Rose Richard

I woke up at 5:30 Tuesday morning and something wasn’t right. My body was sore and I ached in places I shouldn’t. I went about my routine anyway, thinking I was just having a fitness hangover (I was so badass Monday, doing bicep curls with five pound weights). I did my aerobic workout (also badass – walking for 20 minutes).

I went to University Studies, and I honestly thought the class was making me tired, because we were talking about some seriously deep stuff. Really.

I got home and my body said, “no.” No more movement. I would put my pajamas on and just go to bed. Something was terribly wrong. I was hot and thirsty and my body cried out for rest. I called my professors and left messages. I was deathly ill.

I slept most of the day. It wasn’t quality sleep. I would only sleep for about an hour and wake up for another. My sleep was troubled by dreams of President Bush and Disney characters.

My boyfriend came over right after work. He was worried. I was tired and my throat hurt. I couldn’t talk because my tonsils had swollen to the size of my throat. I was swallowing ibuprofen as often as the label on the bottle allowed, but it did little to make me feel better.

In the middle of the night, my temperature shot up over 100 degrees. My boyfriend and I peered down my throat and sure enough, there were white spots on my tonsils. I didn’t go to medical school or anything, but that’s a sign of strep throat. In the morning he dropped me off at Student Health Services. I almost cried because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it home, and I didn’t think I could take care of myself. Crying would have made everything worse.

The nurse was sympathetic, but she swabbed me twice because she screwed up the first one. That made me mad because it’s not exactly fun to have a wooden thing scrape across your already fiery raw throat. She confirmed my personal diagnosis of strep throat. I’d have to take antibiotics and avoid the general public for a few days. I was almost relieved. I hate it when I go in there and they don’t know what’s wrong with me.

I went home, took drugs and fell asleep. This sleep was less troubled. First my feet would tingle, then my legs would feel sleepy and the desire to sleep would just sweep through my body.

The next day I had no fever, but I was tired. There was no way I could attend class in this condition. So, I stayed home.

When I was little, my sister and I would accuse each other of faking it when the other stayed home sick, even if one of us had weeping pustules. “I’m not getting you a glass of water because you’re faking it!” Staying home sick meant a day of television and doing nothing, because our parents rarely stayed with us, unless we were deathly ill.

So, last week, I fell back on the old standby to entertain my sick (not faking it) self.

Daytime television is abysmal. On one hand, I could have watched CNN repeat itself endlessly or I could have watched soaps, but those make me stupid. My salvation came in the form of Animal Planet and The Learning Channel (TLC). Animal Planet is chock full of quality programming, mostly about dogs. I love dogs. I had to stop watching Animal Planet when some elderly gentleman had to put his collie to sleep. I’ve had collies my entire life. It was too sad. I cried so hard I had to change the channel.

TLC has all sorts of human interest stories during the day. My favorite happens to be “A Wedding Story.” I view it like a sporting event. I will jeer the bride and groom when they do moronic things (like a bride making groomsmen catch sheep on farm and tie bows around their necks so they look pretty for the wedding). I will scream epithets at selfish brides, or take notes for my future nuptials (note to self – no sheep).

TLC is one of the most progressive channels on television. I saw interracial couples getting married and same-sex couples having babies and people liked it. You’d see none of this on any of the major networks at any time. Of course, there’s Jerry Springer, but none of those people are functional or happy.

I would finish up the day by watching “Trading Spaces.” It’s a show where neighbors trade houses for two days and remodel a room. I love it when the people hate their new rooms. Once a lady cried she hated her new room so much.

Next time you become so ill that you can’t come to school, not even to turn in papers, you’re better off sleeping all day or making your boyfriend go to Blockbuster and getting “Legally Blonde.”