What Do You Do When You're Sick?

Under my mom's rules, headaches are cured with rest, pimples with toothpaste, cramps with cranberries and sore muscles with Epsom salt. When it comes to this cold, I am pretty much useless.
Publish date:
March 9, 2012
gross, medicine, sick

It took about 12 periods for me to figure out what Midol was. Sure, I'd seen the commercials but hitherto I'd been riding out my angry teenaged menstrual cycle with nothing but an attitude and a hot water bottle.

It was bad, guys. Really bad. I threw up in front of the main office. I sort of fainted in cheerleading practice. I even had to be excused from a pop quiz on the Odyssey because my Lamaze-like hissing was bothering the dude sitting in front of me. Seriously, he turned around (did I mention I was in love with this kid) and seven-inch-voiced me with a, "What the fuck is wrong with you?" That's when Mrs. Callahan had had enough and sent me to the nurse's office.

"Are your periods always this intense?"

"Aren't everyone's?" I asked sincerely.

She shook her head; clodhopped over to the medicine cabinet and presented me with the magical pills that would save my life for the next 20 years. Later that day, when I told Frances, my mother, that most women don't just lie down with a mug of cranberry tea one week out of the month, she laughed because in our house store-bought medicine was for suckers. The one time I saw my mom break down and drink Theraflu was when she had to work a double shift at the pizza joint she was moonlighting at to put me through private school. After chugging a heaping mug of that foul smelling witches' brew, it took maybe five seconds for her to throw up an entire order of hot wings. Theraflu was promptly added to the banned medicine list.

Because I still had a good 7 to 10 stretch under my mom's rules -- headaches are cured with rest, pimples with toothpaste, cramps with cranberries and sore muscles with Epsom salt -- by the time I reached adulthood I was good and indoctrinated. Sure, you'd still have to pry a bottle of Midol from my cold dead hands but for any ailment not having to do with my uterus I'm pretty much useless.

It helps that I'm rarely, if ever, sick. Perhaps all that hippie mumbo jambalaya had a cumulative effect or maybe I'm just lucky. That is until a few days ago when my throat rose up against me and my nose led the attack. For the last three days I've been in a continual state of expulsion -- hacking, leaking, sneezing, wheezing, gagging, you name it. Couple my insurance allergy with my mom being an ocean away in St. Croix and my affliction is my own cross to bare.

It was up to my boyfriend to head to CVS and buy everything commercials tell you to -- like a kid in a Kay Bee Toy Store. "I busted in there and then realized I had no clue what to get," he said while measuring out tiny plastic cup after tiny plastic cup of sour goo that has no right to call itself syrup.

Nothing's working! And I have a life to lead outside of my bedroom. So, please (cough cough) tell me what's the sniffling-sneezing-coughing-aching-stuffy head-fever-so-you-can-get-your-shit-together medicine. And yes, I had a Hot Toddy or three and all those did was make me inappropriately horny. Remember that one time on "Friends" when Monica was sick but ovulating and turned Chandler on by rubbing Vick's on her chest -- sexily? Yeah, not like that. Let the comment section by our very on WebMD!