How To Be Sick

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Last week I came down with the intense cold that is flowing through our community. It sucked. Of course, when does being sick not suck? However, my illness did not prove to be a total loss, because I was able to learn something in the process.

In the more recent past, sickness has not slowed me down until I'm really, really sick. For example, back in the winter of 2008, I started getting some sort of cold or flu. Instead of taking to my bed and guzzling tea and Airborne, I went to the gym. And not only did I do my usual hour on the elliptical, but I followed that up by an hour of step class. Smart? Not so much. But I didn't stop there. Feeling even worse, I stubbornly forced myself to keep to my daily routine. I substitute taught in a local school. I met a friend for coffee.

By the time I went home that evening, I felt ten times worse than I had in the morning. I was reduced to a shivering, feverish, congested, achy mess. I couldn't bring myself to get up off the couch once I finally let myself lay down. I couldn't sleep either. It was bad. And my recovery lasted weeks because as soon as I felt slightly better, I took to the gym again.

This past week, I did better. At first I wasn't sure if I was getting sick (although I had my suspicions), so I kept up with my routine. I Zumba-ed, went to the women's group at my church last Thursday morning, and went out to lunch with a couple of friends. But it didn't take too long to realize that my suspicions had become reality, so I immediately gave myself up to the couch. I drank healing teas, took Airborne and DayQuil and NyQuil and let myself rest.

Did it suck? Yes. Plus I had to fend off my brain's urgings to get up and do something with myself already. But I forced myself to couch-dwell for all of Friday and Saturday, following that up with a laid back Sunday and Monday. And guess what? This resting thing works. Although I'm still dealing with a lingering cough and runny nose, I otherwise feel completely healed. No weeks of lingering illness for me this time around!

You might be wondering why I devoted a whole post to this topic. I know that it's not rocket science -- when you're sick, obviously you should take care of yourself. But I've never practiced this before. I suppose that I never believed that doing nothing (which is, admittedly, boring -- how much Lego Indiana Jones can a girl play?) is a must-have tool in your illness-fighting toolbox. But now I believe in the power of taking a few sick days. I am astounded at how the body can heal itself from these nasty wintertime bugs with the help of dedicated rest. Amazing!

How do you take care of yourself when you get sick? Do you have any surefire remedies?

[Originally published at my balanced living blog, To the Fullest. Check out the original post here:
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I've learned that it's not a bad thing to admit you need rest. Everyone brags on how they kept going. Thanks for infecting everyone else!

    Another thing people brag about is how LITTLE sleep they get, 4 or 5 hours. Not me. I can't exist on that little. I must get 8 minimum or I get migraines and then I get the sleep I should have gotten in the first place. I'm proud of the fact that I need 9-10 hours each and every night. That's why it's dark.

    I'm glad you are feeling better!
    I love your background on your page too!
    emoticon (I'm hooping!)
    2477 days ago
    I used to think it was my family: we are not weak! We do not need rest! We just need to tough it out. My father tried this with diabetes....didnt quite work. He has to concede to the fact that his pancreas wasnt working. But I see it all around me too! Maybe it is a western thing? Or a cultural thing? Not sure....
    2478 days ago
    Thanks. emoticon
    2478 days ago
    Thanks for your thoughts! Isn't it weird that resting should prove so hard? I wonder if this is an American/western thing...
    2478 days ago
    I do this too. How is sitting going to help me? I need to get up already! Etc....

    Admittedly, I rarely get sick. When I do, it comes down like the hammer of god. I lost my voice completely once, and I still went to work. How stupid is that? I joked that I couldnt call in sick because I lost my voice so I went in! I still struggle with the "Get better by resting" mentality. Unless I am in physical pain (and I know that from the one and only flu I got in 2003!) then I just wont quit. Im trying to fix that.
    2478 days ago
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