Over winter break, I traveled to Connecticut to visit some of my college friends and see their hometowns I'd learned so much about over the past months. I stayed at my friend's house for three days before we started to prepare to go home the following day. At about 1:30 in the morning I woke up in a cold sweat, knowing that something wasn't right. I decided it was just indigestion and tried to force myself to go back to bed, believing I would feel better in the morning. Not even an hour later I threw myself out of bed and into the bathroom at a lightning pace. I won't bother with the gory details, but that bathroom became my best friend for the next 9 hours, only being able to lay on the bedroom floor for a half hour at a time. Everyone was sound asleep until my friends and one of their moms woke up and interrogated me about the events of the night. I continued to empty the contents of my stomach even when there was nothing left. Even though I wasn't able to keep any food or water down and my fever had peaked at 103.7, I was insistent that I was fine and no one should worry, although it was clear no one was at peace with the situation. I decided that it was time to do what was best for me and get the situation under control. I called my father and confirmed; it was time to go to the hospital. My friends escorted me to the emergency room, and I got myself checked in and into a room. Throughout my stay, I talked to five or six different nurses or doctors, most of whom didn't introduce themselves which didn't necessarily give me a sense of comfort. To sum up the visit, I was given something for my nausea and told to drink four cups of fluids, which I had been trying to down all morning. I was confused as to why drinking water at the hospital was different than drinking water at home, but I continued to drink anyways, putting my faith in the doctors who are supposed to know better than I. When I was discharged, it was without a clear diagnosis of what made me so sick and feeling like there was an ocean churning in my stomach, feeling only slightly better than when I was admitted.
Looking back on that day, I've realized what it really means to take control of your health, especially as I am transitioning into being a functioning adult in the real world. The first lesson I learned was that doctors know better than you, and there is no shame in going to the hospital or the doctor when the situation calls for it. Being away from home, it was my decision whether or not to go to the emergency room, but I realized that no matter the cost it was more important for me to get checked out than for me to suffer, not wanting to make my parents pay the bill. The second thing I learned was that sometimes you need to stand up for yourself when you know the signs your body is giving you. The doctors that "treated" me at the hospital insisted that I just needed to drink even though I knew that water would have just prolonged my nausea. In retrospect, I should have insisted on IV fluids instead of making myself suffer.
You and you only know what your body needs, and it's your job to tell people how you're feeling so they can help you recover and heal. Furthermore, there's no shame in admitting you need help because people are more than happy to help you.