Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Medicine Cocktails

Every time I get sick, I try to put off taking medicine for as long as possible. I will take aspirin to help me get through the days, but I try to keep it limited to that. I read somewhere that taking all that cough and cold medicine can actually extend the time you experience symptoms as opposed to taking nothing or just regular aspirin. The explanation for this was possibly that your body doesn't fight off the symptoms because you have the medicine suppressing them. That, or it was the companies producing the meds can somehow keep you sick longer so you need to buy and use more of their products. I don't remember. It's really not important. I read that years ago and have since believed it to be true.

For the first few days of a cold or flu, when it's not so unbearable, I take my aspirin and manage. Inevitably, I become so miserable that I raid the medicine cabinet. And, no matter how many boxes and bottles I stocked up on the last time I was sick, I never have anything that says it will treat all the symptoms I have and nothing more. I either have to take something that is intended to treat every symptom a person could possibly have when sick, including bloodshot eyes and recurring hiccups... or I have to cobble together some sort of strange cocktail of several, single-symptom syrups and pills.

I realize this is probably not advisable, but what is a girl supposed to do? I can't breathe through my nose, my eyes are burning, I have that terrible cough where my breath catches in my throat almost every time I exhale and sparks a coughing fit, and my throat hurts so badly that I want to rip it out of my neck (because, you know, that would hurt less). I cannot possibly be the only person who has had a cold or flu with these symptoms, but you wouldn't know that by examining the medicine aisle. All I want is a decongestant with a cough suppressant and pain killer. I do not need an antihistamine. I do not need something for chest congestion.

I am not a pharmacist. I do not know what the long-term effects could be from me mixing cough syrup with aspirin and sudafed. Maybe I shouldn't be doing that. Maybe I shouldn't be taking meds at all, as it will just make me sick longer. Maybe I should take the week off work and stay in bed, but that really is not an option for me. All I can do is hope this feeling like my head is filled with helium goes away when I finally get better and stop downing medicine cocktails.

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