Thursday, May 5, 2011

Gag Reflex

"Now I'm going to swab the back of your throat. We need a sample of your mucus to check for strep."
Oh, how lovely.
Of course, it will probably be a breeze. One quick swab and then my throat will be left alone.

"You have an hour left," announced my stats professor from the front of the room. I glanced at the clock and then looked quickly back at my paper. I had not made much progress in the last fifty minutes. I quickly thumbed through all the blank pages I had left.
Come on, brain! Think!!
I studied this stuff for three hours straight the night before with my study group. I could do everything fine then. But as much as I tried thinking, I couldn't get past how heavy my head felt. Was it just me, or was it swelling? I felt like I was going to tip over from the weight of it.
Ah! Focus, Kelsey. T-tests. Not mucus-filled head. Work out the T-test. 

She walked forward, holding the swab out. She had put a mask over her face. I felt like an infected animal. Oh, how I despise being sick. I despise it with all my being.
As she reached her swab toward me and told me to open wide, I tried to think back on the last time I had been in one of these horrible doctor offices, being treated for some despicable illness. I couldn't remember when the last time was. It had been a couple years, at the least. I lost my train of thought after I realized her hand was in my mouth. It was going back further. And further. And further.

"Ten more minutes!" 
Whoa, what? Only ten? Where did the last fifty minutes go?  
I feel my nose start to drip. How embarrassing.
I reach down and grab another tissue from my tissue box I brought from home. How embarrassing again. Stupid tissue box. It seems to be grinning menacingly at me, saying, "Go on, Kelsey. Take another tissue. Wipe your nose raw."
I quietly wipe and turn back to the problem. I start plugging things into my calculator, praying it will reveal an answer to me that might make sense.
I only have ten more minutes. Well, probably nine now.

I feel the swab run against the back of my throat.
That wasn't bad.
Oh, it wasn't over yet. This lady was swab happy.
She kept rubbing,and it almost felt as if she was rubbing with an almost vicious nature. I started feeling discomfort.
"This may bring your gag reflex on. Don't back away from me."
I don't feel like those two sentences should be used together. Unless you are a bulimic and your finger is talking to you, maybe. But even that would be very strange.
I feel my body coil and I begin to gag. My body starts backing away, as it should.
Fight or flight.
Good body.
However, I try to do as I am told and demand my body to give into the evil gagging swab.

"Only two more minutes!" 
I am trying not to panic. 
It doesn't work. 
I about knock everything off my desk, and in the process, the pile of used tissues in my lap goes falling across the floor. 
I feel like a disgusting, disgrace of a person at this point. 
I frantically grab in different directions for the mucus covered tissues, hoping no one noticed. 
I am running out of time, so I start to guess and just write things down.
Maybe by writing something down, I'll manage to pick up a couple points from the darn 20 problem question I forgot how to do.

I am really gagging now and it is bringing on my awful dry cough. Except thanks to our friend, Mr. Swab, it is no longer a dry cough. I cough in her face, sending spit and who knows what else straight her way. I quickly cover my mouth as she pulls the swab out. I am so utterly embarrassed.
Good thing she put that mask on.

I gather up my things and quickly hand my test in.
I walk outside. 
The weather is unbelievably nice today. 
Too bad I can't enjoy it. 
I pass people who are out enjoying the nice day, wearing shorts and trying to catch a tan. 
I look at the ground and pull my sweatshirt tightly around my fevering body. 
Why must my nearly flawless immune system fail me now?

I sure hope I passed stats. I want to be done with math already.
If you run into me, I could sure use a hug. I promise I won't cough on you.    

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