taking your health in control

Learning to Take your Health Into your own Hands as a Teen

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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.

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'Endgame' May Be Here But I'm Not Emotionally Prepared

And none of us are prepared.

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By the time this article goes up, Avengers Endgame may well be in theaters. Since pretty much every one of my favorite characters died almost exactly one year ago, I have been desperately waiting to know their fates and the fates of the living.

And I've just realized that I am not ready to watch this movie.

I'm not ready for any more deaths. I'm not ready for Chris Evans' last movie. I'm not ready to watch Hawkeye, my favorite Avenger, lose his family. There is so much that I am not ready for, and yet it is here anyway. There is no more waiting, and this is perhaps the most emotional I have ever felt about any movie franchise ever. (I say movie and not cinematic because there are shows that I am just as emotionally invested in.)

A lot of people think that it is stupid, to become invested in and identify with fictional characters. But the thing is, people have been immersing themselves into stories and characters for hundreds of years. Sometimes, imagination is the best place to go when things in life are not going the way we want.

For some of us, it is comforting to see that, in a fantasy world, even the protagonist's life and adventures do not always go right. Sometimes, things for them go terribly wrong, just as things do for us. At least for me, watching a tragedy unfold on television is comforting even as I wish that everything would end happily.

It's comforting because real life does not always have a happy ending. So it's nice when an alternate universe in which superheroes exist has that happy ending, but the tragedy along the way is not something I'm opposed to. And if the ending is not necessarily happy, but bittersweet, then I accept that as well.

I am not prepared for Endgame, but as much as I know I'm going to cry while I watch it, it will still be good to lose myself in another world for a little while. Life is stressful, and sometimes it's nice to just forget about my own troubles and watch someone else's, fictional as they are.

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You Know You're From Trumbull, CT When...

The best memories are made in this boring, little, Connecticut town.

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1. The majority of places you will consider to eat at are in Fairfield or Westport... Colony, Shake Shack, Country Cow, Playa Bowls, BarTaco

2. But if you find yourself too lazy to get on 95 for food, Panchero's is the go-to... never Chipotle. If it is past midnight, the choice always comes down to the McDonalds in Monroe, where you are almost guaranteed to see a group of people you know, or Merritt Canteen.

3. Once you got your license, your Friday night plans consisted of picking up friends, driving up and down Main Street, and, somehow, always finding yourself at the THS parking lot seeing who's car is there because there is nothing better to do.

4. In the Fall, you couldn't wait for Friday so that after school you and half of your grade could walk to Plasko's Farm for ice cream and apple cider donuts... and hope you could get them before the owners would yell at you to leave. (This one only applies to Hillcrest Middle School kids, AKA the inferior middle school in town).

5. You couldn't wait to be a senior so you could officially lead the BLACK HOLE at football games... if you were even willing to go in the cold.

6. You looked forward to the annual Senior Scav, the last week of summer before your senior year where a list of tasks is passed down by the recently graduated class... the official kickoff to senior year.

7. You pass by Country Club Rd. and get flashbacks from the worst Cross Country practices ever. Driving up Daniels Farm Rd. in the Fall and Spring, you are conditioned to yell "hi" out the window to your friends at practice.

8. You knew someone who worked at Gene's gas station... and found yourself spending more time there on the weekends than you would like to admit.

9. You are convinced Melon-heads are real after frequenting Velvet St. to see the abandoned insane asylum with your friends, IF you didn't want to drive all the way up to Fairfield Hills in Newtown.

10. You have had/have been to at least one middle school birthday party at the Trumbull Marriott.

11. You know that the 25mph speed limit on Whitney Ave. is way too slow... and can't help but hit a little air going down the huge hill at the top.

12. The guy at Towne likely knows your name.

13. You never find yourself turning right out of THS... that side of town is irrelevant for those who do not live there.

14. You know to avoid the Merrit Parkway from 4:00-7:00pm at all costs.

15. You know more than you would like to about people you aren't even friends with... in a town so small, things get around very quick.

16. Going shopping really means going to Target, or any store in the mall, for the millionth time that week.

17. The marching band was the best in the state and you would see them practicing, literally, every time you drove by THS.

19. Depending on the side of town you lived, you spent a lot of time at Five Pennies Park or Indian Ledge Park.

20. You would say you couldn't wait to leave, but when you got to college, you find yourself excited to come back to your hometown so you can reminisce on old traditions and make new memories.

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