#157 Give Yourself a Sick Day
I spent much of my childhood engaged in long drawn-out games of make-believe. Some of these games featured bucolic scenarios of apple picking or making feasts of mud soup for a celebration, but for the most part I pretended to be in the grip of tragedy. The scenarios I acted out with my best friend, Allison, were particularly bleak. Someone or another was usually in the midst of perishing from consumption or scarlet fever. (One winter, when Allison was unfortunate enough to come down with scarlet fever for real, we were thrilled by the diagnosis.) In our games we readied imaginary medicines, stoked imaginary fires, and brought another blanket to pile atop the stricken friend, no matter if we were playing in the middle of August’s hottest days. There was much hand wringing over each other’s imagined imminent demise.
We can unpack the psychology of a childhood spent play acting suffering at another time, but the memories of those imaginary sick days come to mind on the mercifully rare occasion when someone in our apartment is, indeed, ill. Mostly because there’s an awful lot of bustling around the place while the poor suffering soul is laid up smack in the middle of it.
So, how to have a sick day in a tiny apartment? Here goes:
Get out: We get by mostly by having as many healthy people as possible leave the apartment for as long as possible. This is our strategy for surviving life in a tiny apartment generally, but when someone’s not feeling well, we try especially hard to make sure that those who can are spending long days out of the apartment.
Distract: Getting sick with little guys underfoot is a challenge regardless of the space you live in, but not having a bedroom door to shut, or a way to create a little physical distance can complicate things even more. When we have to be inside, we try to center the healthy person activity in just one spot—like the kids’ bedroom, or the corner with our kitchen—to try to afford the person who’s under the weather the space to rest. When a parent is sick, we find the best way to give that person a little space is to distract the rest of the family with an activity that’s fairly all-consuming like a baking project, or fort construction, or, even, a bubble bath. Build an epic enough fort or draw a bubbly enough bath, and someone might even be able to sneak in a nap.
Quarantine: Containing germs when your sick bed is feet from the kitchen table is paramount, but we find that practicing regular good hygiene, like washing hands frequently, washing bed linens often, and putting a trash bin next to the bed to catch extra tissues, helps us from infecting the whole apartment when one of gets sick.
For the curious:
+ The only storage in our tiny apartment bathroom is a partially broken mirrored medicine cabinet from the 1960s. We use that for toothbrushes and toothpaste and a few other toiletries, but our medicines and bandaids, thermometer and nail scissors, we keep out of reach of the kiddos in a wall-mounted first-aid box. It’s been the perfect small and simple solution for our needs. Maybe for yours, too.
+ We try to use washable hankies for day-to-day nose blowing, but when we’re really under the weather, we indulge in disposable tissues to keep laundry and germs under control. For when we do have a box in the house, this linen tissue box cover solves the dilemma of the ever-ugly tissue boxes.
What about you guys? Sick day challenges in your spaces? (Can I interest you in some elderberry syrup?)
Tiny apartment survival tips #1-156, RIGHT THIS WAY.