I get it.
I, after all, am sick as well. I’m rolling with what seems to be the third day of a fever, which is edging into “mild flu” territory. My writing might be clumsy because of it, but it means that my understanding of sickness is real and experiential, not chipper and removed.
So let me say. It sucks.
It sucks worse than you remember because you don’t remember how much it sucked. It’s lingering and you’re meant to forget. You’re meant to move on. But when a fever pounces upon you, it can do a number of things.
But we’re going to fight it.
1. Take Medicine All The Time
At the risk of sounding callous, fuck rest and fluids. That’s fine. But if you were going back in time, if you were going to show off the health advances of our time, would it be pithy advice or some Theraflu?
Check your medications carefully, beware of mixing them, and abstain from alcohol. But, when you can, medicate. It’s medicine. Some people are so careful about medicine when it could help to protect their body but will drink shots after shots on evenings out. That’s not a judgement call but an observation.
If something can help, take it. Drink fluids and rest, but geez, leave that naturalistic shit to the animals that can’t swing through Walgreens.
2. Music Is Better Than Television
Simple, true and often forgotten is that television will leave you feeling sticky and sickly on the couch. Music, however, is a great addition or substitution.
It’s simple. Music can be ingested with closed eyes, while television requires a burning screen. Television also has plot – music is far more generous, and can be more obviously tailored to your mood or need.
Furthermore, you don’t have enough energy to fully put it to anything– with music you can multi-task with sickly napping, sickly reading, or sickly internet surfing. Television requires a monopoly of attention.
3. Savor The Joys Of Sickness
They are slim, but they are there.
-You can complain about anything, and complain well.
-You are forced to get the sleep that you probably could have used all the time, if we’re clear.
-Instant, guilt-free cancellation of plans. Use this for plans in the future, if you want- you’re “recovering.”
-A ready-made excuse for anything, from eating a ton to sleeping fourteen hours to being rude to whoever. “I’m sick,” is hard to challenge, especially when it’s written obvious on your face.
-Call home and you will be showered with incessant words of advice, and maybe a care package. Plus, it’s an excuse to really complain and unload. It’s not productive, but it’s strangely cathartic to complain, and being sick gives you a chance to finally prove how unfair the world is.
-The joy of lowered expectations and standards. You don’t have enough energy to be anxious- surviving is all you have to manage now.
4. It’s All About Layers
You’re going to be freezing then hot then freezing. It’s not logical, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen.
Simple layers and removal of said layers is going to be a lot easier than freaking out every time your body decides to freak, you’re going to be losing the battle. Stay flexible and breezy, and you’ll be in sync with however cold your body decides it’s going to be this particular minute
(This piece was written in a jacket, jacket and hat, just hat, and then neither. And then just the hat. My body wants to be fickle with temperature perception? Ain’t no thing to me.)
5. The Mind Is As Strong As The Body
I dress up when I’m sick.
Not up-up, but I avoid the all-day pajamas when I can. I brush my teeth, I shave, I shower. I do everything I can to give an external understanding of health.
Similarly, I avoid talking how sick I feel. Yes, this is an exception, but this is to help out you, the reader. If I just tell myself I’m “feeling blah,” that translates to an easier, simpler problem. Saying “I’m sick,” can cause a spiral of worry for me that never seems to help.
So tell yourself you’re going to be fine. Focus on the positives. Listen to some music and think good thoughts.
While you take your medicine, of course.
That stuff is magic.