Rotten days

It’s great coming home from vacation and feeling refreshed and relaxed and rejuvenated for facing Real Life. For me, it lasted all of one freezing Sunday night.

Monday morning I rushed to the hospital to try to get my physical screening so I can apply for my Alien Residency Card in a few weeks. I showed up too late, unfortunately, and was turned away. In the time it took me to walk the several blocks to school, I went from feeling just very cold to feeling miserable. Shivering and with muscles aching, I made it to school in time to take the make-up chapter test we’d missed the week before.

For the next two and a half days, I dragged myself from the couch or bed only to go to school, save returning to the hospital Wednesday morning in time to actually get the physical. Certain I was feverish, I expected the temperature reader to flash every time I went to school. The momentum of being out of the house would sustain me through about an hour of class, after which I focused mostly on staying warm. By contrast, the effort spent to get back home would leave me unable to do much but shiver under the blanket on the couch, ignoring the presentation I was supposed to give on Thursday. Colin brought me blankets and hot Emergen-C and tried unsuccessfully to get me to eat—I wasn’t even up for the Christmas cookies in my package from Mom. Colin also transformed the massive piles of Thailand gear and dirty laundry into neat stacks and smaller piles of nearly dry laundry.

By Tuesday night I was looking forward to going back to the hospital, expecting the first person who saw me to diagnose flu and give me something, even an order not to leave bed.

The test was a relatively simple process made much more difficult because it felt as though my brain synapses were firing through cold honey. Two identical forms? Oops, I must have gotten an extra by mistake. Wrong, go fill the second one out then come back. Shoot, I forgot to bring my extra passport photos. The photo booth surely gives change. Wrong, go to the convenience store and buy a silly drink that will make it so you’re just $7 short when you’re paying for the whole thing (the man at the counter made up my difference, about US$0.20). And this was all before the physical started. Damn.

The test itself was only a skin check for leprosy, a blood test for a myriad of infectious diseases, and a chest X-ray for tuberculosis. They never took my temperature; they never took my weight or height; they never even took my blood pressure. They must not actually care much about my health.

Happy ending? I felt the slight pang of hunger while leaving the hospital and decided I had the stomach for a cup of instant noodle soup from the 7-11. Try not to judge me too harshly, Mom.


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