Pulling a stark blue coffee mug out of the far left cupboard as the water below began to boil inside the kettle. Reaching into the next cupboard withdrawing a packet of Twinning’s Earl Grey tea, I tore off the top and dropped it into the awaiting mug. As the kettle finished percolating I picked up one of two Jamieson bottles sitting on the counter. The first a Men’s +40 multivitamin and the other a 500mg of Lysine.
Two pills on the counter I stood watching the tea steep in the hot water then decided to dry swallow both pills. The pills didn’t trickle down the tongue and into my throat. Popping on the kitchen faucet I dipped a hand down under the water and scooped some up into my mouth to wash the pills further down.
The daily morning vitamins started about 5-years back when the GP asked during our annual checkup if I were taking a multivitamin for my age. Something I should start thinking about, just like losing weight and being a bit more active as I grew older. I nodded recognizing what the man was talking about and ducked out of his office.
The other pill has been a “favourite” of mine since I was a young boy. Sometime back in the family history I contracted this sticky little virus which only comes out at certain times of the year or during really stressful situations. It’s commonly known as a lip sore or cold sore. You know these little buggers you see on people’s faces. It’s like a Scarlet Letter only its stuck on your lip and it takes time and medication for it to go away.
These pesky little buggers have been splitting my bottom lips since before I could understand what a multivitamin was. The most difficult part of it is when the weather would change and POP the little devil would show up and you’d end up becoming a hermit for the next several days or weeks until it receded back into your body.
Over time, I learned that when this occurred I could eat an entire bottle of 60 or 90 tablets of Lysine and spread medicated lip balm over it, to heal it up. Sometimes it would take double the amount of pills if the sore was severe. They are the most annoying thing to have as a teenager, because you couldn’t see your girlfriend or go to parties because you didn’t want this contagious little bugger being attached to another human being not even your worst enemy!
Eventually the doctor explained this was usually transferred to children from their parents as its a contagious virus. It’s commonly referred to as Herpes Simplex Virus. And can be transmitted by a simple kiss or by someone touching their own and then touching someone else. Around the time I had reached the age of twenty-five I was living on my own in another state away from where our parents had raised us. The weather in the Pacific Northwest had two seasons rain or sunshine. What was best about the Northwest was the sopping rains and cooler dreary winters kept the air extremely moist and as a result my body seemed not to produce these little life changing cold sores.
They receded for years and then when you least expected it Surprise Surprise one of those little buggers would show up on your lips and split it wide open. And all you could think to yourself was why the heck did this happen? I’ve been good for soooo long and now… this! It would just come out of nowhere during your life. Whether you were standing on the Eastern seaboard off the Gold Coast, Australia ready to go surfing for the first time, or standing on a passenger platform in downtown Osaka Japan awaiting the last train home after a long night of partying and dancing.
Around late October 2018 the weather decided in a week’s time to go from +15C to -10C within a few days. During this crazy weather change a cold sore popped out and took control of my bottom lip. It stuck out and bubbled up. It stayed on for 17-days. I had to swallow 120 Lysine pills and use 3-medicated lip balms to get rid of it. Sometime during this episode I swore to find a way to rid myself of this little creeper forever. That’s when I declared when this was over I would begin taking 500mg of Lysine per day, for the rest of my life. One a day, to keep the cold sores away!
The results are in… Its been 425-days and counting… and we’ve experienced zero new cold sores!!
~ James Curtis