My Unintended Language Lesson

29 May

A friend saw me on a walk today and said, “You haven’t posted in a while!” And she is right. “Blame it on the weather and my bronchitis,” I responded, and we proceeded to share funny stories of unintended Italian lessons. Now granted, her newly needed vocabulary, some 30 years ago, was much more exotic, as she was preparing for a c-section delivery of her second child in northern Italy. Mine is much more mundane – that is, dealing with a cold, cough and eventual bronchitis.

I’m sure in my Italian classes with Giovanna we covered many of these words, but I probably wasn’t very interested. I do remember paying attention to “pronto soccorso” or emergency room, in the hope that we’d never have to visit one.

But here I am this year, three weeks in, with a new and unfortunately useful vocabulary:

I have a cold: Ho un raffreddore.

I have a bad cough and I cough a lot: Ho una brutta tosse e tossisco molto.

Every Italian friend we know has said the weather is the culprit. They suggested I visit the doctor who would prescribe antibiotics (antibiotici) and cortisone (cortisone). Hmmm…cortisone for bronchitis? Never heard of that combo before.

After visiting the doctor, he confirmed: “I have bronchitis.” Ho la bronchite.

He also asked the color of my phlegm, (flemma), but I’ll spare you the details, only to say that my extensive knowledge of Italian colors came in helpful.

The prescription was just as I had been told, antibiotics (amoxicillina) for 6 days;  cortisone, which turned out to be prednisone (prednisone) for 5 days; and an awful tasting cough syrup (sciroppo per la tosse) 2-4 times daily.  I did some research and found that short-term steroid therapy does help minimize inflammation within the bronchial tubes. Made sense to me.


So, for the week I was on meds, I drank tons of water and tea, knocked back hot honey-lemon-ginger shots, skipped all vino, and did my best to stay out of places where I could spread my germs. Over the subsequent days, I began slowly improving, knowing that the bronchitis cough can last a while. And then came last Sunday, finally med free, so we went to Tuscher for lunch.

Being a true blooded Italian, my personal choice of “meds” was simple:

Chocolate banana cake with whipped cream (panna)


delightfully washed down with vino rosso!


Still not quite 100%, but getting closer every single day!








24 Responses to “My Unintended Language Lesson”

  1. annagrassini May 29, 2019 at 2:56 PM #

    Glad to hear you have recovered! And all Italians are convinced bad weather is the cause of all kinds of respiratory illness! And sadly they prescribe antibiotics when none are required…as in the case of most bronchitis! Hope you forget all the vocabulary and never need it again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly May 29, 2019 at 3:05 PM #

      I did wait almost 3 weeks before going to the doc. I have had this before and pretty much knew I had bronchitis and didn’t want it to get worse, so I opted for the meds this time. The weather has truly been awful, with rain nearly daily and still too many layers! Would love to forget this vocabulary soon!!


  2. Judith Knotts May 29, 2019 at 3:47 PM #

    Glad you are on the mend. Eat that cake!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sandra May 29, 2019 at 4:01 PM #

    Get well soon! Sounds brutal, 3 weeks of illness?? Sympathize with you, weather has been wicked here too. Our golf course opening was delayed twice, finally opened but has been cart path ever since. It rains, we have perhaps 2 days, then it starts to dry and then rain again, over and over. Yesterday we got 3/4 inches of rain and half an inch on Saturday. Bad for us but brutal for our farmers. Some fields are still untouched, too wet and it’s June 1 on Saturday. Think Georgian Bay might overflow soon! Anyhow, keep up the good work, wine sterilizes everything!! A good friend of one of our daughters was in Cortona last week, had a great time but sadly weather was not great for him either. Not hearing good things for summer either! We arrive September 27, fingers crossed! Please say hello to Massimo e Daniella. Sandra

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly May 30, 2019 at 11:06 AM #

      Seems as though the weather has been bad almost everywhere. And if the wine isn’t good for sterilization, it’s good for the soul! Hope your area farmers get planted. So glad we planted weeks ago as so many of the open fields here are drenched.


  4. jeanfromcalifornia May 29, 2019 at 4:07 PM #

    Dear Judy, Don’t freak out about taking the occasional antibiotic when it may not be necessary.
    About 20 years ago I got MRSA.
    That was when it was first discovered that some bacteria were shockingly immune to penicillin. When I protested that I never took antibiotics the doctor replied “You eat chicken and beef don’t you?” That is where all the antibiotics are.
    BTW – they cured it by going back in time to the pre-penicillin Sulfa drugs. Everything old CAN be new again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly May 30, 2019 at 11:07 AM #

      Not to worry, I don’t take them often, only when I think they might actually help, as in before a flight!


  5. jeanfromcalifornia May 29, 2019 at 4:10 PM #

    And don’t forget your Italian medical vocabulary. We all might need your expertise/

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yvonne Wilson May 29, 2019 at 5:17 PM #

    Wow, can’t believe you have had such a hard time with it. You and I are more alike than I thought. We not only share our love of all things Italian and photography but have had to deal with what seemed like never ending bronchitis. My one question is, does it feel any less horrible if you are dealing with it in Italian? So sorry you have been so under the weather. Now you are getting better, stay well and on to the fun!! Sending love!

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly May 30, 2019 at 11:10 AM #

      I read that the “afterglow” of bronchitis can last 90 days – yuk! And actually, it’s worse here because we go out so often. Thanks and same back at you two.


  7. Lyn Douglas May 29, 2019 at 8:02 PM #

    Your preferred medication would at least put a smile on your face. Sounds divine. But hey, I grab every opportunity I can to improve my very limited Italian vocab.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Charles Faso May 29, 2019 at 10:27 PM #

    Che peccato! Mi dispiace che tu stai stato malata. Meliore adesso, spero. Forse, un po piu torta, panna, con vino rosso. Alla tua salute!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Royce Larsen May 30, 2019 at 1:18 AM #

    The rumors of your death have been greatly exaggerated. The dessert selection is ample proof! Congratulations.


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Debs May 30, 2019 at 12:07 PM #

    Sorry to hear about your lungs – I too am getting over an upper respiratory virus – I’m four weeks out and still having residual coughing – chocolate does help!

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly May 30, 2019 at 1:34 PM #

      A girl after my own heart ❤️!
      Hope yours and mine cease soon!!


  11. Sandy Holswade May 30, 2019 at 6:19 PM #

    So happy you are feeling better. I missed your blog. You certainly know how to celebrate your recovery. Yum!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Bobbie Morgan May 30, 2019 at 6:52 PM #

    So sorry to hear you’ve been so sick!! Hopefully you’re on the mend. We were in Sicily (Trapani) around Mother’s Day and it was freezing there also. We both got colds that are still lingering. Ugh… It sucks to be sick on vacation. More of that delicious chocolate cake and vino rosso should help. See you in September 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly May 31, 2019 at 3:30 AM #

      Sorry to hear you both got sick. I think the lingering is the worst part! And I agree, never too much of a good thing. See you in the fall🤗


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