A Nervous Girl’s Guide to… Being Ill

I currently have a cold, so I have put on my ‘Feeling Ill’ uniform of a fluffy dressing gown with a tissue shoved firmly up one sleeve. This week’s blog, as well as complaining a lot, will be a (somewhat) practical guide (for once) about each of the symptoms of a cold and my methods of combating them. I will not be going into any details concerning sticky substances coming from various orifices.

DISCLAIMER: This advice is for colds only. It does not deal with any of the other types of being ill like the flu (the time I had proper flu, I became very intimate with my bathroom floor) or self-inflicted illness (the time I drank too much New Years, and became intimate with my friend’s landing floor).

  1. Blocked nose; this is unpleasant and results in your mouth hanging open like a tropical fish. I have a few techniques to clear them though, all of them involving Olbas oil; put it on tissues, put it in humidifiers, put it on your pillow. It’ll drive everyone else mad, but it does offer relief.
  2. Runny nose; this usually results in a small hill of tissues forming in my bedroom, and indeed, I begin shedding them everywhere I walk. I have a technique for dealing with a runny nose; shoving a tissue up my nostrils. Crude, but effective. Obviously I advise this one for private places with understanding people. I wouldn’t recommend this technique if you are, say, a teacher or a paramedic or do a lot of television work. Radio work is fine.
  3. Losing your voice; someone once told me that I sounded like Frankenstein’s monster when I had lost my voice. Harsh words, but probably true. Losing your voice can make you embarrassed to speak. I once spent a whole lesson in college trying to answer the lecturer’s questions by note-pad. Didn’t really work, as by the time I had finished writing, he’d asked about three more questions. I find that if you do lose your voice, whispering works well as a method of communication, as long as you’re close to the person, obviously, and tell them why you’re doing it so they don’t think you’re creepy.
  4. Itchy inner ear; by far, the most annoying symptom. An itch you can’t scratch, as medical professionals frown upon sticking objects down ears. I temporarily relieve this annoyance by doing a weird swallowing, clicking thing in my throat, which I really need to record as a YouTube video to demonstrate it. But I won’t, in fear that it’ll go viral.
  5. Ill Person Brain; this is essentially a week long brain-fart brought on by head cold-induced grogginess, and makes coordination and speech more difficult that usual. Nothing to be done about this one.
  6. Sneezing; this is irritating for other people, especially if you have a particularly raucous sneeze like I do. I read somewhere that if you sneeze with your eyes open, your eyeballs will shoot out from the pressure. Not sure why that’s relevant, but I thought it was interesting. And despite what Snow White taught us, putting your finger under your nose does not stop you from sneezing.

So, I hope this was semi-helpful, and I hope that you’re not feeling as ill as I am right now.




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