Not down with the sickness.

For the THIRD time in the last 5 months, I’m sick. I’m pretty sure it’s just a cold, but this particular one has lasted 6 days and isn’t showing any signs of going away. My last cold was a mere 3 weeks ago. The first one was during my last week at Bloomberg (but went away after a day or so).

I haven’t gotten a flu shot, and I don’t intend to. When I was buying cold medicine at Duane Reade, they tried to upsell me with a flu shot. Seriously?! That’s really weird to me. You upsell donating a dollar to a charity, not injecting a virus into your body. I’m not one of those people who think immunizations are a big conspiracy/cause autism/make you sicker than you would have been without them. I haven’t read enough research to back up an opinion on that either way. I just don’t do needles/shots unless it’s absolutely necessary.

It was necessary when I was in the hospital when I was 17 and needed an IV so that I wouldn’t die. They had to draw my blood every 4 hours to make sure it was rebuilding itself, and I think that experience made me develop a really, really strong hatred for needles. A few years later, when I was getting my wisdom teeth out and kept gagging from the laughing gas, the only option was to do anesthesia. It was after 40 minutes of laughing gas, so I barely felt it. But I remember warning the oral surgeon that “Needles are a really bad idea with me…” He asked why, and my response was “Because I don’t like them.” Then I fell asleep and woke up missing three wisdom teeth.)

Needles make me squeamish. I’ve never donated blood or plasma (or even toyed with the idea). I can’t watch medical shows that might even show a needle. I can’t even read a question in an advice column about drawing blood without grabbing my arms to protect them from the thought of a needle. Oddly, I have two tattoos (well, the bigger one as pretty squiggly lines from my squirming), have had my ears pierced 8 times (none of them lasted…), and had my belly butt0n pierced while standing up without passing out (I took it out 3 years ago). None of that really phased me too much, but for some reason, I just can’t easily handle getting shots or having my blood drawn at the doctor’s office. But I digress.

So, living in a big city like this, I’m exposed to a lot more germs than I was in Indianapolis. Last year, I could keep my exposure to others at a minimum- I had a car for transportation, a cubicle at work (with my own hand sanitizer dispenser that I used several times a day), and lived in a very clean apartment with a very clean roommate. But now- My office has an open setting. I use public transportation. I have a much smaller, less clean apartment in a building with a lot more people. Amazingly, Andy hasn’t gotten sick from me lately. But he’s been sleeping on the couch since I’ve been sick.

Possible culprits of my current cold:

  • The Subway- holding on to the bar, being thisclose to countless strangers of questionable health
  • Touching the ballet barre at class- Spending over an hour twice a week holding onto a ballet barre that was previously held onto by other people, (who were also exposed to the dirty subway), and possibly even… children!
  • Work- Where to begin? We have a kitchen. We have an open setting, and everyone sits fairly close together. There’s a mysterious mug-washer who takes our coffee mugs off of our desks and washes them over the weekend.  I shouldn’t complain about this, but i find it weird. Maybe it’s the abundance of unhealthy food choices that I can’t seem to resist (so. much. candy.) Maybe it’s the mold that I just noticed growing at the bottom of the plastic straw in my reusable Starbucks* cup (I think that appeared over the weekend. At least, I hope that’s what happened.). Maybe it’s that there are so many guys in this office, and guys generally don’t wash their hands nearly as much as girls.
  • The weather change- It’s been colder. That’s never good for my health.
  • Shopping- I went to anthropologie last week. Whenever I’m there, I feel the need to touch and smell everything in the store. Bad choice, but I doubt I will change my ways.
  • Touching doors just about anywhere in the city, which unfortunately happens more than I’d like.
  • Touching my Kindle last week. I had taken a break from it for a few weeks to re-read an actual printed book, and then started reading a book on it last week. Maybe my sick germs from the previous cold were still on it?
  • Stress. I think it’s mostly the faster-paced lifestyle/new annoyances (train delays, people walking in front of me and smoking, dirty people everywhere, etc). But I have been a bit  on edge. Planning travel arrangements for Christmas was kind of stressful, and so were a few particular days at work (like when our product crashed for almost a full day..). Or maybe I’m stressed because my hair dryer blew a fuse in our bathroom, and we haven’t had electricity in our bathroom (or in the part of the kitchen that has the only outlet the microwave can reach) in a week. We’ve notified the landlord, but it’s taking longer to fix than I’m okay with. Stressful!

So what’s a girl to do? Here’s how I’ve been dealing with it:

  • Puffs Plus tissues infused with Vick’s vapor-rub. Oh my. Amazing. I could sit and hold one of them up to my nose and just inhale all day. But that would be weird.
  • Orange juice
  • Jamba Juice with the immunity boost (which I think might just be orange juice..)
  • Vampire sneezes/coughs on the subway (not really helping me, but I’m sure the people around me hate me slightly less because of it)
  • Going to bed at 10:30 (or at least trying to…)
  • Tylenol Daytime/Nighttime cold- I’ve been popping Tylenol Day/Night like it’s my job. Well, sort of. I keep my daytime pills at work so that I can convince myself to come in to the office, and I feel better once I’ve taken one. I only take one nighttime pill because any more than that will leave me totally knocked out for the next 16 hours at least. I can’t even handle Nyquil.
  • Tea. Lots and lots of tea. Earl grey at work, green tea with honey and lemon at home. Yummy!

I suppose I could just go to a doctor, but I don’t even know what they’d be able to do. It’s just a cold. I don’t want to be on antibiotics unless it’s absolutely necessary (due to the way they interact with birth control..), and I’m not getting a flu shot. I tend to try to ignore that I’m sick unless I physically can’t.

Despite how I’ve been feeling lately, I went to ballet yesterday and Wednesday. I’ve now used up all 10 of my classes from the groupon, so next time I’ll have to buy a 10-class card for more than twice what I paid for the groupon. I’m probably going to just go once a week for a while (at least until I start feeling better). Who am I kidding? I say that, but it won’t happen. I love it too much. I’m getting better at it each week, and it’s a lot of fun. My body’s starting to look noticeably better.  I’m sure the exercise is a good thing, even if I’ve become a lot more aware of certain bones in my feet and muscles in my legs.

Now, I just need to build up a NYC-worthy immune system. Any suggestions on how to do that?

 

*Holy crap, these are selling for a lot. Mine was a gift last year, but when they were $12. Mine’s also a Venti size. And apparently has mold on the inside of the straw. Ew.

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8 Responses to Not down with the sickness.

  1. Marianne says:

    Perhaps you placed yourself in a city with a whole new set of germs/molds/dust etc. your body is not used to or built immunity against. It might take some time with that, so do all the “healthy” things you know to do to take care of yourself.

    These are my best ways of fighting that stuff.

    1. Netti Pot… laugh but it works
    2. Peppermint oil on the back of neck, right and left side at the base of the head…don’t know why but it helps.
    3. Lots and lots of water….flush it out. This is probably most effective of the bunch.
    4. Tea made with 1 Tbls Honey (local honey better), 1Tbls Lemon, 1tsp. salt and water heat and drink…extremely soothing for sore throat.
    5. Gargle with Salt water…old remedy…but it works.
    6. Chicken soup
    7. massage…it just makes you feel better
    8. Of course Vitamin C in whatever form you choose
    9. The product on the market with the long name that starts with an o…ossiloc…
    it is a preventative and really works for me when I feel something coming on.
    10. Go get allergy tests…you may very likely have some and knowing is half the battle.
    11. Fruits, Vegetables….and YOGA will help with the stress. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
    12. Lots of rest.
    13. Papaya Enzyme tablets (Get at GNC) Great for digestion, are very inexpensive and they do work! A product called Yakult (sold with the yogurts) a liquid you drink and does what activia does only better is great for daily better digestion. I highly recommend both products.

    Miss you and wish I could take care of you! These tips instead. Use what you like but they are my tried and true “self care without meds” things that helps alot.
    Love, Mom

  2. Kristin says:

    Thanks Dr. Mom! I’ll try as many of those as I can.

    • Marianne says:

      Just passing on the info…use what you like. FYI, my experience with Flu shots has been positive, and I highly recommend the Pnemonia (sp) shot. Colds always seem to go straight to my lungs, so I practice a lot of prevention which does seem to work for me.

  3. Cristella says:

    Ugh. I’m so sorry you haven’t been feeling well. 😦 I’m kind of anti flu shot myself. Mostly because I’ve had one my entire life and didn’t feel like I needed it. I haven’t had the flu since I was probably in Jr High school. *knock on wood*

    Sounds like you’re doing what you can to stay healthy. Maybe since you’ve been sick this long, it’ll make your immune system that much stronger. 🙂

    Feel better soon!

    • Kristin says:

      Thanks! I don’t know very many people who have had the flu (with or without the shot), and I just don’t see it as necessary.

  4. Kristen says:

    Kristin,

    All I know about the flu shot is is that I get the flu every year I don’t have one. Remember the year shots were rationed for the most needy? Got the flu. The year I was late in getting my shot? Got the flu which came really early that year. Years I get my flu shot? Flu free. Flu knocks me out for seven days – too exhausted to do much – so I am now religious about flu shot.

    Kristen

  5. Kristen says:

    p.s…… sorry you have been so sick! It does seem like you have moved to a foreign country where you have to build resistance to new bugs, doesn’t it!

    In addition to flu shot, I am also really good about hand washing/sanitizing.

    • Kristin says:

      Hi Kristen!
      Thanks. I think people are so divided on the flu shot issue because people have different reactions to flu shots/different amounts of exposure to the flu. I can’t remember EVER getting a flu shot, and I never get the flu. I get colds and sinus infections though, but even then, I don’t know if I’d take a shot for that. I’m glad the shots work for you though!

      I bought a small hand sanitizer for my purse and a big one for my desk at work today, so hopefully that will help.

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