Blog: Sickness in the City

By Taylor Griffin

Now that the Ebola scare has settled down since the infected doctor in a New York hospital was released into the world recently, I too thought my dread of falling ill could finally pass. As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, I’ve been fighting off an incessant cold practically since I landed here. However, as I’ve learned over the past week, sometimes it’s best to accept one’s sickening fate.

Last Thursday, my brother got engaged on the day before they were headed up to the Big Apple for a weekend visit. I was stoked even more to finally greet them when they arrived, but as luck would have it, I woke up Friday morning with terrible chills and an achy body.

It’s always the worst to get sick when you’re away from home, but falling ill in New York City, at least for me, led me to experience a rather overdramatic version the Kübler-Ross model of grief, as outlined below.


A full day off from work, I thought, would do the trick on Friday and get me back on my feet before I met up with my family. I had a whole weekend ahead planned with my brother and sister-in-law-to-be, so I hoped my attitude would sustain me over the next few days.

Truthfully, I felt much better over the weekend and had the most amazing time with the future Griffins, but that heavy chest cough and obvious hoarse voice should have been proof enough that my bout with the bug wasn’t over. As I have usually done this semester, I brushed it off and popped another Tylenol for good measure.


After a perfect weekend, sure enough I woke up Tuesday morning again with fever and chills. Clearly, the Tylenol had no power here. I was mostly irritated that I again had to miss a day of my internship, but I tend to get quite irritable otherwise when I’m under the weather. Luckily I was home alone that day; I guarantee I would have snapped my roommates’ heads off with my sharp tongue.


Then came the point in the saga where I noticed that the feeling in my ears was not congestion any more, but actual throbbing. I sat on the couch for a bit debating on whether or not I should make the trek across the bridge into Manhattan to find a doc-in-the-box. About this time last year, I dealt with the same situation, and my eardrum ruptured because of it. Still, that bed in the other room was calling my name. Another nap wouldn’t hurt, right?


Of course, my frustration wouldn’t be complete without a weepy phone call to my mom back home. I tend to lay it on thick when I don’t feel up to par, and she was happy to oblige. I hate going to the doctor anyway, so my sadness wasn’t entirely without reason either.


Much to my dismay, I loaded up in a taxicab en route to an urgent care on the Upper East Side. Turns out I caught my chest cold just in time before it took a turn for the worst, and the pain in my left ear was a middle ear infection, just like last fall. I honestly thought no one over the age of 10 still got ear infections. They loaded me up with three kinds of meds and a $30 cab fee, in total. I suppose it’s not such a bad trade-off considering the damage had I waited.

Truly, I was in a bereavement period this week. I hated the sheer idea of staying cooped up for an undetermined amount of time while my friends might have partied on without me this week and thus denied my own recuperation period. While I still can’t hear much out of my left ear, I’m on the swift road to recovery, thanks to that ever-faithful Z-Pak.

Lesson learned this week: it’s okay to be sick, and it’s okay to admit that you are. A day or two missed won’t necessarily take away from the overall picture, and there will always be another day to have fun and enjoy being well. It sure beats another ruptured eardrum.