Thursday, April 3, 2008
Robespierre House, M.D.
A picture Megan took of me from her deathbed
I got one of these ridiculous absence emails today from someone in the group who was "sick," which reminded me of my favorite illness story. While studying for the bar exam, a few friends of mine were planning a bar trip to India. They asked me to go but I told them that there was NO WAY in hell because I didn't want to die right after having taken the bar exam. They called me a "racist" and a "xenophobe" and basically said that it was ignorant of me to say that everyone who goes to India dies or becomes fatally ill, which they obviously do.
Anyway, after their vacation was over, I went over to Megan's new apartment to help her set it up. She looked yellow, sweaty and pretty much on the verge of death. Later that night she calls me up to sleep over my apartment because her air conditioning wasn't working, and prior to going to bed she threw up in a vase. At 4 AM she woke up screaming that it felt like there was a knife going through her skull and she couldn't turn her head, so I do what every normal person would do in this situation which is go to the deli and buy some bread. She was still screaming when I got back, so I diagnosed meningitis, we hopped in a cab, stopped off at her apartment for her COBRA forms and glasses, and went to the NYU hospital.
At the hospital I explained to the doctors that as a former psychology major, I had diagnosed her with meningitis. Unsurprisngly the doctors agreed with me and put Megan in an isolation ward that is vaccuum sealed. So I'm in the waiting room reading Family Circle when a doctor comes out to see me and says that Megan is refusing the spinal tap and wants to see me. Normally, the doctor (who is on Friendster, I later confirmed) explained, they don't allow visitors into isolation, but because I had already been exposed to Megan's meningitis "for a long enough period" the "damage was already done" so I might as well go see her. When I asked the doctor to clarify what he meant by "the damage was already done," he simply explained that I had already been exposed to meningitis and now it was only a matter of time until a) nothing happened, b) I got sick or c) I died.
I put on a brave face for Megan, telling her it wasn't that bad, taking phone pictures of her in a hospital gown with an IV, and making fun of the acne of one of the orderlies. Luckily she recovered, but later discovered her mom had forgotten to fill out the COBRA forms so she basically had to pay for the entire thing out of pocket. It seems to me that the two lessons here are a) I am an amazing diagnostician and should just be given an honorary medical license and b) I told you so.