Come On Get Down With the Sickness

Photo courtesy of Donna Grayson / Flickr

The thing I hate the most about being sick isn’t the symptoms of the flu. Instead it’s the symptoms of the medicine that is aimed at battling the flu. For me it’s like a flu season Catch-22.

There are lots of cold medications on the market. Do what I do. Mix them all into a killer cocktail, put a plastic tree on top with a slurpee straw and pass out for three whole months. Wake up and find out there is a new president.

I tend to stay away from the NyQuil because it knocks me out. It’s great at night, but the flu in the morning and afternoon can be especially difficult. So I always take DayQuil because on the box it says non-drowsy. The box says a lot of things. The reason I don’t trust boxes specifically relates to DayQuil and NyQuil, the nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, you-can-sleep-through-a-nuclear-blast medicine.

There is no apparent difference between DayQuil and NyQuil — both cause drowsiness. The word “day” is in DayQuil so you naturally think it’s designed for daytime. The only significant difference between either is the color of the box. DayQuil comes in an orange box, so you think, “Orange, that’s definitely a color that reminds me of being awake. It’s the color of the sun!”

And that’s just what they want you to think.

I don’t prefer drinking DayQuil. I tend to take my DayQuil in the form of pills. When you take DayQuil pills you must not have a finicky gag reflex. For some reason the pills are like trying to swallow a can of Coke (or Pepsi, if that’s what you’re partial to), aluminum and all.

Another thing I despise about cold medicine is the way it tastes. The people at Dimetapp got it right, didn’t they? Let’s make a medicine that doesn’t taste like medicine. They want to make a medicine that tastes good, so what do they do? What flavor do they pick? Grape. One of only a few fruit flavors that never actually tastes like the fruit it represents. All it really means is now you’re just drinking grape medicine, because it still tastes like medicine.

On the other side of that spectrum is Robitussin. Robitussin tastes like something a demon would pour you a shot of on your way to Hades. It’s the kind of syrup Satan prefers on his pancakes. They give you a small plastic shot glass with each bottle of Robitussin, which is great because that’s the only way to administer Robitussin. You want to be careful and get that Robitussin down your throat and past your gullet as easily, foolproof and spillproof as humanly possible, which is impossible because Robitussin is as thick as Silly Putty.

I always try to get the aftertaste of Robitussin out of my mouth by eating or drinking something immediately. Nothing gets that aftertaste out of your mouth, but I tell you this: never take a bite out of an egg sandwich afterward. In fact, just stay away from eggs all together while sick.

Robitussin tastes like sickness incarnate. If you were to transmute sickness in general into a physical form and run it through a fruit pulper to make a beverage then Robitussin is how that beverage would taste.

My personal favorite has to be Pepto-Bismol. I have hated Pepto ever since I was four years old. Pepto is like eating chalk. Oh sure, it has a cool name. They even try and fool you. What color do they make it? Pink. Pink is harmless. Nothing pink could taste like eating chalk, right?

Another personal favorite — because it’s never a mess using it — is Vick’s Vapor Rub. I don’t know about you but when I am sick, shivering and trying to sleep there is nothing I love more than covering my entire chest with an odd-smelling, translucent goop. I love greasing myself up like a pig at the county fair and trying to sleep with the bunch of slime caked to my body.

I should just face it. Getting sick is an unfortunate consequence of life. And medicine, well, sometimes it’s just a bitter pill to swallow.

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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