Okay, so one doesn't really learn to be sick, but perhaps one can learn to deal with illness better. Over the last few years I've been thankfully sick only a handful of times, although I have had other various ailments like migraines or things that made moving around a bit more difficult. In most of these incidents, I've tried to just power through it, take medicine when it gets bad enough, and do what I can to not contaminate the people around me (such as my scared-to-be-sick spouse).
While we were visiting family for Thanksgiving I started to feel like my throat was getting scratchy, but I told myself it was probably just different pollens or irritants in the Florida air. The second morning I work up feeling the same I knew what was coming, but I was still traveling, so I just had to make the best of what I could at the time. Forgivingly, the more I moved around the better I felt, so that gave me plenty of excuse to move around a lot.
Once we got home, I was too exhausted to remember to take medicine. Monday morning the congestion started. Tuesday night, the congestion was full on and I had to sleep sitting up. Wednesday morning, it was time to medicate. Probably past time.
If these conditions had befallen my wife, there would have been neti pots and dissolving chunks of medicine that make pink liquids, and black syrup added to water that turns almost purple. But this was me, and I don't believe these things help me.
When I got up this morning I almost fired off an email saying I wasn't going to be in because I was feeling poorly, but I looked at my calendar and found that I had a meeting that was scheduled two weeks ago (it was canceled 20 minutes before it was to begin). With that, we picked up and went to work. Once there, I decided it was best to isolate myself, so I departed for the "lab" where I spent all but about an hour of the work day.
And you know what? It worked. I'm going to miss our current arrangement when we move to our new offices in about two weeks.
As the evening wore on, I realized that I hadn't had medicine in many hours and I could feel the congestion building. Ugg... this is going to be unpleasant. I did learn that I need to keep on top of medicating once I start, 'cause feeling like this stinks. I also learned in a previous cold that I needed to drink like it's going out of style. Water, not bourbon. Although bourbon feels good, too, especially on scratchy throats.
As I go through this, maybe I'll find more/better ways to live through being ill, so expect more thoughts on the matter in the future.