I went to the Student Health Center the other day. By my senior year, I’ve discovered that the best tactic, for me anyway, is to go when you have a block of time, at least a few hours, and bring something to read/study so you won’t be bored stiff.
Before I continue, I should specify, in case there was ever any doubt: I am a social science major. I am not pre-med. I am no expert, and given my diet and exercise regime, it’s a miracle that I’ve survived this long-Darwin is rolling in his grave, and any day I’m waiting for natural selection and the Grim Reaper to knock at my door and laugh hysterically at my bewildered/surprised look. And if you haven’t already noticed, I’m also really good at sticking my foot in my mouth-so I don’t take my medical conjectures seriously and neither should you.
I was very concerned this time, because I thought I had appendicitis or something-and yes, I do watch Grey’s Anatomy, and yes, sitcoms are the source of most of my medical knowledge. Anyway, it wasn’t as serious as I thought it was, so I screamed “Hallelujah!” and left it at that.
She said it so confidently, that I was comforted enough and went on my merry way. I took that to mean, “You’ll be fine, it’s nothing to worry about.” It later occurred to me, however, that Ebola and HIV are also viruses, at which point I realized that I had misinterpreted the confidence. It wasn’t a “you’ll survive” assurance so much as a “it’s not bacterial, so there’s nothing we can do about it” dismissal.
Seriously, I figure when she examined me, looking down my throat she would have noticed if my internal organs were liquefying, or some other slight abnormality, but given some of the diagnoses I’ve been given in the past, I have my doubts. For instance, I once told them I was dizzy, and they told me I had vertigo (really, a fancy medical term for “dizzy”). Another time I went in with a cold, and looked at the “unless there is evidence of a bacterial infection, you should NOT use antibiotics!” brochure while I was waiting for the doctor. She told me I had a cold, and that she would prescribe me an antibiotic. I asked her if there was evidence of a bacterial infection, and she effectively said, “No, definitely not, but have some just in case, for shits and giggles!”
I went out to dinner with a friend of mine soon after that. She said, “Have you been eating much? Because if you don’t eat much, your stomach will act up like that.” I told her I haven’t been eating much of anything recently, lending credence to her diagnosis.
Then I started eating more, and my stomach’s settled down. I’m so glad I wasted my time at the health center. Next time I’ll just go to my friend instead.
Bethany Quinn is a senior majoring in Latin American studies and photography. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org