Sick on Trips; DIY Heating Pad

Food poisoning this time, not shingles; a relief of sorts and yet still terrifying. On the two -day road trip out to the midwest conference (in a van, with several students), I had a sudden and violent onset of “both ends” stomach explosion. We stopped four hours away from our first day’s destination and I quickly realized that I would not be able to manage another four hours in a vehicle. So I got a hotel room and the rest of the group (who were on a time hack the following day) left me to try and make their travel deadline.

In retrospect, it’s mildly terrifying to be alone in a hotel room in a strange city with zero transportation options and the closest person you know four to eight hours away. I should have been petrified. But I wasn’t petrified. I was so grateful for a bed and a private bathroom that I had no time to be petrified.

I may have actually told the bed “thank you” several times.

On a side note, I want to tell you about a trick I came up with a few years ago and have used several times (in a pinch) when a regular heating pad isn’t handy. My 36 hours in a random hotel room involved this “heating pad hack” and, when I was feeling better the next day, I was like, “I should tell people about this heating pad thing. It’s great.”

Two ingredients to this masterpiece. A towel, which hotels usually have on hand (hand towels work best, or you can use a t-shirt if no towels are handy) and a Ziploc bag.

diy heating pad | from sundriedtomatoe.wordpress.comdiy heating pad | from sundriedtomatoe.wordpress.comSide note: I pack all my random toiletries in gallon-sized Ziploc bags when I travel so I always have at least one or two on hand. Any watertight bag will do, however. You could use the ice-bucket bag.

Find a hot water source. In hotels, just use the bathroom sink. That water gets SCALDING HOT. Soak that towel in hot water. Wring it out so it’s just damp (I have to use a second towel for this to protect my hands so they don’t burn) and then fold neatly and seal in the Ziploc bag.

Viola. Heating pad.

If you have a microwave handy, double the awesomeness. Instead of potentially scalding your hands you can just dampen the towel, put it in the (microwave safe) Ziploc and heat in the microwave.

And re-heat as needed, which is really great when you’re trying to move as little as possible. 30 seconds in front of a microwave is way better than five minutes of finagling in the bathroom.

diy heating pad | from sundriedtomatoe.wordpress.comSomeday, when you’re out on the road and sick as a dog and just can’t muster up the resources or energy to go to a store to BUY a heating pad, you’ll remember this post. And thank me.

You’re welcome.

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