but if you are too far gone it won’t help. Sudafed, and lots of it worked for me, although, my experience was that when I took too much I started to talk abnormaly fast and without breathing. Something to consider when speaking in public.

  155. Everyone’s already said it, but I’ll say it again: take Sudafed and some ibuprofen about an hour before you get on that plane. My S.O. has trouble with his ears when he has to fly whether he has a cold or not. His doc recommended the Sudafed/ibuprofen combo and it’s helped him greatly.

  156. Just a note for Sheri in Wichita. We have two lovely shops. Both are on Douglas. Heritage Hut is near Hillside and Twist (new and beautiful) is in Delano next to Hatman Jack’s.
    Good luck.

  157. I’m sure plenty of other people have told you this already, but my experience with planes (and I have plenty, since I produced grandchildren for my parents) is that when your head is full, your ears hurt A LOT. Buy some powerful decongestants. Have a ball in Rhinebeck. My knitting life right now pretty much consists of ” Maybe next year.” But eventually I’ll wean the last baby and they’ll be old enough either to travel or leave behind, and then…world, watch out! I just hope you’re still touring for books at that point. πŸ™‚ Feel better!!

  158. “If I cannot find them, I may buy scotch.”
    The h—- with drugs. Just go with the scotch!
    P.S. You’ve outdone yourself — again. That sweater is truly a Work Of Art!
    Travelling mercies…

  159. Um, sweetie, how are your ears feeling? I had to do three flights one day when I had an ear infection, and by the end of the day I really just wished someone would shoot me. If your ears hurt when you’re on the ground, don’t fly. Really.

  160. I have been on a plane while very congested before. In my experience, there is a bit of “explosion” in that a stopped-up nose can become a very runny nose due to funny cabin pressures and stuff. I say don’t worry about your head actually exploding, but bring a healthy supply of tissues. Hope you’re better for Rhinebeck!

  161. So sorry about your cold! It seems you have many excellent suggestions in the above comments; I’m sure one or several will be implemented in time to save the weekend. I will be in Rhinebeck saturday, and have explicit instructions to Kinnear you for Mardi(she can’t make it)-especially if you’re wearing that gorgeous sweater!

  162. Do it. Do it, do it, do it! Look for the ones that they keep behind the counter ’cause you can make meth from it. I believe those are the best.
    Have fun at Rhinebeck! One of these days, I’ll make it there.
    Am looking over the info on SOAR. Still REALLY kicking myself for not going when you were RIGHT HERE, well, a 4 hr drive away, at Lake Tahoe. Argh. Maybe in 2008. If my mom wants to go with me.

  163. take whatever decongestant you can find and drink a lot of water… flying with head congestion is, well… painful… sorry!
    hang in there, the wool and knitter proximity will help you heal once you get to destination.

  164. What a cheery bunch we are in the comments!
    Good luck, and pharmaceuticals have their proper place in the universe. Flying with a cold is definitely one of them.
    Beautiful sweater entrails.

  165. I once hopped a plane from California to New York with the worst possible sinus infection. I too wondered about my head exploding midflight. My allergist prescribed me horse pills (prescription Mucinex) and an army of other meds to get me through my work trip that sent me to New York.
    My head didn’t explode. Chew gum. You’ll be ok. πŸ™‚

  166. Sudafed. Though in the states, you now need to see the pharmacist and show your drivers license and watch the pharmacist enter it into a computer to procure the stuff. They want to keep track of how much you buy cause they make illegal drugs from it.
    But it dries you out and gives you an equivalent of a caffeine high.

  167. I also second the votes for gum at take-off and landing, basically as long as the seatbelt sign is on and the plane is not on the tarmac.
    I use the 4 to 6 hour Dristan or generic equivalent nasal mist 30 min before takeoff, and again for landing only if later than 4 hours.
    I also do use a saline spray for nasal moisturizing.
    There is a gel for inside dry noses – Secaris.
    Don’t forget to get a free official ziploc bag for your gels and liquids before the security check!

  168. Scotch or warm Brandy. Mixing too many OTC meds can set you up for a misery of it’s own kind. Keep it simple(the Scotch or warm Brandy) with lots, I mean LOTS, of fluids.
    The Whiskey & honey is a wonderful treatment too, add some lemon juice for the throat.
    Yep a hot Toddy can work wonders! Hope you feel better pronto!

  169. Dude, don’t let the airline know you’re sick or they might not let you fly. I was kept off a plane once with a bad headcold.
    Take anything that will dry you out. My personal choice for colds is Theraflu (it’s like magic!) that you mix in hot water and drink like hot lemonade. Not the new formula, that stuff doesn’t even work at all now, get the old stuff that they keep behind the counter now here in the states. The daytime will make you jittery and the regular will put you to sleep. I take the daytime in the am and regular at bed. MMM, chemically goodness.
    Good luck!

  170. Oh yeah, and eggdrop soup. I’m not kidding.
    Have Joe go get you some from the local Chinese takeout. Eggdrop soup has like 8X the chicken-y enzymes of chicken noodle. Every time I’ve eaten it while nursing a cold I’ve been almost better the next day. And the salt will dry you out too.

  171. Just for something completely different – I just looked at a map. If it was me with such a head full I would stay on the ground and drive. It is only this ———- far on the map. Won’t take long at all. I will never ever forget the sinus infection I got from airplaning it with a cold decades ago.

  172. I totally swear by cold medication. If I can’t breathe, then I can’t function. I highly recommend Mucinex, it is AWESOME at getting rid of all the crap in your lungs and chest. And Afrin is great as well. I know you won’t read this until after your flight (if even then), but your head won’t explode on the plane. It will hurt going up and coming down, but otherwise you should be fine. Good luck and have fun!

  173. I’ve been reading this blog long enough to remember that you got sick during/after every other book tour.
    I’m thinking you need to ratchet down your lifestyle a bit.
    Although, I do think the knitting and spinning are probably immunizing you to some extent. If you didn’t have them, you’d probably come down with The Plague! πŸ™‚

  174. MUCINEX is the way to go !! In the States they have disgusting commercials with green gobby cartoons of mucus — but it’s now over the counter (used to be an Rx) and my doctor told me to get it when I was flying with a head cold. I promise it’s a miracle, because it keeps things liquid — and LEAVING your body — rather than the drying up effect that will clog you into a sinus infection! I know I’m the one-billionith comment here, but i sure hope you’ll try to find this stuff. (Comes in regular and Mucinex DM for heavier decongestant). All else fails, the scientific evidence proves it: chicken soup has definite Power to Cure All.

  175. I know you need more beating-your-cold advice, so here’s my two cents!
    Up until this year, I swore by Afrin/Mucinex for nasal congestion. Nothing else works for me. While it DOES do the trick for a few hours, you can only use it for three days, and this year my doctor told me about something that works even better and, astonishingly, it is all natural-
    A sinus wash. Yep. You can use the Nehi pots for the gravity thing, but I’ve found I like the bottle kind. Fill the squirt bottle with water, add the salt/baking powder mix, and squirt it up your nose. Sound disgusting, and is, but it’s not uncomfortable or painful or anything. I couldn’t feel a thing except sweet blissful sinus drainage.
    Instead of weeks of suffering, I could breathe freely by the next day. The congestion was gone in two. It was amazing.
    I know already that you can’t try everything, and this one sounds weirder than most, but I tell you, this year I was desparate and tried everything, up to and including shots of apple cider vinegar. This was worked best for me. Good luck with whatever you try!

  176. Rams, I must confess: I added to the jealousy vibes as they went past me towards Toronto. Just ask Rachel.

  177. Amy recommends, “Chewing gum, yawning, and sucking on the plane….” I draw the line on that last suggestion.
    Be well, Steph!

  178. I feel your pain (trust me – you don’t want the details). If I was coming to Rhinebeck I would bring you vegetarian “chicken” soup. You might also try drinking an infusion of fresh ginger root mashed with honey and steeped in hot water. Get well!

  179. Oh dude, I sympathize. And for what it is worth, your head will not explode. But you may walk around Rhinebeck feeling like you have a bucket over your head and not being able to hear much.
    Does not diminish the love of wool.

  180. may the force of Rhinebeck be with you as you pass through the portals of time to the beautiful New England hills, may the warm breezes heal that mF cold right outta your bones!
    have a blast.
    remember to pack the scotch

  181. Please be careful flying with a headcold (bad one)
    you can blow out your eardrums out and the pressure
    is terrible!! Been there, done that!! Remedy?
    Pain drugs, stuff to dry out your sinuses and
    of course, yarn…yarn….yarn….

  182. I’m sure you got lots of advice about what to do with your cold–here’s the thing:
    the reason your head feels like it will blow up isn’t the liquid but the air in your sinuses which can’t escape. decongestants are a good start, but what i really recommend is an expectorant: you want to have everything flowing so you can equalize the pressure. Also, take tylenol at least three hours before you get on the flight.
    Good luck!!

  183. The sweater is absolutely gorgeous, both inside and out! Sorry to hear about your cold escalating. My favorite treatment for a cold or other creeping crud is Emergen-c Immune Defense. It is a vitamin powder that contains tons of vitamin C, zinc, B vitamins and other great stuff. You add it to water and drink it. It tastes great (Ruby Lemon Honey flavor, yum!)and it works really well. Last year, whenever I felt some sort of crud beginning to attack, I started drinking it. I was the healthiest member of my family. If I did get sick, it didn’t last as long or as severe as it was for the rest of the family. If you can find it, it’s worth a try. (I’ll have some at the Sliver Moon Farm booth if you’re desperate and can’t find any. It’s the only way I’ll make it through the weekend!) Have a safe trip and we’ll see you at Rhinebeck!

  184. Steph, you gotta slow down a little bit! OK, not always possible, I know, so this is what I do. I’m also mad busy (not as much as you though) and I used to get a whole cartload of colds. I haven’t had a proper one for eighteen months. How? Echinacea. Echinacea tablets are your friends. First sign of a sniff, start taking them. You see anyone with a cold, flu, nasty bug or anything else remotely catching, take them. If you have a cold already (as in this case) take them as they shorten the duration. I’ve combined them with all sorts, but you might want to check with a chemist first! As for planes, I always get problems with my ears (I have narrow sinuses, so they’re often a bit “off” anyway, the echinacea generally prevents rip-snorting infections and horridness)so I really like the sound of those Earplane things, never tried them though. I’ve found Sudafed (in the UK anyway) to be a total waste of money, it didn’t do squat for my nasal passages. What did, was a herbal remedy called Plantago (Lance Leaf Plantain) tincture from A. Vogel. Loosens all the yak. Ivy-Thyme is good for chestiness, and Santaspina is good for tickly coughs. Also the old trick of towel over head, face over a bowl of near-boiling water with menthol crystals in it often helps, I also put thyme and eucalyptus oil, or Olbas oil is good if you can get it in Canada. Steam-cleans the face too… πŸ™‚

  185. Oh, please don’t get on a plane if you’re still feeling so rotten this morning. I’m another of the New Jersey knitters coming (with a car load of girlfriends) to see you, but please don’t fly with such a head full of congestion. Of course, this doesn’t get you off the hook for coming to New Jersey! Reschedule, and all will be right with the world again. As you know, we knitters are a very understanding lot (on the whole).
    I’m leaving in an hour to pick up my friends, and if we see you, fantastic. If not, we’ll have to console ourselves with buying lots of yarn until you are well again! Truly, take care of yourself.

  186. Okay, I have nothing to add to the drug discussions (but geez, no wonder I get sick so much after I fly with all these other folks coughing, sneezing and dribbling on the flight with me).
    However in over 200 comments, I was *astonished* to see only one recommendation for spicy food (wasabi). As a supplement to whatever chemicals you choose, it’s hard to beat. Plus, you can actually taste it with your head plugged. Chili, hot salsa, spicy Indian curry, Jamaican jerk sauce, wasabi. As spicy as you can stand. Definitely helps to drain the sinuses, and is tasty too! (Plus will encourage you to drink lots of water and the burning in your mouth will distract you from other discomforts.)
    Oh, and if you want to ensure a supply of water on the plane and don’t want to buy a ton of overpriced water in the airport? Bring a bunch of empties and fill them at the water fountain after you’re through security.
    And that Kauni is unbelievably gorgeous. Fortunately wool heals, and it will therefore help protect you from the waves of lust and envy it inspires in everyone who sees it!

  187. It’s funny how you say you are going to use the yarn as a pillow on the floor BEFORE you go to the airport. When I had to stay in the airport over night because my flight was cancelled, I just so happened to have some of my yarn. πŸ™‚ And I in fact did use it for a pillow. (I actually had enough yarn for my boyfriend AND myself. Perhaps I should have packed lighter).
    And as far as the cold goes, try Claritin. It’s that allergy medication, non-drowsy comes in 12 hour or 24 hour relief. It helps the symptoms but doesn’t make you all loopy like the rest of the cold meds. Good luck, and feel better.
    (oh yeah, and I am a first time poster. Thank you for this blog, I love knitting, and I love reading your blog. I can’t wait to get the next book).

  188. Reading the previous posts is too funny. How are you ever ging to choose what to do? I am looking forward to reading about your experience after choosing which piece of wisdom to follow. It reminds me an experience I had when I was about to get married to a minister…a gracious woman put her hands on my shoulders, looked me in the eye and said, “Honey, over the years you are going to be given lots of advice. Listen, smile sweetly and do what you damn well please.”

  189. Steph – no time to read all the comments so if someone already has warned of this then please disregard. As long as you can clear your ears before you get on the plane then you should be ok, and as everyone has suggested definitely load up on decongestants. If however, on landing your ears become plugged and you are no longer able to clear them, that is when you should not get back on a plane (and for your sake I hope you only have one leg to go to get to NJ). Flying with blocked ears is not only painful but can result in bursting an eardrum. Not telling you this to alarm you, just to be aware that you shouldn’t ever fly if you can’t clear your ears and successully do the Valsalva Manuever (holding nose and mouth shut, while breathing out to clear/pop ears) then you shouldn’t be on a plane. If it does become painful on the flight you can ask the flight attendant for hot cups that you hold up to the ear and it helps to relieve a little of the pressure, though it’s by no means a cure for the problem. As a former flight attendant, I’ve ended up with blocked ears many a time and it’s not fun. Again I don’t mean to alarm you but I don’t know how congested you are and it sounded like you didn’t know some of this. Hope you feel better, your stalker in Philly, Katie.

  190. Sudafed is your friend, and so is chewing gum. But don’t forget your good ‘ol buddy Blackberry Brandy. Best friend a girl can have with a cold. Have a blast in Rhinebeck *pout*.

  191. Ouch! You poor dear. I hope your head doesn’t suffer too terribly during the flight. I’m positive that all of the friends, fiber and fun of Rhinebeck will perk you right up.
    Speaking of Rhinebeck, I’m on the west coast but my DH is in NY this week. I’ve nagged until he’s agreed to rent a car and drive to Rhinebeck. So, if you see a middle-aged man wandering around cluelessly point him to the vendors’ building ;).
    Have fun.

  192. Definitely try to reduce the amount of fluid in your head. I flew once with a very bad cold, and wound up with blisters in my ear a few days later (very painful, and walked around with fluid in my ear for the next two months).

  193. Lisabeth – I think you are talking about a Salish style sweater.
    See if
    looks about right. If so, there is a book (Priscilla Gibson Roberts)
    about how to make them, and you can swap in a Lab head motif if you can find one. I think there is one in “Tap-Dancing Lizard” – I know they have a poodle in there.
    Steph – ignore all the evil stories. Drink, take a decongestant, get on the plane and knit. All will be well.

  194. I have one word for you: pseudoephedrine. Don’t take the fake pseudoephedrine — it’s not nearly as effective. In the state we have to go through nearly a full back-ground check to purchase the stuff (it is unfortunately also utilized by illicit drug-makers), but worth the hassle. Works fantastic.
    Good luck! Have fun!

  195. Egg Drop bah, Hot and Sour Soup is what you need!
    Nyquil used to knock me on my rump, it was great stuff, but not so much anymore. I take Zinc lozenges and my mom swears by Zicam.
    As far as tissue, go for the Puffs plus lotion. It really helps with the Rudolph effect that colds give me.

  196. For the cold: Juice a lemon. Put the juice into a cup. Add boiling water and a bit of sugar or honey to sweeten. Sip slowly. The heat and steam help the congestion, and the Vitamin C in the lemon juice can’t hurt!
    If they have Hall’s cough drops up there, the menthol kind are great for keeping the sinuses open and can be carried in multiple pockets. Also, Chinese hot and sour soup works really well, but isn’t as portable.
    Re: the Kauni. O M G! You could almost wear that inside out! Gorgeous!

  197. As someone who flies nearly weekly-I never leave home without Claritin-D and tylenol, motrin and immodium a-d and hand sanitizer. The D part of claritin keeps my head clear, and the tylenol and motrin take away the headaches. The immodium ad..well, one visit with food poisioning taught me well. Hand sanitizer 156 people on a plane, turn around time 20 mins, and off again..all day long. Do the math. Those germs can multiply faster than child genius without a slide rule.
    It’s also a good idea to use vaseline inside your nose to prevent the critter germs on flights from creeping in. And if you can touch a surface of the plane (trays, armrests, headphone buttons…) wash it down! asap! Especially at this time of year.
    I keep all my rx necessites in a zippered bag in my computer carry on…I even pack it BEFORE my knitting! (and anyone who knows me, understands that is a big deal!)
    Some lessons, only need to be learned once.
    good luck, and feel better!

  198. Airborne…greatest stuff ever…I sincerely hope you can get it in Canada…if you can’t, get while in NJ…’s by the cold stuff at the grocery store.

  199. Ok well the inside of your sweater is as pretty as the outside…I don’t know if that would be true of all sweaters…I know I would be rushing to put it on and not weaving in ends properly.
    I hope you feel better.

  200. So, This is utterly unrelated, but you know something… there never was a picture of the finished bohus… like on… there were many in progress, and many “this is what my knitting looks like when flanked by shafts of sunlight” — but as a finished whole… there was none.
    And being a subscriber to the ideology that if you want to fins something you should go look for it, I checked…. tho I admit to stopping around the end of June, when i realized that there was another colorwork project to rival the bohus, and the chances would be slim… ( being a subscriber to the above ideology doesn’t reward futility, however.)
    So, I beg of you… please miss, may we see the finished bohus? πŸ™‚

  201. do you know where I can get that T-shirt that says:Hand over that sock yarn and nobody gets hurt.

  202. So, I realize this comment comes too late, but if you ever find yourself needing to fly with a head cold, remember: Ear Drops are your friend!! A doctor saved me once by prescribing some that numbed the ear so at least you didn’t *feel* the pain of the pressure!! And maybe you could send your drugs my way…I need to kill the cold that came from standing in the rain volunteering all day…

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