Monday, July 09, 2012

mano a mono

on the fourth of july i was frantically writing a long final paper that was due at 10:00 p.m. that evening. this is how you celebrate independence day when your america-loving texas university requires that teachers submit their grades by noon on july 5. i was feeling kind of achy but attributed it to sitting at my desk all day.

on thursday i was feeling weak and so made it a "low-key" day at work, keeping my door mostly closed, keeping my music quiet, and keeping to myself as i edited my video. friday was the same. as people would stop by, i'd explain that i wasn't feeling grouchy or antisocial, just mellow.

friday night, however, got bad. i woke up with terrible chills. hating the idea of leaving my meager-but-still-warm-ish bed, i weakly staggered to the living room to retrieve the warmest blanket i have. and, wrapped in both a blanket and down comforter, spent the next two hours shivering uncontrollably.

to break up the monotony, i started feeling extremely feverish as the sky was beginning to lighten. soon i was in the world of extremes only, where even having half a leg under a blanket was intolerably hot and leaving myself uncovered in any way felt like certain hypothermia. i feebly sang myself hymns as the only form of comfort i could come up with.

at some point in this delirium, i grabbed my ipad and downloaded the web md app. showing me a picture of a startled-looking naked human (neither male nor female), i was told to point where it hurt. since i couldn't just palm-mash the whole guy, i picked from a list. "chills," "fever," and "fatigue" were my symptoms (and was very grateful that "craving to eat ice, dirt, or paper" was not.)
based on this, my app gave me some of the following possibilities:
  • lyme disease
  • aseptic meningitis
  • dengue fever
  • cryptococcosis
  • hepatitis (a or b)
  • noroviruses (norwalk-like viruses) (jess! the norwalk!)
despite the fact that, from what i remembered of high school health classes, most of those could seriously kill me or mess me up big time, i was nonplussed. on saturday, a friend suggested that it sounded like the flu (which was another of web md's potential diagnoses.) i thought the flu included nausea and all that fun stuff, but apparently not necessarily. so, i spent saturday watching movies and thinking i had some flu variant. on sunday evening, though, when my symptoms hadn't really changed at all, my parents both encouraged me to see a doctor.

the student health center once told my friend that she might have cancer. she didn't. and so, with recommendations ranging from "yeah, they're fine" to "my mom almost died there," i showed up as a walk-in because they don't charge me a co-pay.

an older female doctor asked my symptoms, groped me up and down, and was especially impressed with how swollen the nodes in my throat had become (this was kind of a recent development, making me glad i waited until today to come in.) at the and of the exam, she said that it's likely mono.

hooray. i somehow got "the kissing disease." she explained that it can also come from drinking fountains, which is a much lamer way to get it.

still, i felt better. what little i knew of mono was that it just made you really tired, but that was it. it didn't sound disgusting like "lyme disease" or even any "disease" it all; it's just like getting turned down to "low" for a while. i was ok with having mono. i felt like a popular kid.

before she sent me down to the lab for some blood tests and a tonsil swab just to make sure it isn't strep throat, she handed me a pamphlet. the cover showed a male model trying to look as cool as vanilla ice himself, while the top had a row of diverse college-aged faces, all looking somewhere between stoic and stunned. "so you've got mono..." the title read, and i couldn't help but feel like i'd just contracted an std.

i remember hearing someone talk about how they had mono once and it knocked them out for months, but my thoughtful pamphlet explained that it usually lasts two weeks although it can go up to four or six. and it promised me "probably the worst sore throat you've ever had," so i've got that to look forward to.

despite my upfront reassurance that i was not in any way contagious through casual contact, both my bosses at work scolded me and sent me back home within an hour and a half, declaring that i should be resting. so, i'm considering taking tomorrow off.
tonight, though, i'm just wishing i had someone to kiss.


LJ said...

This is probably the best mono story I've ever heard.

The Former 786 said...

My wife got mono just before our wedding. Turns out I'm immune to it. I must have been exposed to it as a kid or something. We actually went to a "witch doctor" and took a bunch of supplements and it went away pretty quickly.


Becky said...

I'm very sorry that you have mono but I'm grateful you don't have hepatitis or meningitis or stds. But thanks for making me laugh while I am feeling sorry for you. Is it worse than salmonella?