This week I got sick. I have a throat and ear infection and it makes me a little bit hate life. My whole routine got thrown off and I had to take time off work. You would think the fact that I live with my parents would have a good amount of people around me to take care of me, but this did not happen because everyone works. I was left to mind myself, go to the doctor myself, get my prescription myself and do you know what I discovered through this journey to independent self-nursing: I fucking hate being sick as an adult.
The comfort and enjoyment of being sick as a child is something that you cannot take with you into adulthood. You have to look after yourself and with no one bringing you all the stuff you need it is not so fun. I used to love being sick as a child. I mean I didn’t enjoy the being sick part but I definitely liked being looked after. Both my parents worked so if I was sick and had to stay home I would always go to my Nanny’s house. She would mind me, give me warm 7-up (the cure for all ailments) and let me nap in her bed or on the couch. Sometimes if my younger cousins were around they would nurse me back to health. Mainly my cousin Natasha –www.glitterfulthoughts.com-once when I was sick she insisted on waking me every twenty minutes to give me ‘medicine’ from her dolls fake bottle. The top was all frayed and dirty but she insisted on making me ‘open wide’ and drink the imaginary liquid. I’m fairly sure it made me even sicker.
Being sick when your little means you get days off of school and can watch Disney films all day. My sick days in college were pretty much the same. As a real adult with a job it is not as simple. I can’t just lie in bed and have my mammy look after me or take a heap of vitamin C tablets and Lemsip to try kill off whatever is wrong with me and it worked pretty well for me because I would at least get worried texts and phone calls from my Mammy, because when you are away from home people care more apparently. Being sick as a ‘real’ adult is not that simple -you can’t just get back to bed and hope it passes. When you are an adult you have to ring in sick to work yourself and that means in most case you actually have to go to the doctor for a sick note, which is never straight forward. I don’t have an issue with having to prove to your place of work that you are sick, but I do find issue with having to convince the GP receptionist that you are sick enough to have an appointment. It’s like you are a sales person doing your best Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street, but instead of selling a pen your selling the fact that you have had the shits for three days and your hole is on fire. But unfortunately unless your arm is hanging off and spouting blood everywhere you will have to wait for ages until the next available appointment. Then when you do go to the doctor you suddenly and miraculously you feel a million times better and it looks like there is nothing wrong with you. Also when you are older you aren’t a priority when sick so doctor’s visits take a lot longer than they used to. Oh and you actually have to talk to the doctor and explain your own symptoms – so you need to at least know what is happening to you, you don’t have to go full blown internet doctor and claim you have already diagnosed yourself but you should at least know if you have a temperature. You shouldn’t just sit there swinging your legs and waiting for the doctor to give you a lollipop like you did when you were a kid. Then there’s the medicine. No more Calpol and flavoured antibiotics to make the whole illness slightly more tolerable. Instead it’s big, chunky, chalky white tablets that taste horrible and have no fake strawberry flavour reward at the end. The only upside is that you can have the stronger medications now so you can be nicely doped and take naps – without anyone judging you for it.
Also as an adult you can’t really just abandon real life when you are sick. I mean you can, but unlike as a child where you have someone else there to change your sheets and taking care of all household chores, you still have to put on the washing and feed yourself. That’s possibly the worst part of being sick – attempting to feed yourself. Even the most effortless food, like toast, feels like you are on an episode of MasterChef with only 3 minutes to go. It’s just far too much stress while you are sweating and possibly snotting everywhere. It’s worse if you are so ill you can’t keep it down. Running to the bathroom when it’s not after an epic night out just doesn’t have the same anecdotal potential, in fact it’s a bit pathetic. It’s even worse if you are puking into a bowl while lying on couch or in bed…your parents aren’t there to take the smelly bowl away, you gotta clean that shit yourself. There is nothing glamorous about emptying your own puke bucket I assure you. Staying in the same pyjamas for days at a time doesn’t have the same comforting appeal it did as a child. It makes you feel even worse because you now have adult sweat that wafts upwards every time you move. You feel too disgusting to even look at yourself in the mirror and when you do you scare yourself and question whether you have encountered a zombie rather than your reflection. Cleaning yourself becomes the greatest struggle of your life and you are forced to make the life changing decision of being that stinky for the rest of your illness or puking/sneezing/phlegming/shitting on yourself in the shower.
Thankfully my illness did not result in any form of puke or diarrhoea, in a toilet or on my person. It did however make me very uncomfortable with adultness of having to take care of myself for a week.