On being sick in Chile. And I hope you never are.
I have spent the last two days in stop-animation. Move, freeze in position (bundled to the teeth and under all the blankets) for an hour or three, then move again, occasionally shuffling to the kitchen to make some juice (good thing I bought all that juiceable produce on Sunday, did I know this was going to happen?), freeze in position again. In between I have been sweating to beat the band, freezing, listening to a low crackle in my breathing and wondering if this means I should go to the doctor (it’s gone now, so I think the answer is no).
This all started with the visit to see a friend, her child and the child’s grandmother, all of whom I like very much. However, two of the three people I went to visit were suffering from some kind of ick, and if I learn one thing from this experience, may it be the following: When I am told “we’re not going out today because the tiny adorable toddler is feeling a little off, but you can come here,” I must run screaming, and not get on the metro to go visit them, little tow-headed toddler with adorable expressions such as “boca ow” (my mouth hurts) notwithstanding.
I’ve had a lot of time to think, and in between kitchen shuffling (yesterday I was able to eat rice, rice I tell you!), I’ve had a lot of time to think about what I had/have. In the US, I’d say I was “sick.” What do you have, friends would ask, and I’d say, I don’t know, something with fever. And we would all go on our merry way, and they would alcohol gel their hands on their way out of the house. (And I am not making fun of you at all Nathan, though I still have to look of those pictures of you in the giant hamster ball, and then I might, a little)
Anyway, back to the descriptions of sick. Not so in Chile. People want to know if I have “gripe” or “influenza.” First of all, gripe looks like the word grippe, which reminds me of frappé, but less frothy (oh, but I could have a frosty decaf coffee drink, doesn’t that sound amazing). It also reminds me of the word catarrh, which is to say, these are French words you see written down, but you never really say (if you were born after about 1950. Influenza seems like a specific virus, not just what you should call a serious cold.
Anyway, words. Love them.
So I thought I’d put together some vocab on how to explain your illness if you’re wandering through Latin America and you find yourself suddenly seized with the desire for lots of horizontal, a whole bunch of water, and maybe just a touch of your momma to come and take care of you (but not bring you green jello, because eew, that was just not right).
resfrío- a cold
resfriado- adj, cold (estoy resfriado/a=I have a cold)
influenza- technically a specific virus, used in Chile sometimes for generalized sickness)
romadizo- nasal congestion
And now I leave you to your regularly-scheduled hopefully cold-free day. I have to do the laundry of doom and take a long-awaited shower and make more juice. I’m on the upswing but gripe or influenza, this thing just isn’t quite over yet. Qué lata! (what a bummer)
Hope you’re feeling better Eileen! (And since you’ve had the wherewithal to write about it, I suppose you are). Good list!
For the record, according to RAE, gripe and influenza are both flu. Gripe from French (grippe)and influenza from Italian, although here in Chile, everyone thinks gripe is a bad cold–which, apparently, is really catarro–and they always say they have that and the preference is to take antibiotics for everything anyway.
I bet your list could get much larger if you start looking for ways to say “under the weather” and such.
And ¡que te mejores pronto!
thanks Margaret! But people here think influenza and gripe are different. What do I know. I do know that I’m not particularly constipado (which I know you know means congested!), which is a real blessing, because well, I hate that.
Feel better! I always think that chileans have such fancy names for sicknesses…like rinosinusitis and faringitis…much fancier than a cold and sore throat.
thanks abby. And yes, crazy names. All we really need to do is stay in bed! (or hacer cama, as I learned yesterday, but I thought it was guardar cama). I’m (a bit) on the mend. Enough so that I can write whole paragraphs that I believe make sense (though you never know).
hope you feel better! these chilean winters can be the worst for your immune system. In my experience, chileans always use “resfriado” for almost any type of sickness even when its not a cold and i always thought that was kinda funny.
As my friend who I went to the cemetary with on Monday said. “do you think you got sick because you were hanging out in the cold when you already felt feverish?”
Why yes, friend. I think that is the case. So mea culpa, but still what a slam down! Thanks for your sympaty Catherine. I do think I’m on the mend, if we’re judging by the following criteria 1. ability to remain vertical 2. ability to type full sentences 3. interest in consuming edible things.
Hope you stay well!
Get better soon! I was going to say the same Margaret did, influenza and gripe are the same as the flu, at least here in Temuco. And in the never ending marvels of the south, when we have a sore throat, or a cold, we use this magic potion: lemon juice (natural, not that stuff from the market xD), honey and beer.
The lemon juice is a C vitamin punch, the honey is a good natural antiseptic, and the beer, used with caution, helps you sweat the flu, combined with the other ingredients.
Or, you can use a Tapsin día/noche, and get similar results, but not nearly as fun as the austral recipe =)
I am a big fan of a michelada (beer plus lemon juice and hot sauce, like tabasco, or merquén and black pepper), but the night I got sick I was too ill to even go out and get that! So sad. In the end, I medicated myself with fresh juice made of lemons (the whole lemon, skin and all, carrots, apples and oranges. Oh and ginger. And the occasional drops of propylis in water.
I think I might live! Thanks for the southern recipe. I’ve never ever taken Tapsin! I kind of don’t believe in conventional meds for treating colds, unless it’s pseudephedrine, which takes away the congestion.
Uh-oh–I have now come down with this too! I was fine yesterday, felt icky this morning, and am ready to crawl into bed with my guatero right now!
What I like about Tapsin is that its lemony and hot–although I’ve always thought that a hot pisco sour would be even better (alcohol kills germs, right?)
you’re kidding! It slammed me like a TON of bricks. I hope you don’t get it, too. I haven’t tried Tapsin, but fresh juice saved me. Want me to bring some over? And Colin said I should have a hot pisco sour, as well. Get well, soon!
Is this what happens “por andar tan despechugada”? There have been some nasty bugs going around. I had one not too long ago, then the suegro, then the prima, now the marido–though his was short-lived and not too severe. Drink lots and get some rest and feel better soon!
Thanks, I am feeling much, much better. I have been awake since 8:30 this morning, as though I weren’t dying. So I guess I’m not. I feel that I have seriously paid my dues with this ick, and hope not to get another any time soon. I think I have to miss my weekend away, which bums me out, but if this thing comes back, it might kill me. And when did I andar despechugada? I wear a cuello half the time!
I have never seen your neck, but that is what people tell me when they see mine. And I am not crazy about having things around my neck, so…
I meant a cowl, cuello, neck warmer thing, not an actual neck. Was that clear? Anyway, people yell at me for going out with wet hair all the time, but I’m still pretty sure that doesn’t cause illness, despite 16.5 million chileans insisting to the contrary.
Sorry you caught the “ick,” Eileen. It sounds as though your variation was much more misery producing than E’s and mine. As always, I enjoyed seeing you, and I hope that you are feeling better.
Lorrey! good to see you over here! And yes the ick seems to have grown stronger through its carriers. I hope to have stopped it here, though. Great to see you, and hoping to count you among my people some day soon here in Chile! And as we keep on telling T, December’s not far off. Thanks for commenting!
Glad you are feeling better… Sounds like a particularly nasty flu bug… and yes children are cute rodents of disease – they pick up everything and spread it around! Avoid them at all costs 🙂
Well, it might have been the adorable toddler, or perhaps her lovely grandmother. In the end, everyone is better by now, and much happier for it. Thanks for the well-wishes and thanks for dropping by!
Yuck! Get better soon!
And yes, sick children are dangerous, very very dangerous. Steer clear at all costs of them and their home environments (they infect everything they touch, even more so than adults because they touch EVERYTHING).
and don’t forget, Kyle, half of what they touch, they touch with their mouths! All is well, finally, but I might just stay away next time, adorable cuteness be darned.
Resfrio = cold
Gripe = flu
Influenza = a particularly nasty virus that get babies in the hospital
Amigdalitis = swollen infected tonsils
Otitis = swollen/ infected ear canal
Resfrio just needs home reemedies, gripe will leave you alone on its own, you can i