How to Have a Sick Day, New York Style

I recently found myself stricken by a nefarious disease of the throat, chest, and sinuses (viral pharyngitis, if you really want to know, which as I best understand it is a fancy science word for a very sore throat, a cough, and a nose that’s auditioning for the role of “Leaky Faucet”). Being sick as an adult sucks. Should you not have a job that offers paid sick time, you may find yourself battling through the illness in order to get yourself a much-needed pay check, warding off dirty looks and generous squirts of Purell from your co-workers who don’t want to be similarly afflicted.

Even if you are lucky enough to have the luxury of calling in sick, you still have to fend for yourself: no mom to fetch you home-cooked chicken soup, chauffeur you to the doctor’s office, fetch prescriptions from the pharmacy of your choosing. Nothing forces you to adult quite as brutally as being sick. I, for instance, had to drag myself out of my bed, put on some semblance of clothing, hike to the urgent care center, and wait at the pharmacy for my prescriptions to be filled, and I got to pay for my trouble with some of my own hard-earned cash. (On the bright side, the lovely pharmacist offered me a lollipop while I waited, making me feel simultaneously like a goddamn grown-up and a five year-old, a rare feat).

Nobody makes sick days look whimsical and adorable like Meg Ryan.
Nobody makes NYC sick days look whimsical and adorable like Meg Ryan.

Luckily, there are some things you can do to make your day of recovery and repose go more smoothly. And this is where the good news comes in for you New York readers: This city is a literal Mecca of delivery options. This comes in handy on a regular basis when you’re feeling lazy or anti-social. But nothing makes you truly appreciate the wonders of Seamless or Food Kick like a sick day. There’s a profound joy in realizing that, motherless though you may find yourself, you can still make the cough drops and pho come to you.

But even if you find yourself far outside the New York delivery radius, there are still some things you can do to make your sick day more tolerable. Here are a few of my recently honed tips for how to be ill like a champ.


1. Get your cozy on. Real pants have no place in a sick day. Put on your rattiest, comfiest sweats — the ones you’ve had for years and can’t bear to throw out because they’re so damn cozy. Layer up with as many blankets as you can manage. Build yourself a nest of pillows and nestle in its fluffy embrace.


2. Hydrate. Yes, your mother is right, and it really is important to push fluids when you find yourself under the weather. I like to keep on hand a liquid trifecta, in a range of temperatures, so I’m never without a beverage to suit my current state. My go-tos are tea (an herbal, non-caffeinated variety hydrates best, I lived on Sleepytime with honey to soothe my throat), orange juice (get those antioxidants flowing!), and, of course, water.


3. Wash your face. Maybe this one is particular to me, but when I’m feeling like utter death, I find if I splash some water on my face, massage in a little face wash, and towel off with my fluffiest washcloth, it makes me feel a little less dire about the state of things. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you could shower or take a bath, but sometimes that is entirely too much effort, especially if you’re feeling feverish or battling chills.


4. Treat yo’self. Whatever it is that makes your heart happy and soothes your aching bones/head/throat/chest/etc., get on your computer and make a nice human on a bicycle bring it to you. Bonus points if it also helps with tip number two! My personal favorite is miso soup, steeped in comfort and nostalgia after all the high quantities of Japanese food consumed in my childhood. Matzoh ball, ramen, or pho also does the trick.


5. Binge. You’re stuck in bed. You have no energy to do anything or interact with anyone. The hours stretch ahead undivided by obligations. This is the perfect opportunity to revisit old favorites, reunite with childhood friends, catch up on standbys, or delve into a whole new world of entertainment. I generally opt for a mix of all three. My choices of late? Chuck (the rewatch), Anastasia (the classic), Criminal Minds (the catch up), and finally, finally I started watching Orphan Black (100% in Clone Club. Give Tatiana Maslany all the awards!)



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