NOTICE: The recommendations in this article are NOT from a professional doctor, a pre-med student, or even someone who remotely comprehends biology. The following “facts” are based on an English concentrator’s own experiences for remedying sicknesses. She is not to be held responsible for worsening conditions OR speedy recoveries. The reader is advised to “take it or leave it.”
For me, Sunday is the day that gracefully dovetails the weekend into the workweek. It’s a day for the soft smell of laundry detergent to waft through and linger in every corner of the house and for the mop to address the wooden floors. It’s my day for inky newspapers and lazy 2000s songs. The generous hours belong to me, my bed and, perhaps, a walk to an expensive latte.
On this particular Sunday, the last restful day of September, I woke up a monster. I usually wake up rejuvenated on the brink of the afternoon to the sun sifting through the cracks of my blinds—but this gloomy Sunday, every bone in my body ached and shivers snaked from my shins to my fingertips. I was freezing but also sweating. My head pounded against my pillow and my nose leaked like a broken faucet.
When I finally found the ability to move, I rolled out of bed and unfortunately caught my reflection in the mirror. My tan from summer’s kind sun had vanished from my face and left me with a ghostly complexion. My eyes were covered in a thin layer of mist and my lips were cracking all over. The bestowed image was a humbling revelation. After being mortified by my new appearance, I had no choice but to get back in bed and hide from the rest of the world.
For five days I laid in bed with a fever that jumped over the hundred degree mark. When day three rolled around, I decided it was time to get better.
I started with chicken broth.
I know what you’re thinking: “Nadia, you’re vegetarian!” While it’s humiliating to admit, desperate times call for desperate measures. When an itchy, prickly, thick substance shuts your throat and stops the passage of any food from your mouth to your poor, hungry tummy, chicken broth is the only solution. Not only is hot soup an affordable massage for the esophagus, it’s also delicious. I drank the entire carton in one day. I devoured it shamelessly, eating it with a spoon and drinking it in a cup. Whether it was the chicken (rest in peace) or the broth, something in that carton magically improved my unnamed illness.
A friend of mine gave me a piece of advice that I turn to for every illness. When you’re sick, the only way to get better is to sweat it out. Before getting into bed at night, I put on two pairs of pajamas and sleep under multiple heavy blankets. You might overheat and you may wake up in your own little swimming pool but trust me the way to GET it out is to SWEAT it out. I don’t understand the science behind it but I believe it has something to do with the perspiration washing out the evil germs. It’s gross, I know, but winning the big war includes losing some smaller battles.
On day three I noticed that coffee, which I thought would give my body the energy to fight my illness, was actually just dehydrating me. Instead of charging my immune system with the spark to hop into action, the caffeine chose the side of my sickness and helped it to fight against me. So giving caffeine a rest for a few days when you are sick could really lessen the stress your body undergoes.
Getting sick in college is as inevitable as the sun setting. The relationship between sicknesses and colleges is a modern day love story—especially on Brown’s campus. As I write this article, a week and a half after my last ailment, I find the familiar stuffiness crawling into my nose and the tiredness settle onto my eyelids. At this point being sick is almost a comforting feeling. And while I will engage in the boring practices of drinking water, sleeping tons, and taking my vitamins, I will also chug chicken broth, sleep in fourteen thousand layers, and lay off coffee for a day or two. Hopefully I’ll be better in no time.