It’s now nearing the end of day five of being sick and I might be losing my mind a little bit. When I first started feeling symptoms (a tiny tickle in my throat) on Friday evening, I thought nothing of them. After all, when I got sick a few weeks prior, it not only came as quick as it went, lasting a couple days, but never really was full-blown. So while I was prepared for the worst, I didn’t expect it to arrive.
Of course, by Saturday evening when the chills set in, I was singing a different tune. And while the worst of it was in that 24-hour window (full-on aches and pains, fluctuating body temperature, head in a fog), I started to feel better on Monday and prematurely hoped it was over. But then came the strep throat-esque sore throat that only worsened through Tuesday, and this morning I had such a terrible headache from sinus pressure that I was nauseated for most of the day. Luckily, after “inhaling” (more on that below), I felt much better and have just been exhausted for the remainder of today, but ready to hit the ground running tomorrow. And good, too, because not only is tomorrow a relatively busy day, but I also have missed work this week, something that I just incessantly worry about, as no work equals no pay.
Anyway, this time around I tried my best to avoid medications aside from an Ibuprofen every night, and did relatively well. But even so, there are certain things that I need while being sick, so I gathered together some of my essentials to share.
1. Teekanne Salbeitee – Of course it doesn’t really matter what brand you use or, to some extent, what kind of tea you prefer. We are not big tea drinkers in our home, so loose leaf isn’t really a thing, but I asked M. last night if he would pick up some sage tea. Not only is sage particularly good for helping with pain in sore throats, but it also has many other health benefits. It also tastes pretty terrible, which is why I pair it with a teaspoon of honey to make it more palatable.
2. Leschi – A Leschi is basically a small polyester pillow/bean bag in the shape of an elephant and filled with organic wheat. After heating it up in the microwave, it keeps warm for 30-60 minutes, which is the perfect answer to cold fee, aching bellies, and more. We use our Leschis regularly during the winter, with one for each pair of feet, and they’re a lifesaver.
3. Written on the Body – Some people prefer magazines to read while sick; I prefer a good book. In this case, I put my current German endeavor to the side, as reading German when I am sick is simply not productive. This book is a few years old (from the 90s) but it’s only my second foray into Winterson’s work and I love how she tackles love through the lens of loss.
4. Hot Toddy Recipe – It’s advisable not to drink alcohol when you’re sick, but I think a shot of whisky is pretty perfect for knocking you out and helping with sleep. Hot toddy recipes vary in their ingredients of course, but I like the staple of whisky, hot water, a bit of lemon, some honey, and a cinnamon stick. The article I’ve linked to is great because it offers various ways that other people make their hot toddies and it’s easy to customize it to what you want.
5. Kamillosan Konzentrat – This is basically chamomile concentrate. I don’t know what the various purposes are, but we used it for something called inhaling. What it entails is filling a bowl with boiling water and a couple tablespoons of this stuff, then sitting with a towel over your head and inhaling the steam for 10-15 minutes. It’s not the most comfortable ever, and when done, your face will be soaking wet, but it’s a great way to soothe the throat and nasal passages and also release some toxins through sweat. It’s also weirdly meditative and relaxing.
6. Isotoners – House shoes (which are really just slippers) are a super German thing that I once thought was weird but now find essential. There’s little that’s more annoying that putting on a new pair of socks and stepping in water on the kitchen or bathroom floor, and with slippers I don’t have to. And especially when it’s cold, and your feet are cold, and you have a cold, they keep your feet warm and supported when you have to walk around.
7. Chloraseptic / Ricola – Chloraseptic cough drops basically taste terrible but they are my cough drop of choice when I’m suffering from a bad sore throat. The reason why is because they have an oral numbing agency which means that I can fall asleep pretty easily without being kept awake by the pain. But they aren’t available in Germany (that I know) so Ricola is the next best option. They have flavors so that, luckily, they don’t taste all too terrible, and again, here are the sage drops with vitamin C.