Getting sick as a child is super common, and it unfortunately does not stop when we get to college, graduate, or get "real" jobs. You may be dorming or have moved out, it could be your first time scheduling you own appointments, and it will be downright exhausting. If anything, becoming ill as a grown- up is even worse than getting sick when you were younger for a variety of reasons.
1. You have no idea how sick you really are (or aren’t).
Are you sweating because you have a cold, or because you have a fever, or because you’re actually dying? Are you even sick at all? WebMD diagnosing yourself until your common cold turns into two days to live seems like a distinct possibility when an adultier adult isn’t around to feel your forehead to tell you exactly what the problem is and what to do to fix it.
That being said:
2. You’re on your own, bud.
What’s the difference between DayQuil and NyQuil? Does doubling up on Advil and Robitussin have the potential to kill me? Is there really a difference between store brand and name brand?
It’s up to you to figure out what illness you have and what medications you need. Mom and dad, grandma or grandpa are no longer there to coddle and baby you as you’re tucked up in bed all day covered in your own sweat and snot. You have to learn how to take your own temperature, improvise or PAY for more if you run out of tissues, and figure out what you’re supposed to be taking when. Chances are, you’ll be coughing up your own lungs as you drag your sick ass to wherever you need to go to get supplies or seek medical attention. That means walking in whatever weather, using public transportation, or driving at a time when you would much rather hide in bed where nobody can see you in your sullen state.
Worst of all, you have to schedule your own doctor’s appointments and show up to them BY YOURSELF.
3.You still have actually live your life.
“Sick days” aren’t really a thing when you’ve got a job or even the threat of missing ___ number of classes before they kick you out of the course or fail you. At least showing up in sweats and reeking of Vick’s VapoRub, propping a tissue box up on your desk and openly taking pills and shots of liquid medicine in the middle of class are almost mildly acceptable in school. (The more ill you look to your professor, the better.) Your job is a different story: you’ve still gotta dress up, show up, and put in effort, even if it means putting you clammy, sweaty hands all over paperwork for your boss. You don’t want to waste your vacation time on something antibiotics can take care of.
4. Weekends aren’t much of a rest period, either.
So, you made it through the week and now you really feel like you need some chicken noodle soup and a cold compress to your forehead. When you’re sick, you always wake up in the morning feeling way worse than you actually are, it tends to subside as the day goes on. Instead, you’ll have to still cook and clean for yourself and sneeze over everything you touch and spread your germy illness to your roommates, pets, and loved ones.
5. It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.
Sometimes, when you’re so overwhelmed and overrun by all your real- world responsibilities, it can take you way longer to get over being sick than it normally would if you had had a few off- days to let mom take care of it. It passes, eventually... A lot of being sick on your own is figuring out how you best function under pressure and under the weather. Even so, there is a weird level of satisfaction which stems from being able to get through it on your own.
The *sickest* thing about being sick on your own is knowing that you handled it by yourself.
(Disclaimer: I wrote this article while smothered in VapoRub, please enjoy.)