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  • Writer's picturelennoxmorganoffici

Getting Sick in a Different Country

Getting sick is the absolute worst. You have to miss work, or worse, you have to forgo your weekend plans to suffer in bed. You are hot and sweaty, or cold and shivering, coughing up a lung, or more. You can't keep liquids down, you can't keep food down, and you can't do any of the things that you enjoy, simply because you don't have the energy. Your body hurts with its aches and pains. Your head pounds so hard you can't even think. You cry uncontrollably for no reason other than to cool your hot face with those sad tears. The only energy you do have is to get up and call a doctor to be seen for some medicine that will hopefully give you any form of relief sooner than you expect it too. Because you can still do things, as long as you feel okay with doing that, and you just need that medicine to get you through. 

The only semi-okay thing about getting a day off to be sick is that you can feel sorry for yourself and milk it just a bit. You can eat as much ice cream to ‘help your throat’ as you want to. You can drink ‘all the carbonated drinks’ to help the nausea. You can keep putting off that one thing that you keep saying that you are going to do. You can milk it a little and get some takeaway delivered instead of cooking. You can spend all day binge-watching that show you haven't had time to watch. You can catch up on those little pleasures that get you through life as the world moves around you. Though these things don't make the sickness worth it by any means, it does allow you to relax your shoulders and get the sleep you so desperately need. 

However, those things that you desire to ‘treat yourself’ for getting through a sickness are limited in another country. Those things that you spent years configuring in your mind as a reward to yourself for being sick are no longer available to you. YOu have to go through the horrible money-spending habit of finding those things that are not as equally desirable to you, that don't satisfy that pity you wanted, and ultimately create a small hole of disappointment in your heart. You either have to spend time being sick just to find those things, or you can give up that enjoyment of being sick, which creates no purpose for getting sick at all. 

I've lived in the United Kingdom for almost 2 years, and have only been sick less than a handful of times, and I am still creating disappointment for myself when I do get sick. Why? Because of the following: 

  1. I have no access to any of my favorite television shows - DId you know that the United Kingdom doesn't have half the streaming platforms that the States have? I have to purchase a VPN and clear my cache history in order for my Hulu to work sometimes. Hulu doesn't allow VPN streaming, which means that most of the time, even with the VPN that I bought, I hardly have access to it. New Girl is my favorite show and I love to watch it when I am rotting on the couch in between gross stuff in the bathroom. Yet, I can only access it through Hulu. Other television shows that are Hulu originals or Netflix originals are not accessible through the United Kingdom Netflix or Amazon Prime. What's the point of rotting on the couch if I can't rot on the couch watching my favorite comfort shows? 

  2. I have no access to the drinks that allow me to feel better - When I was sick when I was younger, Gatorade, Power Aid, and ginger ale were the easiest to get. They would always be there for me on the bedside table as I dove in and out of sleep. I would take a few sips and enjoy the taste of these drinks before dozing back off in achy pain. However, in the United Kingdom, they do not have anything like Gatorade, Powerade, and ginger ale. They have ginger ale but it's different and tastes weird (in my opinion) so it doesn't bring me that type of comfort. Additionally, Gatorade and Powerade are subjective to only the States. If it wasn't for my partner coming home and bringing with him the drinks I specifically requested him not to bring, I wouldn't have any clue what to get at the store to bring that comfort. I would be standing in the drink aisle sick, trying to find something that I would find comfort in that would also do the job I needed it to, and I wouldn't be able to think because my head would be pounding. Though my partner did bring home the drink I requested him not to, and though I drank all of them, they did bring me no such comfort that I wanted. Why spend all my precious gold on things that did an okay job but left me unsatisfied? There was no point in getting those drinks since they did nothing but help me feel better a little bit. 

  3. Eating food after you get better - My first meal after I get sick better be a good one. It better be a nice juicy burger with all the fixings on top, all the crunch of the pickles and lettuce, and the juice of the tomato and meat together. The cheese better be falling off, and the bread should be warm and toasty. There should be a large Dr. Pepper to wash all of this down with. The reward for being sick, to me, is to spend a fortune on your first meal back into normal society. However, have you guys ever had food in the United Kingdom? I mean… yikes. I mean, it's not bad. It's just not great. As someone from Texas, I think I know a little bit about how to flavor food, how to cook or BBQ food. This aint it. I don't want to eat bland stake bites that are seasoned with olive oil and that's it. I don't want to eat a burger that wasn't seasoned with anything on a soft bun and frozen cheese on top. I honestly think that if the United Kingdom used spices in more food, and flavored it like we do down in Texas, their food would be better than in Texas. I know, I know. Controversial topic. The fact of the matter is that the UK has fresher food and ingredients and if they learned to use spices that they fought so hard for, their food would be world class. That was a tangent. Sorry, not sorry. 

  4. Finding a doctor and going to a doctor - You know how much I walk in the United Kingdom? Do you know how many steps I take when I am sick while in the UK? Want to know how many steps I want to take while I am sick going to the doctor in the UK? As I have mentioned earlier, I have been here for almost 2 years and I have yet to find a doctor. Not for a lack of trying. Because I am on a visa, I guess only specific GPs are allowed to see you and they are on a 2 to 3-month waiting list to register. How do I know if I'll be sick in 3 months man? I cannot for the life of me find a general practitioner to see me under a 2 2-month span. They won't see me if I am not sick and they can't see me before I establish care in a GP office so it's a loose-loose for me. But even if I did have a GP, I REFUSE to walk ANYWHERE while I am sick. I can barely walk from the couch to the kitchen to get another drink, what makes you think I'm capable of walking 2 miles up a hill to get checked out? I did that once, in the dead of winter while it was snowing, to grab some medicines. Never again. 

Anyway, in case you were interested in moving to a different country, these are things that I did not consider when I moved. So I would suggest that you take some time to consider options for these if these are important to you. Additionally, as soon as you move to the desired country, start taking notes on what you like, dislike, etc so when you do get sick, you know what drinks, food, treats, etc you want and you do not have to go through these mental gymnastics of if these will or won't satisfy you. Just a thought. 

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