I remember being pushed down onto a stool in front of a glass window behind which a masked nurse scribbled characters on forms. After a brief, indistinguishable conversation between my supervisor and the nurse a thin glass thermometer was popped into my mouth as i slumped on my school, holding my pounding head in my shaking hands.
My temperature was 39.8° celsius (nearly 104° fahrenheit) and apparently high enough for the hospital to consider me an important patient. Not only was my temperature dangerously high but about two minutes after the glass thermometer was removed from my mouth I was racked with nausea and had to dash to the bathroom to kneel over a stinking squatty-potty for the next five minutes, arm looped around the metal rail of the stall to keep me from passing out.
Eventually I recovered enough to allow two nurses to take me by the upper arm and lead me into another room, equally crowded and noisy. In this room hundreds of people were sitting in chairs lining a maze like arrangement of five-foot high walls. Each person sat in their chair, reading or texting or shouting into a cellphone and each on had a thin clear IV cord running from a liquid bag above their head into a line placed in the top of their right hand. It was a terrifying IV assembly line and the sight of it only filled me with a burning desire to go home and curl up in bed.
Unfortunately that was hardly an option especially given the fact that I couldn't even walk to the IV counter by myself. I slumped in the chair, stomach churning as I watched the silver needly slide into a blue vein clearly visible through my stark skin. The needle itself did nothing to help me. Upon standing up my vision promptly blurred and I lost consciousness.
When I came to I was sitting a hard metal chair, another faceless member of the IV assembly line, squashed in between a teenage girl on her iPod and a man repeatedly clicking his fingernails against the metal arm of his chair. And there I stayed. From around 12:30 in the afternoon until nearly 7:00 at night. Through three bags of IV fluid (two simple saline and on mystery amber liquid that turned out to be a simple anti-nausea medication) and a the time for my blood test to come back and tell them I wasn't diseased.
Food poisoning. It was simple food poisoning. I spent a day in hell because they day before I had eaten three slightly undercooked dumplings the day before. At least I think. With most of the food here you can never really be sure. So I had an adventure. By the next day I was nearly fine. I spent the day sleeping, and for the next week I was on anti-nausea medication prescribed by the hospital.
Now at least I have a story to tell.