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Living alone when you're sick. How do you feed yourself?

Today I was diagnosed with pneumonia. Started an antibiotic and was referred to an ENT doctor.

Have had a recurrent sinus infection since July. Already took two courses of antibiotics. Frustrating. I'm usually very healthy. I'm an athlete, for heaven's sake!

That's why I was so slow while hiking last Tuesday. Not surprised I have pneumonia. Have been coughing hard, running a fever and feeling exhausted.

This morning, I started a big pot of chicken broth from frozen chicken bones I saved in the freezer. Broth simmered for five hours. The house smells wonderful.

Now I'm simmering chicken-vegetable-noodle soup with garlic, ginger and other herbs. Hooray!

Chicken vegetable soup: prescribed by mothers across the world.

LiterateHiker 9 Sep 20

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Before my current career I was a pretty good chef of 15 years. If I may offer some advice. Chicken broth only needs to cook for and hour unlike other stocks that need long times on the stove top. You can have a completely homemade chicken noodle soup ready to eat in 3 hours.

Cracking the bones helps too...


Interesting. I have been using The Joy of Cooking instructions for making chicken stock.

Martha Stewart advises cooking chicken stock for four hours.

@LiterateHiker they are not wrong, but it’s not necessary. Joy of cooking is a wonderful book and far be it from me to argue against Martha.
However it isn’t necessary.

I put all my ingredients in cold water and bring them to a boil. Turn it to a soft boil for an hour. Strain the stock and put it back on the stove. Debone the chicken and cut up the bones. Put the bones back in the stock and bring back up to a boil. Reduce to a soft boil again and keep replacing lost liquid with cold water. Typically it is best to cool over night.

I’m not saying my way is right or the only way. It was just how I was trained. If you love your version then certainly don’t change it. I’m sure it’s wonderful. I am just offering a way to help you speed up the process if you like. I skip the cool down, but I shouldn’t.
Bon appetite!


Thank you so much! I learn something every day. I appreciate your help. Kathleen


I always have a pot of chicken soup in my freezer, for just such an occasion. Get well. 😀

Great advice! I am on it!

Yup next time I make "The soup" some will be frozen and marked "In case of emergency". Good plan.


If really sick, Grubhub!


I know this can be a bummer. You have friends that will go hiking with you why don't they come to your aid? I am an introvert and sometimes lack social graces. But, I am the first to help another when they are in need and do so often. That is what friends are for and it will come back to you. One friend came by the house every night for 2 weeks to wash my dishes (since my accident I am not supposed to get my left hand wet - but that changed yesterday as 2 pins came out - yay). People have brought me food and offered to do other chores (in the beginning, one guy, he is married, even offered to help bath me. He said he did that for our friend in his later stages of Parkinson's). Of course it is a lot easier here but one needs to cultivate friendships. Too bad you virtual fans can't send you virtual wellness.


My hiking partners are all married. It doesn't occur to them to help me.

You're lucky to have friend who helped you. Two of my best friends are out of town for a week. If they were here, they would help me.

@LiterateHiker That's good. However, it is not just luck; it is work and caring. Many of my friends are married too. True, central Wash. is different than the coastal islands.
BTW, waiting for the ferry yesterday I spoke to a friend (our age) who told me he had to be flown off island to island hospital in Anacortes. That hospital couldn't help him and he was given a long, very expensive ambulance ride to Bellingham. He had pneumonia and the virus spread to his heart. It was serious but caught in time.


If I were alone and sick, I would call for delivery which is the easiest way of feeding yourself, especially nowadays with a myriad of choices, including Uber Eats, Chinese, pizza, etc.


😟 So far, since I have lived alone, I have not been sick enough not to be able to feed myself.

I hope that you are soon well!


Last time I was really sick was some years back, I was home for a week with the flu. I lived on hot tea and chicken soup and collected a stack of used tea cups/mugs because I was too tired to wash them. It was the middle of the winter too so I just decided to batten down and hibernate. Mainly stayed in bed with the TV remote and a huge box of tissues. I was so delighted when I could eat solid food again, I made myself a poached egg on toast and savored every bite.


I am 81 years old, Single for 50 years, have lived alone for over 40 years and have never been so sick, or lame, that I could not get up, move around, feed and take care of myself.


Do not mess around with pneumonia. Take the best care of yourself possible and DO NOT exhaust yourself doing stuff you can let wait. Stay hydrated also.


Stay hydrated.

Spirulina supplies many nutrients we need. You can keep enough to feed you for a week or more in a half gallon milk container without refrigeration.

Dried fruits and vegetables are easy, when you feel bad; yet, they are good for you.

If you are mobile, you know what to do.


I cook in batches so I can pop things in the freezer & have a few days of food in the fridge. When I make soups or stews in large batches, I can a few pints to put up. I keep protein shakes in the house for grab & go. When I am sick, I have friends who are out here like a flash or who take me to their house where they can keep an eye on me (if they leave me home, they know I will try to do chores).


I just go buy food


Wow that sounds good. Care to share a sample ?


TV dinners and Stouffer's chicken pot pies


Sounds like you have the art of cooking down to a science. Hope you quickly restore yourself to the state of great health.


Thank you. The soup is simmering on the stove to cook the vegetables. I saute the vegetables first, to increase the flavor and speed cooking.

So far, homemade chicken broth, garlic, onions, ginger, carrots, celery and whole wheat noodles. Herbs and spices. Will add green beans and chicken toward the end.

I want the chicken to be tender, not rubbery from overcooking.

@LiterateHiker That is going to be wonderful. Do you make large quantities then freeze portions for later re-heat?


Absolutely. When I cook, I make a "shitload," a technical cooking term. I freeze two-serving portions of soup in stacked, plastic containers.


being disabled, i get some services from the county, and one of them is mom's meals (like meals on wheels). i keep them in the freezer. i eat them for breakfast but if i am sick enough and have to ask my guy, who can't cook, and has alzheimer's, to feed me, i just ask him for a mom's meal. he can heat it in the microwave. it's not gourmet dining but it is better than starving and it's better than fast food.



I usually just order soup from the local Asian restaurants. Miso, wonton, Tom Yum are all good. Three places by me let you order online which is outstanding. It's a lifesaver.


I'm very fortuate to have a daughter who took me in after my better half died and I was suffering from cancer. I do not know how I would have survived without her help. I can no longer work like I used to and am sick all the time. I'm getting better but the side effects are keeping me down. So I love her so much. I don't know how I could do this alone.


I just open a can. Hope you now have a speedy recovery.


OMG. Listen up, LH. Take it from old Dr. Don. The absolute first question you should ask yourself is "How did I get pneumonia?" That's because once it's cured you will assume you will never get it again. Most people who get pneumonia 😇 haven't had a pneumonia vaccine, 🍺 have ignored some kind of upper respiratory infection for a long time ☕ Think they are invincible and therefore do not slow down when they should. 🍸 Always object when somebody infers that they aren't taking the absolute BEST care of themselves. Any one you know sound like this, LH? The reality is pneumonia can kill you dead as fried chicken. Anyone considering maintaining their hiking schedule with an infection is not taking care of themselves. Athlete or not. SO: Stay hydrated and REST! Antibiotics have no effect on viral pneumonia. Unless you are an active AIDS patient the odds are overwhelming that it is viral. Stay Hydrated and REST, REST, REST!!! And don't fucking DIE. (My patients all loved me)

Twenty years ago, I got the pneumonia vaccine. Updated it in 2016.

Love your response! Thank you, Dr. Don.

You're right: I have a "mind over body" approach to injuries and illnesses. Idiot. I think I'm so healthy and tough. Slap me upside the head.

"It's not good to ignore your body," the doctor said this morning. He was right. So are you.

@LiterateHiker 35,000 patient visits says I'm right. You can mail me the fee.

@LiterateHiker By the way, all the various suggestions listed below are basically good. You should not worry too much about what you are eating so long as it's reasonably nutritious. Don't mega dose on ANYTHING! No cleanses, No harsh food, No extreme diets. Be easy and caring to yourself and REST!! Wait out the improvement. Time to read, watch movies, relax and get better.


I have 3 partnered adult children within 30 miles of where I live. If I get sick I can text any or all of them and tell them I need help and it will be there. Usually I have one of them checking in with me about midweek as it is.


Sorry to hear about this latest development. The gang seem have a load of good suggestions. get well soon 🙂


Hope you get well soon. I was really sick a few months ago and thought it was the flu. I could barely get out of bed; couldn't sleep due to shaking, sweating, and having nausea/vomiting all throughout the night. I remember all I could make myself eat were a few small pieces of canned pears. It sucked.

Do the best you can to take care of yourself


You need a Witness to Your Life.


So sorry to hear it, hope you feel better soon. I am a bone-broth advocate, so you are off to a good start.

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