XXXIX. Symptoms Like to Mock -

You know those fish bowl - like contraptions that sit on top of astronaut’s shoulders and that encloses their head as though the head will occupy a space on some sort of mantle-like surface in the near future?

Don’t you feel like that when you’re sick?

I feel like that right now - as if every breath exerts a gargantuan amount of Krebs’ cycles. 

The nasal congestion, the runny nose, the vacant feeling in the stomach, the raspy voice, the heavy lids, and the weakness at the tips of my fingers that ache with each letter being thus typed -I’m sick.

If I go to the doctor nurse practitioner at Student Health Services, they’ll send me to CVS to buy cold medicine.

Here’s to running the course of this sickness - flying solo - hopefully to wake up tomorrow with a dried out nose and…

… Two days later -

Two days ago I woke up from a five-minute slumber only to find my astronaut-characteristic fish-bowl enclosed head on the non-sterilized keyboard of the computer in the campus’s main library.

I’m still sick - worse than the prior days in some ways and not in others. 



I saw a doctor for the first time after almost four completed years in college and left with the information that some water went into my lungs-

but, it’s not serious!

No antibiotics for you!

Oh, did you know that you heart makes a funny sound?

No… I didn’t know that. Are you sure?

Nothing serious though!


I trust medicine. Really, I do - that is why I left the physician’s office feeling more than satisfied.


He emphasized that I was on the tail-end of this sickness and had a virus.

Mom: Did he take blood work? No right? How could he know that you don’t have an infection!

That’s true….

Still, mom, the heartbeat thing- not serious - apparently a large percentage of the population has it- totally normal.

 Mom: If it’s not serious why did he mention it! He said all these things but didn’t prescribe you anything!

No, no he didn’t prescribe me anything.


How is it that when we finally decide to go to the doctor, our symptoms subside and/or disappear?

We walk into the clinical arena, ready to fight - we’re armed with information, questions, and a decided-upon description of our symptoms - as accurately as possible: We have tailored the diction to precisely map out our feeling-

It was a tingling; a fizzing of sorts…. Yes, all along here (furiously glides the air in front of the axis from the chest to the stomach). Right -

Wrong- all wrong. Why? The doctor smirks now.

He’s never heard of that one and he’s pretty sure that all your effort filtered into the finely tailored-description of how you’re feeling was a waste on your part.

In fact, he’s oblivious to the fact that you put any effort into articulating your suffering at all.

This is not the fault of medicine but the fault of our self-inflicted doubt, constant analysis, and normal dislike of being sick -

Mom: Go to the Emergency Room and get a blood test and x-rays of your chest.

Concluding point:

College – Being away from your kin is not as Ernest Gellner had described in Nations and Nationalism: equivalent to modernization and the benefit of mankind’s place in the future and intellectual development.

When in this temporary zone of nocturnal beings, we have no primary care physicians and are subjugated to spending a day in an Emergency Room to get adequate care.

Student Health Services was just a placebo - a compensation for our inability to feng shui our own dorm rooms, (what with candles being a fire hazard and all).

Here’s to 2 months, two weeks, and three days -