Salt water: good for swimming & gargling

I didn’t have a stereotypical senior spring break to say the least. For one thing I was sober 97% of the time (gasp) and I was sick for 100% of the time.

I know. Sounds like it sucks.

The thing is, I could feel myself getting sick the week before. As soon as I felt that tickle in the back of my throat, I vowed to fight it off before I got to Punta Cana for my senior year spring break. But all my efforts failed. By the time I got to the airport, I had the worst sore throat in the world but the determination to kick my cold in the ass.

Before I got on my flight, I stole 30 salt packets from the Dunkin Donuts, praying it would last me a week (or less since I was also praying my sore throat would go away the next day). You can’t drink the tap water in punta (aka no warm water to gargle with) so I was stuck with cold bottled water which I tried to warm using the hairdryer in my hotel room (it worked as well as you think it would).

I took Advil around the clock, often stealing from my friends’ supply because mine ran out so quickly. I went through a pack of cough drops in about two days and even skipped going out with the group so I could get more sleep.

I texted my mom. We googled every home remedy there is. I tried them all, including some gross ways (I’ll spare you the details) and some unique ways (like eating marshmallows which were easier to find than I thought).

I prayed to Saint Blaise, the patron saint of throats (who knew there was a patron saint for throats? Danielle Sekerak, that’s who). I thought it would help. How could it not? I was doing all that I could.


Every day I woke up with a sore throat and every night I went to bed with one. I couldn’t really drink because alcohol burned too much and I couldn’t really stay out late because I knew I needed sleep. With all these factors, you would think I would have had the worst spring break ever.

But I didn’t.

Here’s the thing about being sick: I was so miserable with my throat that I made a conscious effort to focus on the little things to cheer me up: the thin layer of sunscreen that you can never really wash off, the feeling of soft velvety sand between your toes, the warmth of the sun and the bathtub temperature of the clear, teal ocean.

I read lots of books. I took lots of naps by the pool. My group played lots of cards and made lots of jokes. Every day my friends would ask how I was feeling and every day they would be patient when I told them about my newest remedy I was trying. They made me laugh and forget that I felt sick, and they truly made my week a perfect 10. (Well, 11 if you include me :p)

So I was sick for my senior spring break. I still had a ton of fun, and I have the memories and tan (read: mild sunburn) lines to prove it. Oh and my cold went away as soon as I got back to PA. Go figure.

Here’s to the punta crew & hopefully never gargling with salt water again.

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