The Rituals of Illness

As so often seems to be the case, I am ill at Christmas time.

This seems to happen more or less every other holiday season: I’ll have an end of year crush at the day job, push too hard in the run up to Christmas, and then come down with some minor but irritating ailment which renders me other than jolly for the holiday.

But being ill again this year reminds me that I have certain rituals I perform when I am unwell.

Watching Television

Not functioning properly is a good opportunity to catch up on TV that I usually don’t have time to watch. The canonical example for me is the bout of stomach flu in June when I watched a huge amount of Doctor Who because I really couldn’t do anything else. This time, I have the last few episodes* of Constantine to see.

Wearing Warm Clothes

I have a big woolly jumper that I like but find to be too warm most of the time. My wife will often remark that I must be ill if I am wearing it.

I’m wearing it now.


I don’t like naps. I generally find that any amount of sleep during the day will leave me more disorientated than if I had not sleep at all.

But if I’m ill? I need the naps. Three hour snoozes are not unheard of in the depths of the worst episodes.

Hot Drinks

I drink a lot of tea at any time, but if I’m sick I also start in on nourishing cups of Marmite.

Also, whilst not a hot drink, there is the situational consumption of ginger ale – if I have a stomach ailment, then ginger ale is often about all I can keep down and is very helpful in keeping body and emergent self-awareness** in the same place.

Well, off to catch up with my telly, and hopefully I’ll be back in the land of the living next week.

[*] and it seems unlikely there will be any more, which makes me a bit sad.

[**] not being a duallist, I could hardly say “soul”.

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