As I’ve discussed on this blog before, MIT MedLinks are awesome. Got a headache? Have some Tylenol! Stuffy nose and a cough that just won’t go away? Sudafed, Robitussin, pick one! Hey, have both! Sprained your ankle? Hold on, I’ll wrap you up with an Ace bandage before we hop on over to Medical!
One drawback to the program, however, is that you don’t really get to know other MedLinks very well. After training, you see them at the Registration Day meeting and Continuing Education sessions (like last night’s session with a psychologist and a social worker from MIT Mental Health Services) and the like, but it’s not like when a sick students can choose to go to any available MedLink for help. When MedLinks are sick, they MedLink themselves. (What do you expect me to do – go down the hall to Carlos ’09 and say, “What up? I’m sick, so excuse me while I ignore the box o’ meds under my bed and see if you can hook me up…”) Of course, this eliminates the chances of getting a second opinion, and most people are quick to say that they’re just fine.
In fact, if there’s anyone who’s ever been fine, it’s me. See, I have not been sick in over a year. The last time I felt the compulsion to sniiffle, sneeze, and cough my way through the day while my throat felt like raw hamburger was my senior year, when I had to convince my mom that no, this wasn’t due to senioritis or my loathing of AP Stats and yes, I would go see my doctor if she deemed it necessary.
So when I woke up on Sunday morning and could barely talk, I immediately started taking care of myself. Hello, throat lozenges. Thank you for getting me through the MedLinks election meeting. As for you, Sudafed? Muchos gracias for your amazing powers of decongestion. I hope I didn’t sound like too much of an idiot while answering questions about why I’d make a great Membership Coordinator, seeing as my brain’s too fuzzy to come up with appropriate responses to anything. (Hey, I still won…)
I started feeling increasingly worse during the week, so I did precisely what one should never do in situations like these and ignored it. (For the most part, that is – I was still drugging myself with everything useful from my handy MedLink kit of over-the-counter medications.) My sore throat and congestion continued into a fourth day, which was past the “go to MIT Medical after three days of symptoms without improvement” rule. At this point, I experienced a return of everyone-but-me syndrome, where I decide that hard-and-fast rules and statements apply to everyone but me. If it worked in PreCalc (“The test grades were horrible!” Yeah, everyone’s but mine… “Every single one of you needs to go home and review this until you understand it!” Everyone but me, right?) (Okay, so this didn’t actually work in PreCalc, since math is not my friend), then it would work here, and the test and quiz I had scheduled for today needed to take prevalence over some pesky cough.
Remember the whole “no sick for me in over a year” thing? Yeah, about that – when something brings me down, it is never, ever little. I felt like I’d been run over by a truck. A very large, very fast-moving truck. Even so, getting screwed by 8.02 is like being hit by a train that is much bigger and moving far faster than any disease-carrying truck, so 8.02 won this one.
After sleeping for eleven hours and feeling even worse when I woke up this morning, though, enough was enough. I went to 24.900, most likely failed my quiz, and trudged across the street to MIT Medical. Sitting in the waiting room of Urgent Care, a triage nurse came out and said, “Yoshimi? You can come in, please.” As a middle-aged Asian woman stood up and followed the nurse, all that ran through my head for about an hour afterwards was, “Oh Yoshimi, they don’t believe me, but you won’t let those robots beat me…”
If the Flaming Lips don’t get you through the day, nothing will. Really. It’s true. It’s been scientifically proven and everything.
Two hours later, after waiting in an exam room and wishing I were dead or passed out or both, a very nice nurse practitioner told me that a virus has decided to take up residence in my body. “You’ve been underdosing yourself – you can up the Sudafed to 2 30mg pills every six hours, and I suggest you drink about three liters of fluid a day. Since it’s a virus, you’ll probably have to ride it out for the next few days, but you should definitely come back here if you get any worse. In the meantime, you should get as much rest as possible. Is there any way you can take a break for the next few days?”
I thought about my test later this evening and the two problem sets due tomorrow.
“Um, maybe I can talk to Student Support Services and see if I can get an extension on the homework, but…”
I’m off to drug myself and go to sleep for the rest of the day. Until 7:30, 8.02. You will not beat me. Just like robots and Yoshimi.