8 Reasons Being Sick Isn't Sick In College

8 Reasons Being Sick Isn't Sick In College

I need my mom, blanket and cartoons.
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I had no time to prepare. I knew the inevitable was slowing approaching, even when I did everything in my power to avoid it. Last weekend was going beautifully, I work every day and was ready to make money on those double shifts. That is, until Saturday I wake up on my death bed. It was a full blown virus, one I hoped wouldn't last long. I drank a gallon of water, stocked up on soup, and popped vitamins like they were going out of style. I had hoped that would be enough, but sadly I woke up worse the following day. I was deciding between going to the hospital or working my 12-hour shift (as any college kid knows they really need that money).

Naturally, I chose to tough it out, giving myself the "you're not that sick, tough it up" pep talk. Boy, was I wrong. When Monday came, I fell asleep in every class and was seeing stars every time I walked. I was dehydrated, dazed, and dying. Whether you choose to stay in bed to sweat out the sickness or attend all five of your classes for the day, we can all agree one one thing; Being sick in college is a nightmare. When it comes to being away from college, here's how you'll feel when it comes to being sick.


1. You miss your mom.

Your number one person to run to when you're sick isn't there in college. You'll find yourself calling out her name while you're having hallucinations in bed from the five shots of NyQuil you tossed back. There will never come a day where you don't want your parents there to help take care of you while you're sick. Most of us (including myself) know pretty well if they don't take care of us when sick, no one will.

2. Simple tasks become difficult.

Getting out of bed? Can't. Want to brush your teeth? Dead. Find a t-shirt to wear? Struggle. Any simple everyday task feels like pulling teeth. You take one flight of stairs and you feel like you're about to tip over and pass out. Since when did being sick involve almost fainting from lack of energy?

3. Everything puts you to sleep.

Whether it's watching television, studying for your exam the following day, or checking social media, you'll likely pass out. When being sick, it's like your body forces you into a coma in order to revive itself from the virus that has taken over. Your immune system sometimes just needs a little R&R.

4. The loss of appetite.

You're used to being hungry every second of the day (being as you are a college student on a budget), That is, until you haven't moved all the day and the sight of anything remotely close to food has your stomach turning. You may not even have the flu, yet you feel like puking just from seeing food on the television. It's the biggest love/hate relationship you'll experience.

5. Question going home.

Is it worth driving four hours to have my mom take care of me? It just might be. Questioning driving home has crossed my mind numerous times while being sick. I just have to remind myself that being in a car for four hours while sick would make me more nauseated and stressed than I already am.

6. Hit pause on your social life.

You were planning on going out to see some friends tonight? *Your immune system laughs* as it decides to turn off for the evening and a wave of sickness consumes you. Whether you were just going to hang out and watch a movie or go grab dinner, and human interaction is put to a halt as you can't risk getting your friends sick.

7. Refuse to leave your room.

If you had plans, it's not like you'd actually want to go anyways. You barely made it out of your bed to get to your mandatory lecture today, how would you even begin to find the energy to make it through a night out on the town? You won't. So instead you heat up some soup and tea and lay in bed watching reruns of "Friends" and "One Tree Hill."

8. Feel victorious when you recover.

It's day four of being sick and you wake up with slightly less pounding in your head than the day before. You can also begin to breathe again you realize you no longer feel the need to blow your nose for some relief. Oh what a glorious day, you're finally recovering and you've never felt more alive. Why not decide to go out? We both know you'll wake up a few days later questioning why you didn't just let yourself fully recover anyways. It's a never ending cycle of being sick while in college.

Cover Image Credit: News Cult

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Yes, I Had A Stroke And I'm Only 20

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
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Recently, I read an article on Cosmo that was written by a woman that had a stroke at the ripe old age of 23. For those of you who don't know, that really doesn't happen. Young people don't have strokes. Some do, but it's so incredibly uncommon that it rarely crosses most people's minds. Her piece was really moving, and I related a lot -- because I had a stroke at 20.

It started as a simple headache. I didn't think much of it because I get headaches pretty often. At the time, I worked for my parents, and I texted my mom to tell her that I'd be late to work because of the pain. I had never experienced a headache like that, but I figured it still wasn't something to worry about. I went about my normal routine, and it steadily got worse. It got to the point that I literally threw up from the pain. My mom told me to take some Tylenol, but I couldn't get to our kitchen. I figured that since I was already in the bathroom, I would just take a shower and hope that the hot steam would relax my muscles, and get rid of my headache. So I turned the water on in the shower, and I waited for it to get hot.

At this point, I was sweating. I've never been that warm in my life. My head was still killing me. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, trying to at least cope with the pain. Finally, I decided that I needed to go to the hospital. I picked up my phone to call 911, but I couldn't see the screen. I couldn't read anything. I laid down on the floor and tried to swipe from the lock screen to the emergency call screen, but I couldn't even manage that. My fine motor skills were completely gone. My fingers wouldn't cooperate, even though I knew what buttons needed to be pressed. Instead of swiping to the emergency call screen, I threw my phone across the room. "Okay," I thought, "Large muscle groups are working. Small ones are not".

I tried getting up. That also wasn't happening. I was so unstable that I couldn't stay standing. I tried turning off the running water of the shower, but couldn't move the faucet. Eventually, I gave up on trying to move anywhere. "At what point do I just give up and lie on the floor until someone finds me?" That was the point. I ended up lying on the floor for two hours until my dad came home and found me.

During that two hours, I couldn't hear. My ears were roaring, not even ringing. I tried to yell, but I couldn't form a sentence. I was simply stuck, and couldn't do anything about it. I still had no idea what was going on.

When the ambulance finally got there, they put me on a stretcher and loaded me into the back. "Are you afraid of needles or anything?" asked one EMT. "Terrified," I responded, and she started an IV without hesitation. To this day, I don't know if that word actually came out of my mouth, but I'm so glad she started the IV. She started pumping pain medicine, but it didn't seem to be doing anything.

We got to the hospital, and the doctors there were going to treat me for a migraine and send me on my merry way. This was obviously not a migraine. When I could finally speak again, they kept asking if I was prone to migraines. "I've never had a migraine in my whole life," I would say. "Do you do any drugs?" they would ask. "No," I repeated over and over. At this point, I was fading in and out of consciousness, probably from the pain or the pain medicine.

At one point, I heard the doctors say that they couldn't handle whatever was wrong with me at our local hospital and that I would need to be flown somewhere. They decided on University of Maryland in Baltimore. My parents asked if I wanted them to wait with me or start driving, so I had them leave.

The helicopter arrived soon after, and I was loaded into it. 45 minutes later, I was in Baltimore. That was the last thing I remember. The next thing I remember was being in the hospital two weeks later. I had a drain in my head, a central port, and an IV. I honestly didn't know what had happened to me.

As it turns out, I was born with a blood vessel malformation called an AVM. Blood vessels and arteries are supposed to pass blood to one another smoothly, and mine simply weren't. I basically had a knot of blood vessels in my brain that had swelled and almost burst. There was fluid in my brain that wouldn't drain, which was why my head still hurt so bad. The doctors couldn't see through the blood and fluid to operate, so they were simply monitoring me at that point.

When they could finally see, they went in to embolize my aneurysm and try to kill the AVM. After a successful procedure, my headache was finally starting to subside. It had gone from a 10 on the pain scale (which I don't remember), to a 6 (which was when I had started to be conscious), and then down to a 2.

I went to rehab after I was discharged from the hospital, I went to rehab. There, I learned simple things like how to walk and balance, and we tested my fine motor skills to make sure that I could still play the flute. Rehab was both physically and emotionally difficult. I was constantly exhausted.

I still have a few lingering issues from the whole ordeal. I have a tremor in one hand, and I'm mostly deaf in one ear. I still get headaches sometimes, but that's just my brain getting used to regular blood flow. I sleep a lot and slur my words as I get tired. While I still have a few deficits, I'm lucky to even be alive.

Cover Image Credit: Neve McClymont

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5 Things Anxiety Has Prevented Me From Doing

I swear that on the inside, I am as outgoing as they come.

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On the inside, I want to be such an outgoing person. I want to talk to people and go out of my comfort zone–the whole nine yards. Sadly, I'm not like that, because anytime I start to be a little outgoing, a tiny voice in my head pulls me all the way back. And that tiny voice is named anxiety.

Here are a few things that voice has stopped me from doing.

1. Being in theatre 

I love to dance and sing and act out different scenes in movies... All in the comfort of my own bedroom at three in the morning. There have been so many times that I could have auditioned for "Rocky Horror" or "The Addam's Family," but something holds me back. And that something is a tiny little voice named anxiety.

2. Making friends 

I can't count how many times I have seen someone–or know of someone–and want to become their friend. But I can't even say "hi" because Mr. Anxiety has convinced me that they are going to think I am a freak of nature and laugh in my face. That being said, I have had the same classes with the same people since I started college, and I just started talking to them FOUR YEARS LATER.

3. Complimenting people

I love different, unique styles and think that people who dress differently are awesome. But I cannot bring myself to compliment someone's shoes because they may think I am a stalker or am obsessed with them. Thanks, little voice in my head.

4. Being a normal student 

I have failed exams because I can't bring myself to go to my professors for help. I sit through hour and 15-minute lectures with a full bladder because I don't want people to notice that I am getting up. I say that I didn't do my homework when I did, just so I won't have to talk in class. I can't be a normal college student because I am scared that everyone is judging me.

5. Expressing my opinion 

There have been so many times that my opinion could have saved me from wearing an ugly dress, gotten my group a better grade, or even stopped a fight, but I kept quiet. I don't say a word because what if people don't agree with me? What if they think it's dumb?

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