Living Alone Diaries: Being Prepared

If you regularly read this blog, then you will know that I have recently had a cold, the first time I’ve been sick since 2019. Because it had been so long since I was sick (and since I had moved twice since the last time I was sick) I didn’t have any cold/flu meds in the house. And since we have decided as a society (and rightly so) that people should stay home when they are sick, that made it really hard to figure out how to get food and cold meds. It also hasn’t been the only thing over the past few months that has made me realise that I’m not always prepared to handle stuff on my own. And as a hyper-independent, type A, eldest daughter type, that doesn’t sit right with me.

Being prepared to be sick

Having a stocked pharmacy:

There are times when we don’t want to or can’t get ourselves to a drug store because we are so sick. I want to keep a stocked medicine cabinet (in the kitchen, not the bathroom the steam can impact the medicine).

  • Vick’s VapoRub – your mom used it because it works
  • Cough drops and throat lozenges – I like Hall’s, Fisherman’s Friends, and Cepacol
  • Cough syrup – if you aren’t from Canada you won’t have Buckley’s, but it’s the best. I’m thinking about having one for dry cough and one for mucus cough
  • Thermometer – I never know if I actually have a fever or not because I don’t own one
  • Anti-nausea medication – I don’t get nauseas as much as I used to, but there is no worse feeling
  • Pain killers – Advil, Tylenol, Naproxen, whatever you like most, but having at least two on hand is best because if you have a fever you can alternate them every four hours to bring your fever down. And naproxen is best for joint pain. Or if you are at a higher risk of a heart attack having plain aspirin on hand can save your life; take 2 and chew them while calling your emergency services
  • COVID tests – I actually had a lot of these and they are free to get over the counter at the pharmacy in Ontario
  • Bengay, RubA535, Voltaren, some kind of back pain cream – there is nothing worse than having to leave your house to go get something for your back when you can barely move
  • First Aid Kit – a good first aid kit is good to have on hand if you ever get hurt or someone gets hurt at your home

Having a stocked pantry

The one thing that I had never thought about, maybe because we didn’t used to look down on going to the grocery store with a cough, was food. And when I got sick all I had was a meal-prepped kale salad (that I now have to deal with and am dreading) and the last thing that I wanted to eat was kale salad. So I want to keep a stash of tinned soup, a loaf of bread in the freezer, granola bars, peanut butter, jam and honey.

And this may be controversial, but my Dad swears by a hot toddy for a cold, and I had whisky and honey, but I didn’t have lemon or cloves. So I’m thinking that I may need to keep one of those plastic lemons with the lemon juice in it in the fridge and get some whole cloves so that next time I get that tickle in my throat I can down a hot toddy and a good night’s sleep and like my dad be recovered the next day.

The one thing I did have was a good collection of tea bags so that I had options for hot liquids, but if you don’t like tea, think about what hot liquids you do like, that aren’t coffee or hot chocolate, they can be dehydrating and make your throat worse if it’s one of the things bothering you.

Other Random Things

  • An extra pack of toilet paper – if like me you don’t buy tissues and then you have to blow your nose with toilet paper you will find yourself going through a lot of toilet paper in a very short time. I had a good supply on hand, but I easily went through 3 rolls just from nose blowing.
  • Socks and underwear – The last thing that you want to do when sick is laundry, and in general I don’t own enough of these but when you aren’t doing laundry you need a lot more in order to maintain your usual hygiene standards.
  • Throw blankets – I think this is obvious.

There are still things that you have to rely on other people for, it’s something that I’m still working on, but by being prepared, we can rely on people a bit less.

I think that might sound a bit toxic. I don’t know yet.


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