By Reuben Su, Yale-NUS College ’17 – See bio
You get home from the doctor’s and you start Googling your prescription. You feel stupid since you can’t make head or tail of pharmacology. You think that doctors are brilliant but they take advantage of the sick and ailing for money. You then think of your friends who are in medical school and they aren’t so bad after all. You suspect that you have a mystery disease that only Dr. House can diagnose. You feel kind of special but not in a good way.
You see the bed and you know that it’s your safe haven for the next couple of days. The blanket looks rather cozy. You feel like hibernating under it like polar bears that are in denial of global warming. However, you know you can’t since ‘sweating out’ a fever simply doesn’t make sense to you; Hollywood and ‘sick’ actors both don’t make sense. You adjust the fan speed and then you sweat again. You curse and swear but you can’t fight biology and feel the urge to blame your folks. You want to take a quick shower but you just refuse to move your fragile body. You crave for a warm bath but you might end up catching a cold. Ah, the irony. Sadly, you realize that your shower cubicle edition of X Factor won’t be in session today.
You’re forced to drink only plain water and forgo your regular dose of bubble tea and Milo. You’re deprived and need to answer the call of nature but your legs feel stumpy. It is then you wish that the world is not just your oyster but, also your bathroom. Eventually, you coax yourself into crawling to the bathroom to relieve yourself. After you’re done, you wash your hands and stare at your reflection in the mirror. You have the lowest self-esteem when you are sick and you require a ‘Mulan’ moment. Either that or you exhibit maximum disregard for your physical appearance because you’re just too ill to care – which might be a virtue. That nasty pimple irks you to no end and you accept that you will never be as perfect as Snow White. Just then you realize that you could potentially lose weight à la Emily from ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, who is “just one stomach flu away” from her goal weight. You smile to yourself but you need to tow your 65kg/143.3lbs frame back to bed. A wheelchair would be amazing and then you think that’s for geriatrics. Naturally, you hate yourself for having such depressing thoughts and you feel the sudden urge to do community service out of the goodness of your own heart. Your tummy starts to grumble and you want to cook a nice meal for yourself. Too bad, your arms feel like tau huay (Hokkien for soy beancurd). Bone aches are the worst. Immediately, you imagine your military sergeant screaming at you to mount the chin-up bar. You feel so soft that you might just melt. You desperately want Madonna’s arms.
Your parents come home from work and your mother asks you ‘How are you feeling?’ and you reply with an effortless ‘What do you think?’ and she’ll just be annoyed and touches your forehead anyway. She makes you do mental sums to determine the number of hours till your next dose of pills. Your mind wanders and complicates matters by thinking of algebra where x can be anything. Seriously, infinite possibilities. You subdue that thought by comforting yourself that your Math is of ‘A’ grade standard and that the subject is grossly overrated and it makes people think too much and do too little. You are resigned to having porridge for dinner. You can barely taste or smell anything and still think that you are Goldilocks. Fairy tales are rubbish and you conclude that Pokémon is way cooler and more realistic. You snap out of it when your mother then hugs you and dishes out her maternal nuggets of wisdom like how Oprah does philanthropy and takes it to the next level by handing out cars. Give big or go home, innit?
It is then where you text your friends or tell the entire Facebook world and Twitterverse that you are on the ‘verge of dying’ but you are enjoying your ‘party of one’ nonetheless. You want to personally thank your friends for noticing but you’re too tired to type, so you end up ‘liking’ their well wishes and sympathy. You scroll through your News Feed and you realize how much fun you could have had and you die a little more inside. You want to be outdoors; you want to stalk the royal couple; you want to visit the new political gifts at the zoo. And you think to yourself, “What would Adele do?” She’d probably tell you to ‘set fire to the rain’, but you don’t really know what that means. You are, by now, ‘rolling in the deep’. You try listening to your favorite songs to lift your spirits but then you realize that pop stars don’t really fall ill. You question whether Britney, Justin, Gaga and Katy are human. Britney and Katy have gone through divorce and you think that is definitely normal so they must be human. You are then left with Gaga who is a bona fide Monster and Justin who can’t sing. What sorcery is this? You get jealous of his huge fan base and wish you were equally famous. You feel old and unsuccessful. You fast-forward and dream of your 20th birthday which is in two months time and the odds of getting sick then are pretty slim. You feel happy again and hum along to Taylor Swift’s new single.
It is time to take your temperature and you start to guess the exact degree Celsius to a single decimal place, ‘The Price Is Right’ style. After hearing the magical beep sound, you stare at the numeral on the thermometer and see if you’ve just struck the lottery. You then take a few seconds to collect your thoughts. You may feel happy that you get to lengthen your house arrest rather than going back to work or be totally bummed that you feel absolutely dreadful. You consume your medication and think of the millions of children who have limited or no access to healthcare and then you swallow what’s left of your pride, conscience and pills and take another boring, blah nap. When you wake up, the whole cycle of mental and maybe physical diarrhea continues. It only stops when you suddenly feel like you are actually fine and dandy. Well, that is something which you would then thank the gods profusely for and would assume your daily, illness-free life with immediate effect unless you intend to chao keng (Hokkien for feigning sickness or injury) lah.
Like all momentous occasions in life, you must first: tweet about it.
@ReubSu I feel fine now. Thanks for asking anyway 🙂 #justsayin