How to Cure the Common Cold: An Experiment
I have spent the last few months committed to a significant increase in healthy habits; such as 4 litres of water a day, no coffee except on the odd weekend, and far, far, (far!) less alcohol. Unfortunately my recent bout of Halloween candy, beer binging, and coffee avec Bailey’s has curtailed my efforts. Add to that a 10km race and a disrupted watering schedule, this flower has wilted in the sub-zero temperatures of late.
The cliches about getting better when you’re sick are many, but how many of us admit to actually abiding by those innocent suggestions? Do we really think we are better off ignoring the obvious in favour of immediate gratification? (Duh, YES, I’m a better person with coffee!) Well, Tuesday I fell ill, and since I was already on a pretty good track before Halloween, I decided to test several of the typical adages:
Cut Out Caffeine and Alcohol
I did it, and I didn’t hate the world. In recent illness I have been known to continue drinking coffee. WHY on EARTH would I stop that when it’s the only thing that makes me feel normal? And don’t even get me started on my evening glass of wine, that’s the last thing that’s getting the boot after a long day of being sick. I can just drink this cold away, alcohol kills the cold bugs, amirite?
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Fresh ginger, orange, and lemon in hot water. David’s Tea: Alpine Punch. Soup. Fruit smoothies. And of course, water – through a straw to avoid the inevitable choking through the stuffy nose and scratchy throat. Chug water like it’s going out of style. Without the diuretic of caffeine, hopefully the majority of that water is useful!
Get Plenty of Rest
My ultimate dream came true, albeit with far more mucus than I envisaged – I was a housecat for a day. I slept in sunbeams, ate small meals, and curled up in interesting beds. I had a hot bath, did some deep breathing, and avoided daytime pseudo ephedrine cop-outs. I didn’t even turn on the TV or read a book as it would have been too much stimulation for my exhausted brain.
I treated myself to fresh pair of pyjamas and a clean sweatshirt three days in a row. I now realize I have under-appreciated the ability of fresh pjs to make you happy. I am going to buy more pyjamas.
I “fight” my sickness from the get go, a battle immediately begins to rage. Luckily, this time, my recent meditation spree has me noticing when I’m not in tune with my inner joy. This illness raised a massive red flag to correct an extremely sour (and completely unnecessary) disposition. Why should a sore throat steal my happiness? I might not be able to go for a run, but I can enjoy the warmth of my lemon-ginger-honey tea on said throat. With some coaxing and reminding, that anxiety and frustration that ignited with the first echo of my sore throat was worn down, and I was able to have a “Benilyn Day” without the drugs.
This feels like Day 13, but I’m only on Day 4. My symptoms progressed unusually quickly. My faucet of a nose has already abated, and if I could inhale deeply without coughing, I’d have the energy to go for a run tonight. Getting sick is never convenient, but I now refuse to cut corners getting back to health. This has been too easy!
One more thing…Kleenex with Lotion and Aloe. That is all.