Reason Versus Reality: The Flu


People love to wrap logic up in short little catchphrases. First comes love, then comes marriage. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Keep yourself warm, you won't get sick. Just letting you know, none of them are true.
I have the flu. Those four dreaded words that nip at my very being. I've spent the whole week feeling somewhat unwell but after falling asleep very late last night, I woke up repeatedly due to the inexplicable inability to breathe through my nose. It's been downhill for every waking moment since then.
I've spent today in a haze of tissues and body aches. So now my mission is to feel better as soon as possible and, naturally I turned to the internet to help me wage war with my immune system. Sadly, all I'm reading is the same advice. Time has told me that the reality of having the flu is vastly different when you're an adult taking care of yourself and feeling pathetic.
Here are some of the common 'reasonable' pieces of advice I've found that are entirely unrealistic:

Drink plenty of fluids

Reality: When your throat feels like it's being strangled, any fluids passing through are going to make you choke like a dog. Water tastes like garbage juice and if you're not a regular drinker of lemon and honey tea then you will probably vomit it back up anyway. Soup? Who has the time or will to make soup? Don't you need an appetite to eat? Unless you still live with a very loving parent, that's not going to happen.

 

Take time to relax and unwind

Reality: If you're reading this, chances are that you're an adult (or a young person who should have some sort of internet filter on). Adults have obligations, and not just work ones. If you're a parent like myself, there are children to care for. If you're not, there's still a house around you and people you know who won't truly understand the need to be left alone while you cough up phlegm and struggle to breathe. 

In your attempt to rest, you may be bombarded with unsolicited advice, the feeling of shittiness when you have to cancel plans with others and the reality that you're going to let your living space fall apart around you until you can muster up the energy to move like a human being again. Rest? Not if you're a stresshead.

Sleep

Reality: How can anyone sleep when their nose feels like it's simultaneously leaking while stuffed full of marshmallows? Elevate your pillow, they say. Been there, done that, I still pity my neighbours who probably heard my garbled, choked snores at 3am. Shutting your eyes hurts because they feel like they're lined with sandpaper, your body will ache regardless of whether you sit, stand or lie down and the chills alone are enough to rob you of precious zzzs.

Steam

Reality: Those ten glorious minutes in a steaming hot shower will be followed by an hour of wishing that you never got undressed and exposed yourself to the cold. Yes, you can breathe through your nose again but now it will leak like a garden hose. A steamy bowel of water and a towel over your head? How long can any person sit there in the dark before curling up into a ball of pity and frustration? That towel is a gateway to depression.
If you're reading this and have managed to make it this far, I can reassure you that the flu is just as depressing as I've made it out to be. The silver lining is that it will leave eventually. That's it. There are no positives from the flu. It's so debilitating and exhausting that pessimism becomes your best friend. Don't get the flu and don't come anywhere near me if you do. You've been warned. You may now go and drink your tea, breathe through your nose and appreciate the simple things in life that can be so abruptly stolen from you.
What do you do when you have the flu? If it's none of the above, and it has actually worked for you, then let me know in the comments below. I'll either thank you profusely or wallow in even more misery.

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