Lessons I learnt from the Flu

It all started last Monday when a patient offered me a mini caramel chocolate cream sandwich pie. It was a circular piece of deliciousness sealed in plastic wrapping. I knew I shouldn’t have opened it. But it was 3:30 on a cold Monday afternoon and with just half an hour to go before I was to leave the clinic, it felt justified to reward myself with a Choco Pie for dragging myself out of bed that morning. I’ve eaten extremly unhealthy goods before (read: Tim Hortons Donuts) but there was something about this particular Choco Pie that sent my conscience to a tailspin.

The first bite was nothing short of glorius. I couldn’t believe I had almost passed this up. By the time I got to the middle I started to feel sick to my stomach. And by the time I finished it, I felt sick to my stomach and had a scratchy feeling in my throat. Weird.

The day passed uneventfully. By Tuesday, I thought I might have felt a cold coming on. By Wednesday, I felt like my throat had been run over my a lawn mower. That was the day I went to see Dr. Curls in the skinny jeans, who gave me the green gargling solution that was about as effective as eating oatmeal with chopsticks.

So here we are folks. In the past few days, I have drunk gallons of tea and tried a variety of different kinds of chicken soup. Chicken broth, chunky chicken soup, cream of chicken, chicken noodle…you get the picture. But I woke up this Monday morning and said you know what? I’m going to blog about what I did in the past few days and what I learnt from the comfort and warmth of my oversized bed.


I don’t have children but on a pain scale, I’m pretty sure that the bitch of a sore throat that I woke up with was up there with childbirth, menstral cramps, UTI’s and watching Jersey Shore. The thought of taking the 15 minute walk to Shoppers to buy meds made me nauseated. This was when I learnt lesson #1:

Lesson #1: Green gargling solution (scientifically known as Benzydamine) is supposedly a local analgesic. Its only real ability however, is to make your tongue go numb.  Remember that if you ever get prescribed this shitty cop-out of a “drug”. Poor show, Dr. Curls.


After sleepless Thursday, I decided to be a little proactive about my well being. So I bundled up to a point of suffocation and ventured out into the hell outside. It took me 20 minutes to hobble over to Shoppers with all those clothes. I walked miserably to the seasonal aisle and almost cried when I got there. I was a kid who grew up with Panadol, the wonder drug that cured everything. And here I was at Shoppers staring in awe at the shelves lined with an impossibly huge number of cold meds. Tylenol Cold and Sinus, Advil Cough and Fever, Buckleys Flu, Vicks dayquil and Nyquil. Don’t get me started on the Neocitrin- 23 different types in 9 different flavors curing a dozen combinations of flu symptoms. No Panadol. I absently picked up Neocitrin for flu symptoms, specially targeting cough and fever. The only flaw was  that it came in cherry and berry flavors. In my experience, most cherry and berry flavors are puke-worthy concoctions that leave you feeling ever more sick. At that point though, it wasn’t about being a choosy beggar. I just wanted to get the hell out of there and hid in my sheets.

Lesson #2: Talk to one of those people who get the flu every year about what worked for them before you go venturing out for cold meds. The flu shot is not an acceptable answer.

To counter this unpleasant experience, my amazing friend Margaret-Hope came to visit with an oversized tub of delicious soup. And to top that, my wonderful landlords also brought me down more delicious hot soup.

Lesson #3: Remember, even if you get to the point where you feel that you’d be better off if your head just exploded, all is not lost.


The Neocitrin, as gross as it was, at least allowed me to sleep in two hour intervals. I was a little happier but still sounded like an old man with chronic pulmonary disease. I had the whole day to myself to do crap-all. I downloaded movies, watched youTube videos, slept, lazed around- pretty much had the perfect day if you didn’t take into account I spewed blood and brown mucus everytime I coughed.

Lesson #4: YouTubing all day leads you to find some pretty cool bands and movies that surprisingly no one has ever heard of. It also leads you to find the crappiest bands and movies that understandably no one has ever heard of. Fortunately, I have plenty of time to waste.


Waking up in the morning is by far the worst feeling what with all that nasal and sinus congestion and the dry and scratchy throat. But I felt a world of a difference after I’ve brushed my teeth and gargled with salt water. Benzydiamine and its tongue-numbing tricks can go to hell. My throat felt a bit better although I say that with much caution. Today my friend Kajinta visited me and made me a home remedy to cure the flu. Mix an ounce of brandy, honey, a wedge of lemon and an orange pekoe tea bag with boiling water. The result is a brandy concoction that works better than Neocitrin and tastes better than Neocitrin. However, if you actually want to sleep, its best if you take Neocitrin. (Neocitrin + brandy = first night of sleep. But don’t try it at home) Kajinta, you are a superstar in my books.

Lesson #5: Next time you get sick, bypass Shoppers’ Drug Mart and go to the LCBO instead.

Later that evening, my boss drove over to my place with a huge care package of oranges, kiwi, various kinds of soups and some garlic bread.

Lesson #6: Sometimes when life runs a lawn mower along the insides of your upper respiratory tract, the most unexpected people step up to help.


The pain in my throat has actually gotten better though I still don’t recongnise my own voice. Today was the first day in 5 days that I wore my sweat pants without long-johns. So I still feel like shit but the chills are gone. I’ll take it. I’ll take anything at this point.

I’m not really sure how long its going to take for this flu to take a hike. But I have decided that until it does, I will youtube, eat oranges, drink brandy with my tea, expect more soup and hope to get back to my old life soon.   


I will beat you, you mucus-producing bastard. I will beat you





4 thoughts on “Lessons I learnt from the Flu

  1. Panadol is the cure for everything! I was in your situation a couple of weeks ago when we went on holiday to Boston. My boyfriend got the flu for the 1st time in his life and I was sent to the pharmacy to get Panadol. I was gone for hours trying to read ingredients on the side of 100s of packets of tablets. I’m never travelling without a 48 pack again! Hope you feel better soon.

  2. Karen – you are very welcome!! I couldn’t help but laugh that this all started from you eating a caramel chocolate sandwich pie at work. 🙂 Hope you are feeling way better than the last time I saw you! Remember you have a mission this week!

    • Yeh thats where it started! can you believe it. I think my mother was right all along. Too much chocolate actually can make you sick. I’m feeling a little bit better today than I did yesterday. Long story. I HAVE to be better by the end of the week. The rest of my life may or may not depend on it hahahah.

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