I’m sick and unfortunately, that is the inspiration for this blog post. So, you know that feeling when your throat feels a little scratchy and you let loose a few random sneezes? Yeah, that one. You’re not sure if it will morph into a full blown flu or cold. Well, there is a narrow window of opportunity here to prepare for the worst. It’s the pre-hunker down phase where you still have enough energy to arrange for your bed rest. Now, some colds you can just work through but others, the ones that hit you like a ton of bricks, you have no choice. Your body has been invaded and your energy level is zero. This is the kind I’m talking about.
I was fortunate to have a mother that transformed herself into “Florence Nightingale” whenever one of us got sick. It was amazing to see her kick into high gear. A bath was run and while you would soak, she would change your sheets and prepare your bedroom with all the necessary items that you might need for your confinement. I remember the Vicks rubs on my chest and neck and the vaporizer filling the room with the eucalyptus-scented mist. Next, to the bed, she placed a little bell that could be rung if anything else was needed. Meals were brought in on a tray. Soup, juice, applesauce, and Jello (it was the 60’s). An array of remedies from cough drops to aspirin were administered. I had paper to draw on and books to read to pass the time. When my little brothers were sick and in bed they had army men to stage among the blankets where their knees made hills and valleys. It was pampering at its best.
I realized after I married, when I got sick, those days of a tending mother were in the past. It didn’t mean that I wouldn’t miss it though. Now I would take on that role for my own family. On their sick days, my children remember recuperating in mom and dads big bed surrounded by their favorite blanket, and stuffed animals. Much of their care followed the same traditions including the little bell but with the modern twist of watching T.V. and playing games.
With self-care, there a few things to keep in mind. When you feel something coming on, you must quickly spring into action to prepare for sick days ahead. Keep in mind you only have a short time to do this because some colds and flu hit hard fast! A trip to the grocery store might be in order so you can pick up all the necessary items you will need…..cold medicine, tissues, water, juice, tea, lemon, honey, soup, magazines, hand sanitizer, easy meals for your family etc. Remember you are going to bed to make the most of it. Tidy your room, change your sheets, stock your bathroom with fresh towels and extra tissue. Assemble a tray of items on your nightstand that might include, medicine, water, vaporizer, tissue phone, charger, hand lotion and sanitizer, chapstick, Vicks rub, remote controls, reading material, a hair tie, and a fresh flower. Have a wastebasket nearby. Do you see where I am going with this? Make it a sanctuary so you can recuperate fully in beautiful surroundings. Cancel some appointments and make new arrangements. Soak in the tub then slip into your comfortable sleepwear (I always go for my white cotton Eileen West night dress), fuzzy socks and slide between the sheets. You are going to feel under the weather but you can still make your surroundings a little slice of heaven.
Sometimes it’s best to just give in and make the most of the quiet time. If you are too foggy to read anything then listen to a podcast, an audiobook, music or even watch an old movie. You may just need the extra sleep. If you’re lucky enough to have help from your family then that’s a bonus. Your family will be fine and they will appreciate you when you are back in full force.
I would love to hear what your childhood memories are of being cared for when you were ill. Do you have any great home remedies? Any “old wives tales” you had to put up with? I’d really love to know. So for now, I will say try to stay healthy and happy but if you do become ill, be gentle with yourself. You may come out of this relaxed, rejuvenated and better than ever.