Most of the time, when people get colds, it’s no big deal. After all, they are common. For me, on the other hand, it’s always a life-altering event. I do a lot of things on a regular basis to maintain the oomph of my immune system: I work out, drink a lot of water, wash my hands constantly, get TONS of sleep and eat a wide rainbow of colored vegetables. So when I feel a cold or flu coming on, I get indignant. Even more … I panic. Terrifying thoughts of being bed-ridden for weeks and debilitating symptoms race through my mind as I pop ColdCalm, chug water, take Vitamin C (or not, depending what the studies tell me to do that week), sip tea and go to bed at 6pm.
Sometimes, it works and I’m able to keep my virus at bay (though I’m beginning to suspect that all I’m really doing is delaying the inevitable – I am just never going to be one of those people that “doesn’t get sick.”) but most of the time, it eventually wears me down and my body succumbs to the illness. Because I am a “coldaphobe,” I have read a lot of articles about all facets of the rhinovirus – how to prevent it, how to shorten the duration, how to FIX IT and in all of my reading, I’ve heard tell (who knows if this source was reliable, like WebMD or kooky like Yahoo! Answers?) that the stronger your immune system, the more violent your symptoms (as your body desperately attempts to eject the germs.)
All that being said, I usually have a couple of days of misery to endure (though I’ll be the first to admit that I am a HUGE baby about being sick – see above for evidence), and my most recent stint in the sick ward was no different. I took a couple of days out of my ridiculous schedule (see all previous posts for the whirlwind that has been my life the past few months) to be sick. Here are some lessons I learned:
1. Humans are not made to go nonstop. Eventually, your body will find a way to slow you down and force you to rest. (And I can’t tell you how good it felt to finally do that!)
2. I found yet another evil attribute of alcohol. It does not enhance your immune system or help re-build it. The night before I got sick, I had wine. And more than just the heart-health boosting singular glass of red antioxidants. I know it didn’t MAKE me sick, but it feels like the straw that broke the camel’s back. In addition to being a detriment to immunity in itself, it also dehydrates you, messes with your sleep cycle and detracts from healthy eating. I felt it appropriate to abstain from booze throughout the duration of my illness.
3. Tea is delicious. Dan and I drink coffee every day (French Press, baby!) and by no means am I planning to give that up. But I am vowing: more tea at night and a few days of tea in the morning per week instead of java.
4. I love old episodes of “The Cosby Show” and “Roseanne.” There were marathons of both on TVLand while I was “resting” and I even got lucky enough that they played the “teen drinking” episodes of both. So much hilarity.
5. Penny is a good companion for the sick. See below:
6. Being sick isn’t as bad as I think it’s going to be. Despite all the panic and stress, it’s not usually THAT bad. Of course, I’d rather be healthy and I always enjoy the day that I wake up feeling totally recovered, but being forced to relax a little wasn’t so bad. I should remember to do it on my own more often.