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Gill went from a jubilant “I’m winning Christmas!” with her gifts of a turkey toque for me and a family board game for us all to a forlorn “I ruined Christmas!’  in the space of three days. She was vociferous in her praise of Air Canada’s unparalleled ability to harbor, transmit and incubate the germs that resulted in her terrible cold two days after she landed in Toronto. I too have often been laid low by germs after flights, but I have to say, all the airlines are equal-opportunity fetid petrie dishes. Air Canada does not have the monopoly on diseases.

Knowing that L’il Sis and her fiance were arriving for Christmas Eve, as Gill hacked, I worried. Lil Sis takes a biologic medicine that compromises her immune system. The last thing she needs is to get a bad cold that could rapidly turn into something very serious.

I approached Gill. First we thought: face masks –of the medical type, not Mardi Gras ones. However, having just said that, I admit that Gill’s mind immediately turned to Little Kitty masks. She has a certain fascination with all things Asian and she keeps threatening that, when she flies in the future, she will be wearing a Hello Kitty mask. I don’t know what would frighten her fellow passengers more — the thought that she has contracted some dread disease and is attempting to keep it from spreading to them with the non-scientific, sketchy use of a child’s mask or the thought that, since she is wearing a mask with a child’s logo, she might be on her way to being caught by the little men with nets .

After appropriate Googling, she found a source for said masks. But after reading the reviews of them, she thought better of her plan. It seems they smell terribly of plastic. The thought of breathing in plastic toxins turned her off. I wouldn’t, though, count out her wearing the masks simply because they look silly and she loves Hello Kitty merch.

It took only a couple of more days for me to show symptoms of the cold. Egged on by L’il Sis’s hippie-dippy homeopathic advice, I tried downing drops of oregano oil. I know many people swear by it, but after catching the cold, I swear AT it. Then a neighbor came up with a definitive cure for a sore throat. I was to crush a clove of garlic in a glass of water and gargle with it as needed. Wow! You could smell the garlic in the glass before you entered my bathroom. And I stunk of it too. I actually think it helped the throat, but I could barely stand to be in the same room with myself! After a few days of oregano drops and garlic gargling, I figured that, if Gill threw some tomato sauce on me, we’d have a pizza!

After two days here with us, L’il Sis did indeed come down with the cold. Thankfully, hers didn’t develop into anything more serious. Crazy D was the Last Man Standing without the cold.

It seems that, as Gill’s holiday draws to an end, she may be just well enough to catch a new batch of airplane germs on her return flight to the U.K. And, yes, I’m about to take off for Mexico. We’re taking bets as to who’ll get sick first!