Sickness Cabinets For Single People

When TLC is DIY.

As we move into the holidays, or as I like to call them, Kleenex Kristmas, I think it’s important that we discuss the sickness stash stock-up that needs to occur before you, as a single person, find yourself unable to leave the house without so much as a tea bag or bottle of NyQuil to your name.

I myself am often prone to the saddest of states, completely incapacitated by infectants, a graveyard of tissues encircling my bed as if in preparation for some kind of ancient ritual. Cat all but convinced of my impending death.

Single people experience life differently. And as such we have to put certain safeguards in place to avoid a level of misery we’ll all want to Tweet about later. We don’t have anyone built into the scaffolding of our lives who is compelled if not obligated to care for us when we’re ill. For us, all care has to be self administered. Since we never know when we’ll need sickness remedies until we’ve slid far too deeply down the body ache rabbit hole to leave home in search of them, it is my hope that every single person reading this will make a quick trip to the market to stock the sickness cabinet we deserve. You will never regret this effort or one single penny, I promise.

You’ll want the standard cast of characters, your cold medicine, cough syrup and drops, something meant for nighttime so you can sleep despite not being able to breathe from the orifice designed for that activity. Some ibuprofen would not go amiss. I like to keep a thermometer in good working order. But sickness preparation goes much deeper than medicine.

Being sick is uncomfortable, and part of the reason it’s so nice to have someone take care of you when you’re sick is that they’re essentially just administering comfort. Unless you’re married to an MD with a prescription pad in their pocket, your loved ones aren’t curing you, they’re comforting you. Think of all the ways being sick makes you uncomfortable, then put the items in place to combat those situations. Stick your supplies somewhere out of the way and forget about them. You’ll know when it’s time to raid the stash, believe me.

Things like…the good Klennex. (And in some unholy instances, the good toilet paper.) A hot water bottle. Ginger ale. Soup. I like packets of TheraFlu. I also buy fresh ginger, grate it, and freeze it to later add to cups of hot water with lemon. Turmeric tea is always in high supply. None of these items will cure you (though I have my theories about chicken soup), but they will all give you some comfort in your bleakest moments, and I believe the relief they bring starts us energetically down the road to health. Or at least enough health to leave the house. Everything should be shelf stable, and not require you to climb a step stool for access. Let’s not set ourselves up for disaster.

If you really want to level-up your single skills, get better in the prevention department, too. The first time I hear someone say “I can’t, I’m sick” in early fall, I start taking Wellness Formula, and I don’t stop until April. I don’t know what it does, exactly, but I’m not sick right now. Are you? Also I carry disinfecting wipes with me everywhere. I don’t know if that’s because I’m prepared or I’m simply my mother’s child, but either way I feel less gross.

The simple fact of being single is that when there’s no one around to be nice to you, you have to be nicer to yourself. There is absolutely no sense in suffering simply because you’ve seen no return on those premium app memberships. A huge part of being nice to ourselves involves preparation, but whereas my go-bag is a never-ending and quite frankly batshit project, the sickness cabinet is a one-stop shop.

Take care of yourselves this holiday season. Be kind. Anticipate that we’re all just as prone to subway pole germs as anyone else, and the common cold doesn’t send a calendar invite a week in advance. Hope for health, stock for sickness. You can deal with this — all by yourself.

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that. Host of A Single Serving Podcast. shanisilver[at]gmail

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