I went from having an immune system made of steel to getting diagnosed three different ways throughout my first semester of college. Welcome to my shopping list of diagnoses that I accumulated within three months.
Sometimes Peeing Helps...
Sex is fun; it’s an exciting time, but have you ever forgotten to pee? I didn’t think anything of it until the next day when my bladder felt like it was locked on a five-minute timer. Obviously, that meant I was a track star that day who was constantly running to the bathroom stall. If that wasn’t painful enough, the lounge outside my room was filled with people, which meant that every time the five-minute timer of my bladder did go off, I was forced to come up with clever reasons for why I was constantly running to the bathroom. I filled three water bottles that night as an excuse to leave my room.
If humiliating myself in front of the audience outside my room wasn’t enough, I became increasingly late to all of my classes that week as well. Being late isn’t necessarily the end of the world, but it was enough for me to personally email my professor an apology for my lateness.
Looking back at it now, my painful bathroom marathon visits were clearly all UTI symptoms, but back then I was convinced it was because of the fruit water detoxes I was obsessed with. Imagine working in an office with a sixty-year-old woman and having her be the one to explain to you that it was probably a UTI you were experiencing and not a detox.
2. Mono is no joke...
Mono has always been that one mythical illness that I believed to be the equivalent of a scary ghost story in the medical world. When I was diagnosed with mono in my first semester, this illness suddenly became very real to me. “When I had mono my senior year I was bedridden for two months..” is what came to mind as I found myself experiencing cold sweats and nausea in the dining hall on campus. After remembering the unfortunate story I heard weeks prior about the time my friend was diagnosed with mono, it instantly occurred to me that I may have contracted it as well.
Mono had made my stomach into a boxing ring where every meal I ate was duking it out inside the confines of my body. Mono remains to be a mysterious illness with many myths surrounded by its diagnosis, but the rumor that mono causes you to have no energy is insanely true. My limbs and muscles felt sore from morning till night as if I was carrying around dead weight all day.
If being a stranger in my own body wasn’t enough, my “friends” were very quick to tell me that they were planning on avoiding me until the two month period of mono was over with. Having mono and talking to a guy was not a good mix, so, of course, I was counting down the days for my illness to be over with so it wouldn’t get in the way of my plans to visit him.
3. A Silent Diagnosis…
While I was on the final days of mono, my throat was in major pain by the end of the night to the point that the only solution was the antibiotics I was required to take daily before bed. As the number of antibiotics I had left began to dwindle, my sore throat had quickly gotten worse to the point that even medication couldn’t subdue the pain that kept me up at night.
During a trip to New York City, I was in serious pain so overwhelming that tears streamed down my face as I struggled to swallow and breathe when I went to bed. There I was in the city that never sleeps, literally, except it wasn’t as magical as the cliche seems. That night tears weren’t the only thing past my control; I began to cough up blood in the hotel’s bathroom sink.
The pain continued well after my mono diagnosis had ended but now I was suffering from vastly different symptoms. Weeks later and a few hours away from campus, I had officially lost my voice through the downhill slope of the crackling and coughing that emerged beforehand. Picture yourself at a McDonald’s drive-thru but the employee has lost her voice; by then it was pretty obvious that taking a trip to urgent care might be my best bet.
At urgent care, I had my final diagnosis, which was that I had nasal drip. What still makes me wonder, months later, is how surprised the doctors were to hear that my campus health center prescribed antibiotics for mono. Apparently, medication doesn’t cure mono. Who knows if I had mono at all or if I was just misdiagnosed...