Surviving Sickness: Planning Ahead

Getting sick ruins your plans. It wreaks havoc on your resolutions, like that new diet or exercise routine. Worst of all, it makes it near impossible to keep up with work, home, and school responsibilities.

In high school illness excuses you from class. In adulthood, a cold is hardly reason to sleep in on a Monday. Sometimes being an adult is so depressing!

The best thing you can do to weather the storm is plan ahead. Planning is probably the main thing that preserved my sanity through this cold!

If you’re just tuning in, check out Part 1: Address your Ailments.

2. Plan ahead

Plan Dinners:

As soon as you realize you are coming down with a cold, make a list of possible dinners. You do not want to be hungry, sick, and exhausted with no plan when dinnertime rolls around. Make sure the meals are simple enough for your cold-induced grogginess.  Check that you have the ingredients for those meals.

I chose simple meals: Canned chili & cornbread, Pizza Lasagna, Pancakes, Nachos, Fried Rice, and so on.

Plan for the Next Morning:

Waking up is the single most difficult part of being sick. I got sick right at the start of my 8 A.M. spring classes. That meant that I had to adjust to waking up 3 hours earlier while congested and miserable.

I feel better in the evening than in the morning. I use the evening to figure out breakfast, clothing, medicine, and lunch for the next morning. This saves me a lot of energy and stress in the morning.

Plan to Recover:

Make sure that you have a regimen to bolster your immune system. Mine is simple: Eat, hydrate, sleep, vitamin C. Your meals should provide you all your nutrition – don’t just eat Top Ramen, even though it’s easy. You may have to work extra hard to hydrate if you have a sore throat. As I mentioned in Part 1, you can rely on tea, popsicles, and ice cubes to sooth and hydrate. Sleep shouldn’t be too difficult. If coughing or congestion is keeping you awake, try Nyquil.

You can get your vitamin C from citrus fruits, certain teas, apple cider, apple juice, orange juice, fortified cough drops, Emergen-C, and many other places. Vitamin C is essential to fortifying your immune system. Don’t leave it out of your diet!

You may need to visit the doctor if your cold is serious. I joke that in my family we only visit the doctor after we’re dead. This is partially true, but I would definitely go if I had a cold I couldn’t shake.

What do you do to get rid of a cold?

Cold season is almost over. I wish you luck in avoiding pesky cold germs!


Surviving Sickness: Cures for the Common Cold

Every day this week I’ve had to peel myself out of bed and hop into a steamy shower so that I can breathe. I have a cold. At times, my lips and nose are so dry I feel that if I smile, they’ll bleed. I have not been able to speak above a whisper for three days.

If you are a student, caretaker, or can’t take time off work I’m sure you know that regardless of illness, the show must go on. I’m proud of how well I have been operating while under the weather. I’ve cooked dinner every night, my house is clean, and I’ve made it to all my classes – all while unable to speak or breathe through my nose! One of the reasons I’ve been able to function (albeit quite groggily at times) is by actively fighting my cold symptoms.

My first tactic to defeat a nasty cold is:

#1 Address your Ailments

This may seem obvious, but often the last thing you feel like doing when you’re sick is making soup or taking medicine. You have to take an active role in fighting your cold symptoms.

Sore Throat:

Once you’ve medicated (with an antihistamine like Benadryl), go for the classic cure-all: tea! Tea is really soothing on your throat. There are even teas made specifically to treat a sore throat, though I’ve found that they tend to taste terrible. If you don’t like tea, try Apple Cider. Cider has the added benefit of Vitamin C.

Cough drops are also an indispensable resource – especially to keep from coughing in class or at work. Thankfully, cough drops don’t taste disgusting anymore. I’m a big fan of Halls’ mixed berry cough drops. But if you want to change up the flavor you can also use hard candy, like starlight mints or caramels.

Popsicles are my final go-to for a really bad sore throat. This time around I didn’t have any popsicles on hand – so I sucked on ice cubes. Weird, I know, but it worked well and kept me hydrated.

Be sure to get sugar free varieties of popsicles and cough drops. The last thing you want is to rot your teeth by soaking them in sugar for a week.

As far as meals go, canned soup is your friend. You won’t feel like cooking – but soup is a soothing and delicious option.


You need a decongestant (shocking!) like Sudafed. You will be able to breathe again!

If your throat isn’t hurting you too badly try some culinary decongestants. Horseradish, wasabi, and other spicy foods work wonders. I also like a steamy bowl of soup for decongesting.

When bed time finally comes around, I highly recommend Nyquil. It works better than any other decongestant I’ve tried. It tastes horrible, but it clears out your nasal passage so you can finally get to sleep.

Tender nose and lips:

This product has been discontinued, but you can get it on Amazon (here).

Rose Salve! I discovered this Blueberry Rose Salve on super sale at Bath & Body Works. It’s multipurpose for “face, cuticles, and lips.” I’ve been using it over my dry, irritated nose and lips. It’s amazing! It moisturizes and heals my tissue-rubbed skin.

Unfortunately, I have not yet found any sure-fire way to clear that groggy, fuzzy feeling I often have during a cold. Please let me know if you have any methods – they would be invaluable!

Check back for part 2 of Sickness Survival: Planning ahead to make life easier!


Money Saving Strategy for Spring Textbooks

This is the process I go through for each of my text books. It is labor intensive, but it’s worthwhile because it allows me to find least expensive option for each book.

This semester I’m taking a media ethics class (among others). I’m using the textbook to show how I find the cheapest option.

Here is my process:

If you know anyone who might still have the textbook, check with them first – they would probably be happy to help you out! I haven’t been able to find anyone who has this one. So here it goes:

First I check out my options on Amazon:

This is the offending textbook

This is the offending textbook

  • $63.03 new, eligible for free shipping
  • $43.25 used, plus $3.99 shipping ($47.24)
  • $22.72 hard copy rental, plus shipping
  • $43.79 Kindle edition
  • $25.52 Kindle rental

Then I check BookRenter:

  • $54.43 rental, free shipping

Then Garfield Bookstore (Lots of universities have their own bookstore, this is PLU’s):

  • $64.95 new, plus shipping unless you buy it in person

Renting vs. Buying

Renting typically has the lowest up-front cost.

Buying an eBook has the next lowest up-front cost. Pro: it allows you to search for keywords on your laptop or Kindle, which helps you skim readings and find answers to questions. Con: it has no resale value. Note: you can read kindle eBooks on your laptop even if you don’t have a kindle.

Buying a hard copy gives you the option to re-sell (you can usually get back about half your money).

My general rule: I get the rental or eBook if it is half the price of the hard copy.

In this Case

It’s cheapest to rent a hard copy from Amazon ($22.72)

If I buy the used copy from Amazon ($47.24) I will be able to get around $20 back when I re-sell it (figure in Amazon’s fees). That leaves me with total out of pocket cost of $27.24. In this case it’s better to rent!

Unfortunately, after all that, I still had to spend around $200 on textbooks for spring – Yikes!

How do (did/would) you handle the ridiculous expense of textbooks?