No one likes being sick and no one expects it to happen, especially away from home. But it does and if I am being honest, that first time not feeling great and not being in the comforts of your own room isn’t something anyone can prepare you for. However, I have experienced it first hand and have lived to tell the tale. So I here I go…
Once upon a time, on the tiptop of Grymes Hill, lived a freshman on the 12th floor of Harborview. For a few days, she had been feeling more tired than usual. She figured it was the fact she made the stupid decision of choosing all 8:00 AM classes and staying up to watch her Patriots make their way to the SuperBowl. (In the end, she discovered it wasn’t actually a poor decision.) She convinced herself that she just needed to drink more coffee and get used to being the stereotypical, sleep-deprived college student. Thus, she went on with her daily routines.
7:00 AM on a foggy Tuesday morning, she cracked an eye open in attempt to shut off the awful sound of an alarm clock. Rolling out of bed, she grabbed her face wash and tooth brush and headed to the bathroom. While she was trying to get rid of her unpleasant morning breath, she started to feel very faint. As she made her way back to her room, things started to look really fuzzy and then she couldn’t see anything at all. Waking up on the floor right in front of her door, she realized she had fainted and decoratively covered the floor in blood. Yet, she had no idea where the blood came from or how she got there. Yelling her roommate's name, she started to make her way towards her bed. As her wonderful roommate ran to get the RA, this freshman girl decided to have yet another meeting with the floor.
As she started to regain consciousness, more and more people decided to crowd in room 1202. Next thing she knew, EMT’s were asking her questions and all she wanted was a bottle of water. Ignoring the medical questions she truly didn’t care about, she called her mother to let her know she was being taken to the hospital but that everything was okay and she would call her later. That freshmen girl that had an unfortunate exit in an ambulance on a Tuesday morning, was me, Winona.
For starters, those childhood dreams of riding in a firetruck or ambulance, quickly faded as all I wanted was my bed and my mom. My roommate gladly came with me, holding my hand every step of the way as she understood my fear of hospitals and needles. The EMT’s were extremely nice and didn’t even discredit my Patriot pajamas because they understood the Patriots were going to win it all. (I am allowed to have bragging rights because they did end up winning it all.) Anyway, I was placed in the Pediatric Unit with monkeys on the walls and high quality services. Five hours, six stitches, multiple tests, one CT scan, and way too many questions later, I made my way back to Wagner College by a lovely Uber driver who even stopped at CVS so I could pick up medicine. When I was at the hospital, I had a Wagner College student working on me which was really cool and also helped me feel a little safer. If anyone knows her name, I would greatly appreciate it because I really need to thank her for not punching me in the face every time I pulled away as she tried to give me an IV. There was no McDreamy or McSteamy, but everyone was friendly and considerate at Staten Island University Hospital.
When I arrived back on campus, I slowly made my way to Health Services in order to file the paperwork as well as figure out what my next step was. The doctors who work in Wagner College’s health services are extremely comforting and kind. While the hospital did not find a reason for fainting, Dr. Oberfeldt suggested that I go home and get tested for Mono at my pediatrician's office because that's where the tests will come back faster and more accurate.
So I did exactly that. Waiting for my dad to come pick me up from campus, my lovely roommate’s parents surprised me with a delicious Edible Arrangement. A few hours later, I was tucked into my bed back in Connecticut, in the comforts of my own home.
The next day I discovered that I did actually have Mono, a disease that goes away on its own over a long period of time. After a week at home, with lots and lots of rest, I decided to try to come back to school. Health services was so helpful in contacting my professors and making sure that my health came before my work. It has now been a little over a month since I blessed my face with a lovely scar and I have learned lots from my first time being sick away from home.
- It will be okay. Regardless of if you head home or brave staying at school, you will get better.
- You are not meant to look good when you are sick or taken to the hospital. Embrace it. (Please know I don't always look as grimmey as I do in these photos.)
- Health Services is not meant to scare you. It is okay to go there often and to constantly make sure you are healthy. They will become your friends, especially if you have Mono and have to visit often. College is a bunch of young adults so staying healthy can be hard, but it is possible. They even have a pharmacy service that can deliver your medicine right to campus and save you the taxi drive.
- Hospitals aren’t as awful as they seem, neither are needles. Granted, I still have an extreme fear and need a colorful bandaid each time I get a shot. But I realize now, it was better to brave stitches than refuse and let it heal on its own.
- Sometimes you need a little extra help, even as an adult. Taking time for yourself to lie in bed and not over exert yourself is needed, whether you have Mono or not.
- I will always want my mom and dad when I am sick. But I have conquered the first time away from home with the help of my friends and the services at Wagner College.
- Scars are a story and a great conversation starter, especially with that cute guy (or gal) you’ve always had an eye on.
- The Patriots are capable of anything and not everyone in New York hates them.
- You will survive. I did, everyone before me has, and you can too.