I returned to Cayuga and a few days later I got a sore throat and my tonsils were swollen. I thought I’d better get them looked at, since I used to get tonsillitis often as a girl. So early the next morning, I trudged to the campus health center to see a doctor. They looked at my throat there, and my tonsils had patches of bluish stuff on them and they decided to quarantine me since I was the only one on campus with patches that color. I hadn’t even told my suitemates were I was going, and I wasn’t allowed to make phone calls. I was as good as kidnapped there. They started me on an antibiotic. Also, I needed my birth control pills or I was going to be big trouble since I had just had sex the past weekend. We had used a condom, but you never know. I begged the nurses to contact my suitemates, but they were less than friendly.
At least my bedside window had a lovely floor to ceiling view of the woods from the second floor of the modern health center and I could see the deer coming to feed at the fence. Towards evening, my suitemate Jan came with an overnight bag that had my birth control pills in it. I thanked her profusely and was so glad to see her. The nurse wouldn’t let her get too close though and she gave me a wave from the door. So there I sat for a few days. Swallowing became painful and difficult. The antibiotic didn’t seem to be working and they switched me to another one. The nurse wasn’t really bringing me my drugs on time. Okay, I know I am a stickler for things being on time, but it was getting to be about an hour late which I found hard to understand since I was right there in their fucking hospital, just a few steps away. I didn’t see what the problem was. It wasn’t like the place was full up with patients. I think there was only one other in the entire place.
One day, I got a roommate. I was so glad! Oh boy, someone to talk to. So, they moved her in and I couldn’t wait.
“Hi. I am Sue. I’ve got tonsillitis. What are you in for?”
“Look. I feel really sick and not like talking. Okay?”
Sheesh! There went that idea.
I was just so bored and I really had a craving for pizza. I was completely fed up with the nurses. So, against doctor’s orders and objections, I signed myself out. I walked back to my dorm and spoke with my suitemates. I asked them if they objected to my return with my bluish tonsils. Thank god they did not. We ordered pizza to celebrate.
I had missed about a week and a half of classes and had lots of work to make up.
In the meantime, we had morons pulling the fire alarms in our dorm in the middle of the night. No big deal you might say, but for us on the tenth floor, we had to walk the stairs all the way down, and then all the way back up. That happened three times. Twice with snow on the ground and the temps were in the teens.
Also, I experienced my first drugged beer when someone (who was it?) slipped me a mickey at a dorm party on my own floor. I heard the party and decided to go. It was just around the corner and I was welcomed in. Someone handed me a beer. I took one sip and felt woozy. I poured it out into the trash can full of ice where the keg was and headed back to my room.
I fell onto my bed and the room was spinning. I passed out about after ten horrible minutes of the spin cycle. That was from one sip. I can’t imagine what would have happened if I had drunk more.
I was just hitting my academic stride again, when I got a call from my mother saying that they had found a lump on her thyroid and she was going for more tests. I freaked out. She said all of the comforting things, like that her doctor told her that if you could choose to have cancer this is the organ you would pick and that she was going to the best institution. But just the word “cancer” made me freak out. I was raised to hear it as a death sentence.
She went for tests and they found it to be a “cold” or dead nodule. They scheduled surgery and removed half of her thyroid on the same day that I had an invertebrate biology exam. I could not be there for her surgery, which my brother did go to help her with, but was so upset that I asked to miss the exam. This was allowed. I took it later in oral form, but could not concentrate and only got a C. I felt I knew the material far better than that. Too bad the test counted for so much of my grade.
My brother stayed home with her to help with her recovery. (Her health has been fine since then.)
That was all it took to throw me off my stride again academically, and I only got a B+ in organic chemistry. I never did manage to see Zach again that semester and I had given up hope that I ever would. Had he lost interest in me?