The Goddess Speaks
How people treat a cold signals how they live
EVERYBODY I know is sick, including me: stuffy nose, sore throat, coughing, a tingling in my ears.
My girlfriend in Pearl City and her entire family are under the weather. Even my sister in Kansas City has it, but she didn't get it from me.
What I have noticed from my cold medication-induced haze is that we each deal with these minor ailments differently. Some nurse symptoms with Grandma's chicken soup. Others ambush them with an arsenal of over-the-counter remedies. And there are those who prefer to remain in uncomfortable denial and pretend they are not sick.
Whatever the approach, we seem to treat our colds just as we relieve the many other ailments that plague our lives.
My friend Monica is a good example. When she feels even the slightest bit sick, she is on the attack. She takes Sudafed and ibuprofen every four hours. She puts on warm clothes to avoid a chill (even if it's 80 degrees outside), drinks lots of orange juice and gets plenty of rest. She does not let that cold get the best of her.
She takes charge and makes sure every job is done right. She doesn't dwell on the problem. She heads for the solution.
Monica is a can-do kind of woman. Nothing makes her sick.
My other friend isn't as assertive. When she or her kids are sick, they just stay home and wait for it to pass. No doctor, no medication, just rest. They stay home a lot.
She is timid when it comes to life in general. She's not a whiner or a complainer; she simply defers to the powers that be. She misses out on a lot.
THEN there are men. They are the worst when it comes to being sick, at least in my experience.
I dated a guy who was a big baby. I noticed his difficult nature when he got sick. He crawled into bed and refused to function, drowning his discomfort in Nyquil and sleep.
Turns out that's exactly what he did every time things didn't go his way. He'd withdraw and sulk until he figured that he had regained the upper hand.
It's not just men who do the denial thing. My neighbor does, too. She goes and goes until she crashes and burns. She refuses to admit she's sick.
Only when everything starts to fall apart is she willing to consider taking care of herself or getting help.
And don't forget the hypochondriac/drama queens. Every symptom is the onset of a major disease. Their lives are fraught with tension, always just one step from disaster.
I'm somewhere in between denial and Monica's militia. I hope that I'm not really sick, but when I need to, I do something about the situation. I go to the doctor, I take medicine, I get rest and I push myself to get better.
I do not intend to let a cold, or life, get the best of me.
Good health, both mental and physical, go hand in hand, just as our attempts to deal with them connect. Too bad there isn't an over-the-counter cure for the occasional congestion in my personal life. I'd buy a lifetime supply.
Lorraine Gershun is publications adviser for Searider Productions at Waianae High School.
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