So, my mom just recently returned from Nepal. She had flew off to the country as soon as the borders were open to travelling following COVID shut down and managed to secure herself a long awaited vacation by herself in peace without dad and us constantly nagging her in the background. As a souvenir she had brought us some waiwai noodles that we absolutely love and 4 gutted water frogs with their half open mouths and outstretched hands & legs that were completely sun roasted with their skin melted to their skeletons. She appeared very smug as she showed it to us holding them by legs almost as one would hold hot dog on a stick and passed it to me. I will be honest, they did appear crispier than a pork jerky but still had quite raw expressions of horrifying moment of death they were preserved at. Not realising in her moment of triumph that we have never seen this, she looked at us in disbelief and said ‘its hard to get these!’.
I had always wanted to try frog legs ever since I saw it in one of the episodes on ‘Travel and living’ channel. Apparently it is one of the French delicacies and is quite popular too as street foods in Asia like in Vietnam. YouTube bloggers who had it for first time compare it to being close to chicken but more juicy and delicious. Unfortunately this memory of mom showcasing her mummified frogs might have put me off from attempting to have that experience. I am pretty sure she was the hunter herself. Mom is opportunistic. Four is just too less of a number for her to buy. Makes me wonder, what kind of other adventures did she have in the village. She promises, they will never end up on our meals. I doubt so. There seems to be one for each one of us. I wouldn’t trust her words. It took me a couple of weeks to find out she has been filling my water bottles with snail water drinks. Apparently some one told her, ‘it is very healthy for gut’. She is the woman who was trying to buy 1 litre bottle of rhino pee from the Zoo determined to bribe the keepers having heard ‘it is being sold’ and ‘it has great health benefits’.
I remember once, coming home and finding grandma standing on our veranda also sun roasting one of the biggest slugs I ever seen in my life. It was pierced in so many directions with tooth picks, god bless, because she couldn’t find bigger skewers… Doesn’t surprise me, my mom is this way. Although it would be great not to have frogs, snail water as drinking water or rhino pee on a soup but hey what can one do right? But again if one of the chefs from lets say one of the high end French restaurants served me ‘would I say No?’. I don’t know.
No. I haven’t had slugs. I have had snails- as a cuisine. And honestly that was great. Hadn’t tried sea foods before until I came to the UK as Nepal is a landlocked country and, some other things. On that note, you never ask for a ‘beef momo’, you ask for ‘buff momo’ in Nepal. ‘Buff’ as in ‘Buffalo meat’ is quite commonly consumed. Please don’t ever ask for cow meat there.
We were laughing one day talking about these experiences about my mom’s weird habit with my close friend when her mom too admitted to her that when her and her sister were little and suffered from constipation, she would go to the old palace ruins to pick up slugs in Nepal. That would later be dried and their powder mixed into their soups. ‘It worked‘, she said. I guess it is not just my mom then, looking for home remedies. Similar to that story, one of my patients in her 80’s recently told me, when she was young and suffered from terrible constipation her mom would tear a cotton cloth, put a soap in it, soak it in the water and give her an enema. ‘It worked’, she said too.
I don’t know what works and what doesn’t to be honest. We can’t go on researching every myths they have out there, can we? Have you heard of all the things people have been doing for home remedy of COVID past years? My uncle and aunt apparently turmeric drinks were great to get rid of the virus. Listening to their story coming from Mom, I am not sure whether their COVID symptoms was severe diarrhoea or it was the concentrated turmeric drink they were taking for their symptoms that was making them go back and forth? Honey drink, tea and hot drinks I can understand. They have soothing effect on sore throat and help expectorate cough. Advised the same to my siblings when they had COVID and I could literally hear my mom roll her eyes in its bony vaults over the phone all the way from Nepal. ‘You don’t know what you are talking about’ she remarked. I wonder if it is a shared problem with every doctor’s in the world or just mine, my family members never seem to take my medical advice. If they did, mom wouldn’t be carrying dead frogs across the oceans in her luggage right?
Anyways, ‘People are drinking alcohol to fight with COVID. It is an antiseptic. So… ‘ A small glass of whiskey everyday on a supposedly based medical recommendation? I know where she is going with it. ‘There are herbal sprays and powders that you put in nose that gets rid of COVID even when you are just starting to develop symptoms’. ‘I don’t want you stuffing anything in your nose again Mom’, I tell her off appearing stern, reminding her of the time when I came back home to find her puffed with a swollen face- nose, mouth and eyelids salivating from one end of her mouth. There was a herbal product called ‘Nos’ in Nepal, I don’t know if it is still circulating around. Both my mom and aunt trialled it to help with their sinusitis problems. You take a sniff of it (reminded me of cocaine addicts they showed on TVs when they did it) and after some time, you start having excess nasal drainage. I don’t know what happened after few days, I swear she looked like the frozen sun-roasted toad she is showing me now.
I feel for people who are now suffering from long COVID symptoms who are desperate to try anything including and not limited to complementary medicines. A lot of our modern day antibiotics and treatment are a discovery or at least in part a derivative of these ancient practices. They have proven benefits in many cases however I would advise caution with any use. I read there are extensive frauds going on trying to sell a miracle cure for COVID, scamming thousands of people. One needs to be really careful in today’s day and age. My dad was at the bank while on the phone with a scammer about to transfer money!! From our last conversation about COVID medications, monoclonal antibodies called Ronapreve (casirivimab & imdevimab combination) has been now removed from treatment guidelines since it was found to be less effective against omicron variant which remains the dominant variant today with its BA.5 variant leading in numbers and some BA.4 variant cropping here and there. Paxlovid has been introduced a while ago which is a combination of Nirmatrelvir & Ritonavir in oral formulation. And I read, both Molnupiravir and Paxlovid are both being studied now under RECOVERY trial. Similarly stem cell therapies is other avenue that is being looked into.
I have now come out of training and do only part time shifts now and then to keep afloat on my rent and expenses. So I have to be honest, I have not and will no longer be keeping track of COVID while on my ‘career break’. I haven’t yet travelled. Thanks to my poor judgement on expenses on romantic and life decisions. Hahaha. Finally got myself a ticket. ‘Is covid still going around in Nepal?’ I asked her as soon as I got the confirmation email. ‘No one is scared of Corona anymore. Its Dengue in Kathmandu all over now. Make sure you are fully clothed top to bottom and carry insect repellents’.