How do you comfort yourself when you are ill?
October 9, 2004 1:37 AM   Subscribe

How do you comfort yourself when you are ill?

I’ve got a throat full of needles, a cough like Mimi in the garrett, and the hem of Death’s robe swishing around my bedside like a drag queen on goofballs. Not that I’d ever complain. When I was a little girl, that meant catching up on my coloring and exploring the curative powers of Campbell’s soup and Vicks. Now that I’ve watched all the bad TV I can stand, I’m wondering: what are some other options? What do you eat, drink, think, and do when you’re not sleeping, coughing, or bitterly pondering human fragility?
posted by melissa may to Health & Fitness (32 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Baths can be comforting if you're up to it. And indulging in lots of different quality teas.

Bad TV only makes me feel worse. But my last few sick days have been spent actually watching the supplementary material on those Lord of the Rings DV box sets. It's light stuff, but interesting, and commercial free. Lots of starfucking. Mmm. That Merry guy is pretty hot without his wig. Be prepared, though, because Legolas is actually one swarthy mofo in real life. The soothing film soundtrack (massively recycled), plus lots of New Zealand landscapes, always ease my aches and pains. I can even stand Paiter Jeksen if I just close my eyes and enjoy his accent. Rent / borrow it.

Or... don't be a massive geek. Your call.
posted by scarabic at 2:09 AM on October 9, 2004

oh - and get well soon! :)
posted by scarabic at 2:14 AM on October 9, 2004

Response by poster: Oh, geekery is always comforting, as is the kindness of strangers. Thanks, scarabic.
posted by melissa may at 2:35 AM on October 9, 2004

Myself, I like to watch star trek until I puke. Then I puke and go back to watch some more. And puke. An so on.

Since I have the episodes nearly memorized it's not only a bit hypnotic* (and therefore makes me sleepy -- this is good) but also when my eyes tire I can close them and still remember each and every scene. I'll usually also watch a couple of movies that I've watched far too many times before, like robocop or terminator 2 for the same reason.

I'm sure there's a series on TV you find the same. One that you have memorized. Just put it on and let your mind melt to mush for the rest of the day.

Good luck!

* - this word used by Captain Picard while describing a speech he had to endure to Troi, Jeordie, and Data while they are returning to the, unbeknownst to them, "almost paused" in time Enterprise.

[If you don't know a book/tv show/movie that is like this for you, then sorry, I can't help]
posted by shepd at 3:07 AM on October 9, 2004

Nyquil. Hands down. And I'm not talking heroic doses here, just the recommended amount.
posted by bucko at 3:52 AM on October 9, 2004

Comfort food: pepperoni (can't eat otherwise: cholesterol)
Comfort drink: Bailey's Irish Cream
Comfort smoke: Bong hits
posted by mischief at 5:25 AM on October 9, 2004

I find not eating conducive to feeling comfortable while bed-ridden. My stomach is much more stable when empty than when filled with even mild food (particularly liquids like tea and soup and water.) Then again, I know people who recommend four-star curry as a surefire cure for colds.

A hot water bottle, filled with half water and half ice, does wonders for relieving the symptoms of fever and/or headache. That and a fistful of Excedrin.

Strangely enough, the last time I was greviously ill, I too went through the supplemental materials on Fellowship of The Ring. (I get sick once every three or four years; it requires some variation of the plague to overcome my immune system.) Beware this course of action, however: In my fevered state, I began suffering from days of frantic battle scene dreams, which were not at all restful.
posted by Danelope at 7:35 AM on October 9, 2004

What not to do: last time I was really feverish, I zonked out in front of what was apparently the 24-hour Teletubbies station. Gave me nightmares for days. "Again! Again! Again!" Even the bunny rabbits started to look menacing after a while.

If the weather is at all amenable, get yourself outside if you can -- even if you have to bundle up in a stack of blankets, fresh air just breathes easier than a stuffy sick-room. I like to imagine every sneeze or cough leading to millions of teeny tiny screams as the expelled germs are incinerated by the sunlight. It's best if you make little sound effects for them, I find.
posted by ook at 7:57 AM on October 9, 2004

I indulge myself with something I usually don't allow myself, like ordering delivery food, or an impulse snack buying spree, if I can schlep my fevered bones to the supermarket.

Mischief's third suggestion often helps, but then other times it makes for an inescapable insomniac brood. Depends on your mood. If you're already down, that won't lift you up.

Above all, be kind to yourself. Kinder than usual. It may sound like general advice, but it means someting different to each person. Sicksness is often a manifestation of inattention or unkindness to the self.
posted by squirrel at 8:22 AM on October 9, 2004

Staring at a screen (TV or computer) often has the effect of making me feel crappier. I prefer books as the sick man's entertainment of choice - they're easy on the eye and the head.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:35 AM on October 9, 2004

Comfort medicine: Vaporub slathered liberally on my chest and neck. Nyquil if I need sleep.

Comfort food: Blue Bell or Breyers Homemade Vanilla ice cream . That or Cap'n Crunch Berries, but those tend to destroy the roof of my mouth.

Comfort bed-ridden entertainment: Episodes of Alias, or *blush* The Apprentice.
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:01 AM on October 9, 2004

Chicken soup, science fiction (or other light reading of your choice), lots of bed rest.

And feel better!
posted by languagehat at 9:04 AM on October 9, 2004

comfort food: morningstar buffalo wings (no matter what shape my stomach is in, there's always a little room for a handful of these)

comfort video game: doom2 via jdoom

comfort movie: the goonies or amelie
posted by mcsweetie at 9:15 AM on October 9, 2004

I swear by flat ginger-ale and if you have to eat something, plain toast.
posted by ODiV at 9:22 AM on October 9, 2004

Best answer: If your stomach can handle it, get some spicy Chinese food that comes with peppers--I prefer General Tso's Chicken--and eat up. Or eat sushi with lots of wasabi. Either way, I find the spiciness/hotness opens up your clogged or gooey sinuses clear as day. And supposedly, spicy peppers and the like have been proven to have a kind of natural antibiotic effect.

And drink water. Lots and lots of water.

And snuggle on your couch with a comforter and watch Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle in the A&E version of "Pride and Prejudice".

Feel better soon!
posted by Asparagirl at 9:28 AM on October 9, 2004

Toast and Marmite is my miracle cure...and Ribena...which is a blackcurrent drink available here in the UK.

Slight deviation, but I was in Russia last week, with a stinking cold, and really didn't feel like working or leaving the hotel....but after a day in the office, I went to a Ukranian restaurant and had Salo - which is raw garlic, wrapped in a fatty ham (like prosciutto or parma), served with Rye Bread and hot mustard....accompanied by a chilli vodka...

Honestly - next day....I had no cold anymore...
posted by mattr at 9:59 AM on October 9, 2004

Apparently, I have a cast-iron stomach when I am sick as compared to some of you. I don't like to consider not eating when I feel like crap. Even when I am in a hospital (lotsa heart disease related issues), I have my friends hit a grocery or grab some take out.
posted by mischief at 10:23 AM on October 9, 2004

For me I regress to about 8 years old (though a lot of people would argue that it isn't much of a regression for me. But I digress!)

That means watching Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street and cartoons. I only get sick once overy couple of years though.
posted by substrate at 10:52 AM on October 9, 2004

my most comfortable, loose-fitting clothes
blankets depending on the time of the year
(if I put on blankets in the summer, I'm REALLY sick)
flat ginger-ale for the upset tummy, no ice
crushed eucalyptus in the vaporizer
a good book (this should be one you've read a zillion times)
tv isn't an option, I don't watch it when I feel well, why would watching it when sick make me feel better?
my sketchpad, in bed, with at least 64 colors
posted by kamylyon at 11:19 AM on October 9, 2004

Reading, junk food, tea, '80s teen movies (Bueller?), not showering, wrapping up in a favourite blanket.
posted by deborah at 11:39 AM on October 9, 2004

Response by poster: Spicy! Yes! I need to roast a bunch of garlic. Salo, mattr, that's wonderful. I don't know what Ribena tastes like but now it's all I want to drink. Asparagirl, wasabi sounds lovely. You spicy people know what time it is. And ginger ale -- how could I forget your curative powers?

So: dvd extras, light reading, bathing or failing to as is my wont, nyquil or creamy delicious Irish sedative (non-smoky, or I swear I'll shoot a lung into space), self-indulgence and self-kindness. A visit from Counselor Troi. Fresh air. No teletubbies! I think I've got it.

Thanks to all the well-wishers and for all the kind suggestions. I'd like to start a sickroom recipe thread, but lord knows I don't want to cook right now. But if my poor husband gets it, you'll be hearing back from me.
posted by melissa may at 12:31 PM on October 9, 2004

Kosher chicken; spicy soups; staying in bed with my goose down couette; with the remote for my Bose Wave radio and listening to talk radio; sleeping as many hours as possible.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:03 PM on October 9, 2004

Salo - which is raw garlic, wrapped in a fatty ham

Actually, salo is lard. It's traditionally eaten with garlic, but they're very different things. Garlic is good for you. Salo... not so much.
posted by languagehat at 1:29 PM on October 9, 2004

Vodka, video games and a space heater.
posted by cmonkey at 2:22 PM on October 9, 2004

No matter how sick I am, I clean my bedroom until it's spotless, and I open the window if weather permits. Then I read Watership Down over and over until I feel better. This has been my routine since around age 12. (On that note, I never lend out Watership Down because its cover is gone and chunks of pages are falling out, and it's crawling with ten years worth of germs..)
posted by Hypharse at 3:48 PM on October 9, 2004

That means watching Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street and cartoons.

Ditto that. If I don't have PBS on, then I'm probably watching a Disney movie or cartoon. I once fell asleep in the middle of A Bug's Life and woke up hours later with the thing on its fourth playthrough. When I get sick, my sinuses get all infected and my eyes are constantly leaking or about to pop out of my head, so reading is not even an option.
posted by rhapsodie at 4:56 PM on October 9, 2004

And snuggle on your couch with a comforter and watch Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle in the A&E version of "Pride and Prejudice".

Jeeze, we want the patient to get better, not croak.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:04 PM on October 9, 2004

Wasabi is bad to have when ill -- it feels as if it is opening you up, but it has precisely the opposite effect for the majority of people. See The Washington Post, September 27, Wasabi as Decongestant? Just Say Nose for details.

Incidentally, I have the same thing as you, melissa may -- I just came down with it last night. I just had a bowl of soup, and it's off to bed for me. I can't believe I have midterms this week...
posted by waldo at 6:32 PM on October 9, 2004

CBC radio, the all-talk one. Calm voices, intelligent discussion. Little effort. Bundles up your head and takes your thoughts somewhere else. Two years ago, flat out with sinus trouble, lights off, bundled up in blankets listening to a report about language researchers talk about Nim Chimpsky, this ASLing primate.

I'll second/third/fourth/fifth lots of water and avoid the daytime television.
posted by philfromhavelock at 8:01 PM on October 9, 2004


Used to use phenylpropanolamine, but they took it off the market. Darn "extreme dieters" - ruined it for everyone.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:20 PM on October 9, 2004

AMEN! when i got sick i use to reach for alka-sletzer plus (with PPA) and in no time, right as rain. now, still reach for alka-seltzer plus, works ok...but just not the same.
posted by ShawnString at 9:58 AM on October 10, 2004

Tom Yam soup. Works wonders for many things. :)
posted by madman at 12:21 PM on October 10, 2004

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