How I Spent My Xmannakwanza Vacation

Back in October, I made a deal with myself. That deal was, if I could manage to eke out a responsible existence on my fellowship stipend, then I could splurge on a plane ticket to New York for the first week of winter break, where I could fete and be feted, reunite with beloved old friends, and buy some new fucking jeans for chrissake, because a grown woman with one pair of jeans is just ridiculous. And I’m happy to report that I did buy some jeans. However, on the evening of my second night there, I fell ill…and not a "oh, I’m a little congested and feel kind of crappy but it’s nothing a little Jim Beam won’t cure" ill, fucking flat-on-my-back, at-death’s-door ill. On my second day of over-102 fever, my mother made me promise, via the telephone machine, that if the feve topped 104 I would go to the hospital, rather than allow myself to go into the ever-feared convulsions and boil my brain, especially since I spent last quarter giving myself an ulcer in the name of cultivating said brain into a massive smartification machine (and I didn’t get a theta or a foghorn-sound or a zed in any classes, despite my oft-squawked fears). So when on Thursday night my fever hit 103.8 and showed no sign of abating, I convinced my extremely valiant friend Brittany to come with me to a hospital that shall not be named, but rhymes with "Schmoo Nork Blespyterian," where I spent eight and a half hours being summarily ignored. Not that I’m complaining–it was a busy night at the ER and my gurney was surrounded by other gurneys carrying people with much worse ailments than mine. For example, the guy across the way was a Hasidic Jew with a broken shoulder (and the hairiest arm I have ever seen, b-t-dubs). There were some interesting characters there to keep me company after I sent Brittany home around 2 a.m., thinking I’d be discharged soon thereafter (ha ha), including but not limited to a very old woman who got really angry with the hospital staff when they wouldn’t give her $20 for her blood and ended up having to be restrained by five members of the staff and injected with Haldol, and a 23-year-old I-banker douche whose self-diagnosis for his presence in the ER was: "I GOT DRUNK!" (he spent the rest of the night passed out in a pile of his own yarf). When the actual-emergencies finally abated and the staff had the time to attend to a stupid little girl with a fever, I was (unsurprisingly) diagnosed with the North American Terrestrial People Flu and told to take Tylenol and Motrin with food (and then given a thing of Tylenol and Motrin on an empty stomach) and hydrate (after not being given anything to drink for six hours). I was finally given my walking papers after the shift change at 8:30 a.m. and I shuffled back to Brittany’s and into bed, where I stayed for the next four and a half days, being visited intermittently by those brave friends of mine with death wishes, who brought me broth, saltines, Jell-O, popsicles and company. Brittany’s cat Murray kept valiant watch over me and even refrained from walking all over my head in my time of illness. I watched seventy-five episodes of "Sex and the City" and had fever dreams voice-over narrated by Sarah Jessica Parker. I emerged from my fever about 5 lbs lighter, just in time to get on the plane back home.

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