I used to get sick in college every month from living on campus without taking enough reasonable precautions, like eating oranges or turning door handles with only my elbows or no longer speaking to other freshmen. I’m a junior now, and you may have less sympathy for me this season. This time, I’m pretty sure a primary reason I got sick was my voluntarily standing out in a cold front waiting in line for one free pancake at a brunch fest on Sunday.
(Not much of a story to that beyond 1 long line, 1 pancake-flipping employee, 1 griddle, and my endless stupidity. The pancake was a fluffy delight, which doesn’t make my choice right but hopefully makes it understandable.)
I went to the gym with TDM that night with the intent of working off my gluttony but the reality of me whining even more than usual and him ignoring my professed incompetency. We headed back after two hours, exhausted and ready for sleep. Then my head hit the pillow.
I felt a jolt to my consciousness. My eyes snapped open in sudden alertness. My nose began leaking onto the pillowcase. I struggled to find a position in which I could sleep without danger of asphyxiating on my snot. There was none. My temples pulsed.
Four times, I tried getting out of bed and working on test reviews for two exams before returning, to no avail. The fifth time, I pulled out my medicine box, the name of which is misleading because it implies that I possess foresight. The “medicine” inside consists of a tube of Airborne tablets and whatever leftover medication I have from previous illnesses.
For example, I had nasal spray from the time I had ringing ears due to cold congestion. It had expired four months ago. I rolled the bottle around in my fingers, thought about it, and squirted three sprays in each nostril.
The sniffling got worse. Either this was the first case of an accurate expiry date or I shouldn’t have used a decongestant on a runny nose—something tells me it’s the latter. I continued suffering until 4AM, which is when I finally fell asleep only to wake up again at 7AM.
I blundered through the next few days in a haze. Classes were excruciatingly long. I spaced out in the Target medicine aisle for a good ten minutes. The strong winds outside (still in the cold front) made walking practically impossible.
Me: I’m… sick.
Friend: You look sick.
On Tuesday, I was telling Friend 2 about how I’d gone to the gym after my morning class and just sat for an hour on a bench in the locker room, just facing the walls and staring at nothing.
Friend 2: Why haven’t you skipped class?
I want to say another reason but I just hadn’t even considered doing so. Going home that day, I looked up my symptoms. Sweating. Chills. Headache. Muscle aches. Loss of appetite. Dehydration. General weakness. I had a flu, it seemed, as well as a case of exacerbated idiocy.
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