how to be an invalid [successfully].

-- Rules of Invalidity --

i) Immediately upon determining that something foul has entered your system, lie down. You will not regret taking it easy at the onset of your illness. Exertion of energy can prolong your predicament by a great deal.

ii) As soon as possible, enlist the assistance of someone you trust with your life in order to obtain all necessary remedies and aids, as you will not want to be driving all over town trying to pick them up yourself, hurrying so as to make it home in the shortest amount of time possible, to allow for the most amount of time to rest, which only ends up requiring you to run or walk hastily through aisles and parking lots, thereby exerting more energy than is prudent for one in your condition, and possibly even making your symptoms worse. 

iii) Guilt and shame (alternately, or simultaneously) the above individual to remain with you for the duration of your illness because you might die, after all, and we wouldn't want you dying alone, or at least not without someone to put on your favorite record to cross the blessed river to. This is sure to be effective in securing his or her unwavering commitment.

iv) Sleep. A lot.

v) Eat in small amounts, and then only foods which contain a minimal degree of flavourful power. Upset stomachs can be a good thing, if they end in the dispensation of your illness in one fell swoop of an upchucking, but this is not always the case, and even when it is, it is best when provoked by the body naturally, rather than being induced by the body's weakened state, incapable of tolerating such massive assaults one one's digestive capacity. Plain soups, crackers, light produce, and water are perfectly acceptable.

vi) When rising from your bed or cot (and I will say you should have rare use for this rule, as it is best to keep still for as long as you can stand it), do so slowly and with calculated motion. Dizzyness can occur suddenly and painfully, as your blood is pressed to kick into higher gear for the muscles you've just whipped into employ. Also, your equilibrium may not be quite in sync with what your mind want to do, so be patient and allow it to catch up. Hold its hand if you have to.

vii) Invest in an account with a company that will ship you films and perhaps a television series or two (this is a great time to watch an entire season in just a few days, rather than watching them through a grueling once-per-week process, especially because the suspense may be too much for the weakened mind to bear). This is particularly helpful if one does not believe in cable or satellite television services.

viii) If your library has an online catalogue, peruse it like there is no tomorrow and reserve as many books and audio books as your library card will allow. Have your life-entrusted individual pick the books up for you, reminding him or her to clear out the car's backseat to make sure there's room to transport the monstrous load. Books will be your most loyal (well, most available and justifiable) companions for the duration of your illness, as even your errand-runner / life-saver will need to get out of the sickhouse for a few hours at a time. You cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, expect them to stay indoors with you at all times, because your health and life as you know it may depend on their ability to survive their term of service with you. Let them be free.

ix) This rule is impossible to fix after you've realized sickness, so it is probably of no use for me to include (except, perhaps, as a rule for preemptive measure), but be sure your place of employ, whatever it may be, is kind and is flexible and is patient. This will ensure you still have employment upon the completion of your situation, and may mean that flowers are ordered and sent to you, as well as caring coworkers and a caring boss who, not call only to find out when you will be well (this is difficult to answer, anyway) and when they'll be relieved of the inconvenience brought to them via your illness, but will actually and factually show their sincere care and concern for your condition by calling or emailing just to say so. When this happens, you know you've got a good thing going for you, which will possibly be cause for you to even be excited to return to work. It is often in times of distress that you find out the true colours of your associates and compadres, and it is most pleasant and reassuring to find that their colours are pleasing to your heart's eye.

x) Remember that this is not the end of the world as you know it, and proceed to break out in song as often as you feel necessary and/or appropriate. Singing lifts the spirits so!

xi) Keep plenty of brandy or whiskey on hand at all times for hot toddies, or on the rocks (the whiskey; of course I don't mean the brandy, you heathen).

xii) Be happy! You've been removed from responsibility to the outside world, thereby enabling you simply be, in the quiet of your own home. Take joy in this solitude, for it will not come along often. You've actually got a solid deal on your hands for a possibly jolly good (albeit lacking in late-night dance sessions) time.


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