Last Wednesday, I woke up to a horrifying realization: I was probably getting sick. In fact, I had actually already gotten sick; the tickle in my throat, runny nose, and sense of mild exhaustion were but the first symptoms of what turned out to be a week-long battle with my sinuses. I kept working through it — since my “office” is effectively my living room couch, I don’t generally take sick days unless I am literally unable to function — but my brain was definitely a little foggier than usual. Also, there is nothing quite as distracting as not being able to breathe through your nose.
I’ve finally gotten over it — but I’m going to go out and say it: Getting sick as an adult sucks. I mean, it’s not fun when you’re a kid, either; at least most of the time, though, you’ve got someone else to handle all the logistics of how to get you better: Taking you to the doctor, getting whatever medicine you need, feeding you chicken noodle soup, and so on. As an adult, though, you’re on your own. You’ve got to take care of your own doctor’s visits, medicate yourself, feed yourself, find your own blankets to burrow under, and do it all while taking as little time off work as possible, because how else are you going to pay your rent?
So to anyone who’s also currently fighting off some kind of cold or flu, this one’s for you: The 25 stages of getting sick as an adult. Be strong. You’ll get through it eventually. I promise.
1. Gosh, my nose is tickly.
And I’m sneezing a lot. That’s weird. I never sneeze.
2. Why am I so tired?
Seriously, I got plenty of sleep. What gives?
3. Maybe I’ll just go to bed early tonight.
But of course, when you wake up in the morning, you’re like:
4. Uh oh. I have a sore throat.
And a slightly runny nose, too
5. Quick, drink some orange juice!
Even though vitamin C doesn’t actually work.
6. And Airborn!
7. And apple cider vinegar!
At least it tastes kind of like actual cider if you add some honey and cinnamon.
8. In fact, just take ALL the remedies.
All of them. Now. And spend the day crossing your fingers and muttering:
9. Please don’t let me get sick, please don’t let me get sick...
You fervently chant the words, hoping against all hope that they will function as some sort of magical spell to ward off the coming illness. But then the next day, you’re all:
10. …Aaaaaaaand today I feel so hideous I can't move.
11. Maybe I should call out sick to work.
12. But maybe I can work from home instead?
13. Nope, can’t sit up without the room spinning.
14. I should really get to the doctor.
On second thought...
15. Never mind. Back to bed.
16. I should eat something.
17. But I’m not hungry.
18. But I should eat something.
Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do? Feed a cold, starve a fever? Or something?
19. Tea. More tea. Even more tea, probably green, with lemon and honey. And maybe some decongestants.
Tea is great and all, but by day two, you will really, really start to miss coffee. Also the decongestants will not work, but you will continue to take them anyway.
20. Inside, you feel like curling up in a ball and whimpering:
No matter how old you are, you will always want someone to come and take care of you when you’re sick. Always.
Finally, though — after what seems like years — you wake up and think:
21. What’s this? I can breathe through my nose again?
It’s a miracle!
22. I feel awesome!
23. Uh oh. Do I hear my roommate sniffling?
24. Did I get you sick, beloved roomie?
I am. I really and truly am.
25. But also:
I’ll be over here if you need me. I love you, but I am not getting sick again.