10 Things I’ve Learned Since Being Struck Down By Illness

At the beginning of February, I managed to acquire a nasty bout of tonsillitis. After a distressing trip to the doctor, 7 days of bed rest and a 10 day course of antibiotics – I had fully covered. Or so I thought. 

However, it’s almost three weeks later  and the tonsillitis has returned. I have had yet another distressing trip to the doctor, been giving a 10 day course of a different antibiotic and now I am currently bed bound once again. 

This time around, I have also been battling with a temperature so high that I feel like I could burst into flames any minute (might be slightly exaggerating there but you know, when you’re ill, sometimes it feels like the end of the world). 

As I haven’t been able to do much in the past couple of days but lie here in bed and suffer (until the meds kick in), it’s allowed plenty of time for thinking.

Having two severe throat infections in the space of one month has taught me a lot, so I thought it would be only right to share these lessons on my blog because, you know, sharing is caring:

1) A healthy body = a healthy mind.

Yes, that old chestnut.

While I was recovering from tonsillitis the first time around, I wrote this post. I honestly feel like the period I had off work improved not only my health, but my state of mind. Laid in bed all day every day gives you chance to reflect on your life, what position you’re in presently and what position you want to be in ultimately. 

I was feeling very broken previously and now my outlook on life has significantly changed and I just want to live every day to the fullest. 

2) You find out who really cares.

When I’ve messaged ‘friends’ recently telling them I’m sick, I’ve found that only a select few have replied and genuinely sound concerned. A couple of them have had no sympathy and there’s even been an incident where someone has told me, in all serious, to man up. 

True friends care about your health and wellbeing and will show you during these times of need with their kind words and well wishes.

3) Fluids are everything.

This time around with tonsillitis, it was so painful to even swallow during the first day – so I hardly drank. It was awful. I didn’t help myself at all because my throat dried out and became even more painful. 

I realised my mistake and fixed this by drinking a shit ton of water the next day and found that I felt so much better.

This rule applies to any illness: drink lots of fluids to keep your body hydrated and this will make you improve a little more each day.

4) There’s only so much daytime TV one can take.

After a while of being laid up, you start to go a little stir crazy. 

You long to have your full health back so you can get up out of bed, move about and carry on living your life like the rest of the world.

Sure, Good Morning Britain, Lorraine, Jeremy Kyle, This Morning and Loose Women are fun to watch and all – but not 5 days in a row. SAVE ME.

5) The most exciting part of your day is bathing.

You haven’t been up out of bed in hours (only to go to the toilet) but, as you hobble to the bathroom, pure delight washes over you as you realise that YES I MADE IT TO THE BATHROOM and YES I AM GOING TO BE CLEAN AGAIN. 

6) Having your own personal nurse makes you recover faster…

…whether it’s your other half, best friend or a family member.

See, I live with my parents at the moment and my Mum is retired, so I’m very lucky in the sense that there’s someone to look after me throughout my sickness.

She will run up and down the stairs bringing me whatever I need, she will be my chef with her own 24 hour cafe and she will remind me when it’s time to take my next meds.

That’s why having your own personal nurse is AWESOME.

7) Antibiotics take ages to kick in.

Most doctors will spin you the line of ‘it’ll be about 48 hours before the antibiotics will start working’ but, in my opinion, it often takes longer than that.

Both times, I’ve got to the point where my throat is about to close up, my eyes are watering with pain and thoughts of MY GOD I MIGHT NOT MAKE IT OUT ALIVE are polluting my brain before the meds have decided to kick in a few days later. 

It’s always darkest before the dawn, but bloody hell – I really wish antibiotics would just hurry up and do their business straight away.

8) Staggered painkillers are a god send.

If you’ve got a really painful infection, you can take 2x paracetamol then 2 hours later take 2x ibuprofen and keep going like that, alternating every 2 hours, until you’ve completed both dosages for the day.

Paracetamol helps bring the fever down and ibuprofen is anti-inflammatory so targets the source of pain directly.

It really does help.

9) You will be emotionally vulnerable.

You know you’re ill when you’re crying at an episode of Kardashians because Kim hasn’t got the marble tiles that she wants in her new house and OMG LIFE IS SO UNFAIR. 

I always feel on the verge of tears when I’m poorly – like my body is weak and so is my mind. 

I can’t argue with anyone, I can’t debate, I can’t even muster up the energy to have a proper conversation.

Quite frankly, I’m pathetic. But it’s the only time I can be pathetic and it’s accepted so I will embrace it, thank you very much.

Now, where are my tissues?

10) If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.

Being bed bound for so long really makes you appreciate the 100% health you usually have.

Sometimes we take the little things for granted – like being able to go for a walk, being able to drive and being able to live a full and active life.

If you’re severely ill, it stops you from doing anything. You literally have to put your life on hold and ride the illness out.

I felt grateful for my full recovery from the tonsillitis the first time around, but I’m going to feel even more grateful once I’m back to full health this time around. 

Being ill really puts things in perspective and I will never take my health for granted again.

I will listen to my body, I will care for it better and I will not run it into the ground. It’s not worth the recurrent sickness.

I’m currently on day 3 of the second episode of tonsillitis and I’m longing to get better soon. 

In the mean time, hello bed rest and hello Jeremy Kyle.

(Thanks for reading! Leave me your comments below. Katie-xo)

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