I used to work with a very sweet lady named Nellie until she retired. After she left the company five years ago, we promised to keep in touch and we have. She lives with her son, Joash, a bachelor. I met him five years ago when I visited Nellie at his beach house. He was very reserved. He hardly said much and I couldn’t help feeling that he didn’t like me or approve of my close relationship with his mother. So, to avoid running into him, I visited her when I knew that he wouldn’t be there.
Nellie and I would go for a dip in the ocean sometimes. I told her that the salt water would be good for her knees. She has arthritis in them. and it frustrates her. Once she asked me if there were any natural treatments because she didn’t like to take any medication or painkillers for the pain. I couldn’t think of anything at the moment so one afternoon, I called my friend Belinda and asked her.
“I would suggest Nettles for Nellie,” she said.
I stared at her, befuddled. “Nettles? What are nettles?”
“What on earth are those?”
“A stinging nettle is an ancient herb which can be used to treat arthritis, allergies and inflammation. In stead of buying over the counter drugs for my allergies, I use stinging nettles.”
“Do they work?”
“Of course they do. Histamine is a compound that triggers the body’s immune response to an allergen. The stinging nettle extract blocks histamine from reaching receptors on tissue, reducing the severity of symptoms. I use them for allergy relief and they work.”
“But what about arthritis? Are you sure it would work for that?”
“Stinging nettle hairs contain several chemicals that have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties which means that stinging nettle could help to reduce pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.”
“What about side effects?”
“Stinging nettles are generally considered safe because of they are traditionally used as food and in folk remedies. The side effects are relatively mild but just be aware that if taken orally, you may experience stomach upset and sweating. If used topically, it is possible to develop skin irritation and rash. If I were you, I would recommend that Nellie talk to her doctor before stinging nettle to get a better understanding of the potential risks and benefits.”
“I will.” I decided that I would talk to Joash about it and together they could talk to her doctor. “Thanks, Belinda.” After we arranged to have brunch one Sunday, I ended the call.
I stared at the phone. Should I call Joash or just stop by his beach house and see him? My heart skipped a beat at the thought of seeing him. I could go on the pretext of visiting Nellie who would be very pleased to see me.
As soon as I left the office, I went straight home, had something to eat, showered and changed. I drove over to the beach house. As expected, Nellie was happy to see me and invited to have a cup of tea with her. We chatted for a while and then, I asked if her son was home.
“Yes, Joash came home about a half-hour ago, changed and headed straight down to the beach.”
“Will you excuse me, Nellie? I need to talk to him.”
“Yes, Dear. When you’re done talking to him, come back to the house and we can a game or two of Checkers.”
“Sure.” I excused myself and headed down to the beach.
From where I was, I could see Joash. He was standing at the water’s edge facing the sea. My heart leapt when I saw that he was wearing just a pair of swimming trunks.
Taking a deep breath, I went down the sandy embankment. He turned and saw me. I couldn’t prevent my eyes from traveling over his body which was glistening in the sunlight. He was gorgeous. By now my heart was really pounding.
“Hello, Joash,” I said. I sounded a little breathless and hoped that he would attribute it to physical exertion.
He didn’t even crack a smile. “Hello.”
“I-I needed to talk to you about your mother–“
“What about her?”
I explained to him about her wish to have natural treatments for her arthritis instead of medication. “A friend of mine who is a herbalist suggested Stinging Nettles as a possible treatment but she advised that Nellie speak to her doctor first.”
“I have heard of Stinging Nettle but not enough research has been done to make me comfortable with my mother using it as a treatment. There are other ways for my mother to get relief from her condition such as managing her weight, getting enough exercise, using hot and cold therapy, Acupuncture, following a healthy diet and getting a massage.”
“What about herbal supplements?”
“No, no herbal supplements.”
His expression darkened. “Some of them can cause side effects and dangerous drug interactions.”
“You can talk to her doctor before trying a supplement.”
“No. Supplements are out of the question. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t monitor herbs and supplements for quality, purity, or safety, so there’s no way of knowing exactly what these products contain. I’m not going to take any risks with my mother’s health.”
“I understand. Well, I-I will leave it up to you to do what’s best for your mother. I’d better go now. Goodbye.”
“Goodbye.” Our eyes held for several minutes before I turned and walked away. I joined Nellie in the drawingroom.
“Did you speak to Joash?” she asked.
“Yes, I did. I told him that you wanted a natural treatment for your arthritis and he said that he’s looking into it.”
She smiled. “Good. Thank you for talking to him about it.”
“You’re welcome.” I paused and then, I said. “I don’t think Joash likes me.”
“Now why do you think so?”
“He hardly speaks to me and I’ve never seen him smile.”
“That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t like you. Is that why you’ve been visiting me when he’s not here?”
I nodded. “Yes.”
“Why don’t you come on Saturday evening and have dinner with us?” she said.
“Wouldn’t Joash mind?”
“No, he wouldn’t.”
“All right, I will come.”
“Good. Now, do you have time for one game of Checkers?”
I smiled. “Sure.” We ended up playing two games and then, I left.