A Guide to Surviving Your Autumn Death Flu

Your virus can be fun! I think. I don't know. Please call a doctor.

Oct 7, 2011 at 5:00pm | Leave a comment

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I went to my first XOjane editorial meeting last week, and it while it was lovely to meet everybody, I think what I took away from the whole thing was MRSA. No, not really, but somehow, both Emily and I ended up with a nasty flu, which I'm just now getting out from under. (I know what you're thinking and yes, we did kiss. So much! Deal with it, Emily's loving long term boyfriend!)

It is the kind of sick that makes you scrawl out a plan for what to do if you slip into a coma (get my sister to regularly wax my lip, make a special provision to keep people on whose sleeping faces I have drawn dicks out of my sick room, etc). It does not help that I have been utterly alone and traveling with nobody to tend to me and tell me how fetching I look when I'm clammy.

If you don't have a loving roommate or a significant other, you can at least be prepared to take care of yourself, because being single is basically like living "Castaway," all of the time. This is the first time I've been sick all year, but it probably won't be the last. Especially when you accept as many "Stick your tongue to that frozen pole" and "Eat this for a dollar!" dares as I do. So here's your survival kit for your inevitable week's worth of illness. I'm going back to bed.

A Great Television Series
I've already extolled the virtues of "Downton Abbey" and I think Lesley told you you should be watching "Archer" if you don't. But otherwise, definitely try a really lengthy English miniseries like "The Forsyte Saga" (21 hours long! With that weird hot ginger from "Band of Brothers"), or something vaguely brainy and soothing like Ken Burns' "Prohibition." Don't get out from underneath the comforter unless you have to.

A Terrible Movie
I like to watch a guilty pleasure movie I've seen before so I know that it's not going to have some kind of confusing plot or Sean Penn, whom you do not want invading your fever dreams as you drift in and out of consciousness. You do not need that kind of intense acting. You need "Bubble Boy," starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Danny Trejo and, uh, Fabio. I watch this movie whenever I'm sick. Also when I'm not sick. I have a problem.

Tom Waits
You're going to sound so good singing his songs! Be sure to sing them extra loud, for neighbors and friends. This is also a good time to practice certain Yiddish phrases and regional French accents. Make phlegm work for you.

Phone Sex
I don't care if you have a fever and your whole body hurts. Take advantage of the fact that you sound like Kathleen Turner right now. You shouldn't technically have your tongue in anybody's mouth, but that doesn't mean you can't breath pervily into their Bluetooth earpieces. I called up my man friend to tell him what I was wearing (Flannel pajamas, printed with tiny lobsters) and he told me I sounded "terrible." I'm 99 percent sure he meant naughty. Anyhow.

Sugar Free Cold Eeze
These kind of taste like jelly beans and my dad swears that zinc shortens his cold. I also like that on the bag it says, "Caution: may have laxative effect," because I like to read that aloud in my Kathleen Turner voice.

This Soup
Oh, my god. This soup is so good! I never feel like eating anything when I'm sick but this is like all protein and vegetables and you can just have a big pot of it that you pick at. It's the next best thing to having Ina Garten mop your brow with her adorable little contessa paws.

Booze
I came from one of those "whiskey and honey" instead of cough medicine families, and I have an old sea captain's belief in the restorative powers of a tipple. (Yes. Go ahead and say "tipple" aloud. I'll wait.) I spent my cross-country flight coughing demurely into my in-flight magazine and sipping Emergen-C with vodka. (It's a special cocktail I call  a "Vitamin AA.") I wish you could have seen the expression on the flight attendant's face when he saw me mixing this. Is there some kind of German idiom for utter repulsion commingled with quiet respect? For strep and coughs, I also like mixing a little bourbon into Throat Coat tea. After a while, the name "Throat Coat" gets really funny.

A Flair for the Dramatic
Use those moments of delirium to do your best Neely O'Hara "I want another doll!" I also like to sing about how DayQuil is fighter of the NyQuil, and reenact the sack-of-pills scene from "Walk the Line" with Ricola.

Sleep
Seriously. I am going back to bed right now.