Day 1

25Aug09

Day 1:

10:00: Woke up. Why is it so bloody cold in my room? The roommates always turn on the air to Arctic-freezing level- I’ll just wear a coat until I have classes.

11:30: Walked out of the Crossing. Still cold. Went back to my room to fetch my yellow coat. That’s funny- no one else is wearing a coat. In fact, everyone is clothed in shorts, tanks and flip-flops…and here I am in a coat in 90-degree weather. Weird.

12:00: Women’s Studies Class. Wasn’t paying as close attention as I usually do in my favorite class of the semester. Actually, I was still having the chills so much that I pulled the zipper on my jacket as high as it would go. Also, I was feeling a bit light-headed and couldn’t concentrate on the slides or words that my teacher was saying. I was, however, most certainly giving the teacher the impression that I was bored, with my hand holding up my head at a 45-degree angle, when actually I was trying to fight against the pull of gravity that my head seemed to be going towards.

1:30: Was convinced by my friend to stop by the Student Health Center instead of class. Said friend left, however, at the door of the Health Center for fear of being plagued by the sickness of the 20 or more people sitting in the waiting room. The receptionist told me it was an expected hour or so wait. Joy.

The people here don’t seem that sick. I wonder if they think the same of me. Actually, judging by my rugged voice, my tired face, and the remaining yellow jacket, I probably am the sickest one here. Not really a reassuring thought. Neither is the CNN news report that just appeared on the room’s television that the Swine Flu epidemic is hitting high schools and universities all over America, but particularly the state of Kansas, of all places. Apparently CNN has not seen or heard of UNCW.

2:30: Finally got called by Nurse Kathy. She escorted me into a room, where she took my weight, blood pressure, and heart beat. Then came the temperature: 102.7.

“Oh my goodness,” exclaimed Nurse Kathy.

To which I thought, “Should have called my name sooner, huh?” She then rushed out and returned with two Tylenol and water, which I downed right there, and a mask, which I eyed distastefully.

“Do I have to wear that everywhere?” I said, pointing to the mask.

“Oh no! Just when you’re inside here,” chuckled Nurse Kathy, while tying on the mask over my nose and mouth. Lies. All lies.

Nurse Kathy then led me to another room with an actual doctor’s bed, while I hurried behind, trying not to get caught with a mask over my head. Then came Doctor Mary. I started to want Nurse Kathy back when Doctor Mary took some reading from my finger, and then told me to put the mask back on in a high pitched voice. She looked like she didn’t even want to touch me, not helping me put on the mask after I was obviously having trouble with it, and then scooting over some papers at me.

The first one was “What to do if you get flu-like symptoms,” to read at my own leisure. The second was a Doctor’s note that excused me from all classes until I get better. It also had listed:

1) Avoid all public contact until fever gone for 24 hours.

2) Aleve, 2 tablets in AM & PM for fever and aches.

3) Entex PSE Rx or 12 hour Mucinex and 12 hour decongest.

4) Antihistamine for cough and to stop mucus production.

5. Push fluids!

She even included that I would need my own thermometer to keep track of my fever, and a box of my own masks (since apparently they only last 20 minutes and you would need to reapply). The diagnosis read, “Influenza-like-Illness.” However, Doctor Mary said it was probably the H1N1 flu, otherwise known as the Swine Flu.

I took all this in pretty well, I thought, considering my own doctor was scared of my presence and I looked like a Japanese person right after the Atomic bomb hit Hiroshima. Doctor Mary then persisted to keep calling me “poor child” and that this was all so unfortunate to happen to me the first week of classes, all of which I needed no reminding.

According to Doctor Mary, there have been 30 cases of the flu just today, 70 cases within 3 days. It has been all over the freshmen dorm of Galloway (my old dorm last year), and the Honors dorm as well.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Doctor Mary.

She also told me that my temperature is the highest one that she has seen today. Take that Kansas.

3:00: Then came probably the worst part of the visit: the pharmacy. Not the fact that I had to get three different meds at the Health Center pharmacy, but that I had to do so with the mask still tied securely around my head, and the whole of the waiting room area that was exposed to see me as such. This, no doubt kicked my most embarrassing moment of having toilet paper hanging from my pants in the 7th grade, out the door. I just wouldn’t make any eye contact with anyone, and hope that no one would recognize me because after all, my face was 3/4 covered with a cotton mask.

Two girls came out to wait in line for the pharmacy as well, but once seeing the deathly creature that was me, backed a few feet away, then started to whisper and murmur with each other. I was having a similar response from the pharmacist, which if you are so frightened, why be a pharmacist? Once I packed all of my forms, receipts, and meds into my backpack, I ran out of the center, ripped that damn mask off, and rang up Bobby for a ride back to the Crossing.

3:30: Now comes the one factor that I absolutely hate the most about being sick: other people’s reactions. Some, like Bobby, are chill about the whole situation and don’t really give off the impression that he minds a victim of the Swine Flu riding in the passenger seat of his truck. He might say, “Now don’t start licking everything while I’m gone,” when he leaves me in the car, but it’s more laughable than hurtful.

Others–not so much. Once I got back to my room, and told my roommates that I did indeed have the flu, I was greeted with instinctive backing away, and comments like: “Why don’t you keep that cup you’re drinking for a few days,” or “I was way too close to you the other day!” and my all-time favorite: “Don’t touch me. ”

Okay, I understand the self-defensive/instinctive reasoning to think of yourself first, but none of these reactions make me feel any better, to say the very least. In fact, I think the best comparison to what I feel like at this moment, would have to the be the lepers that were pushed away from society in the movie “Ben-Hur.” Except, unlike them, I have not been relieved from my illness by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Lucky lepers.

4:00: Have written on the dry erase board on my door, “I have the flu- beware.” I figured if I were to be secluded, I’d do it on my own terms. Took my pills, put a bottle of water next to my head and then fell asleep. I don’t plan to wake up until morning.

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3 Responses to “Day 1”

  1. 1 Christine Wood

    Amber and Autumn told me you were sick with the Swine Flu/”dead”..I said we should write a really nice obituary for you in the paper πŸ™‚ Just kidding. Feel better soon!!

  2. 2 Wieland Van Miegroet

    I feel your pain trust me, I’m going back to Durham tonight cause I feel that bad and apparently its highly contagious.
    Oh well

  3. 3 Katie Eagle

    Lisa, this is absolutely delightful, besides the fact that you had to go through the embarrassment and sickness. It was comical and entertaining! Wonderful! Love you Lisa!! Keep up the great writing πŸ™‚ see ya at the pool.


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