Chi Omega beehive keeps buzzing despite illnesses

Chi Omega's Sing act "Can't Stop the Bees" went on despite many performers suffering from a variety illnesses. Claire Boston | Multimedia Journalist

By Thomas Moran | Arts and Life Editor

Last night, Chi Omega took to the stage to debut their All-University Sing Act “Can’t Stop the Bees.” The act featured bees, beekeepers and Broadway-style theatrics. But behind the smiles, makeup and costumes, some of the girls have been battling a variety of illnesses that could have kept them from performing, but didn’t.

Flu season peaks in February and March, and with hundreds of people congregating in a tight space to rehearse a Sing act, the spreading of sickness is a borderline inevitability.

Forney senior Samantha Caldwell managed to avoid sickness for several weeks leading up to Sing. But last week, after beginning to feel crummy and a trip to the doctor’s office, she received unfortunate news with Sing quickly approaching.

“I was diagnosed with the flu, strep throat and walking pneumonia,” Caldwell said. “Now I’m on the up and up, but not 100 percent because the pneumonia triggered my asthma. But better than I felt when I was diagnosed.”

Despite the hard hit of the three illnesses, Caldwell decided to push through the pain, channeling her previous experience as a dancer.

“I never really considered not performing,” Caldwell said. “I’ve been a dancer for 13 years, so I know how to kind of dance through stuff. I was worried that I might have to be moved back in formation because I couldn’t fully perform, but I wasn’t afraid that I wouldn’t perform at all.”

So as to avoid getting any of the other girls sick while not missing practice, Caldwell and some of the other sick women took matters into their own hands.

“If you get diagnosed, you still want to come to practice to learn,” Caldwell said. “So we just wore little surgical masks so you don’t cough on people.

However, the organization leaders took their own measures to prevent illnesses spreading.

“From my general knowledge, about 14 girls have been diagnosed with either strep or the flu,” Caldwell said. “A general thing that has kind of been happening is that once you get diagnosed, other girls in Chi O will bring you care packages.They just have all of Chi O immediately start taking Emergen-C and vitamins and stuff as a preemptive way to hopefully not spread around any sickness. They give us Germ-X at the beginning of practice.”

However, not all of the ailments have been the contagious sort. Last Monday, San Antonio sophomore Gracelyn Doctor was feeling sharp pain in her back during cheerleading practice and wasn’t able to breathe well. After heading to the hospital, she found out she had multiple pulmonary embolisms in her lungs.

“Some of my lung tissue had died, and I had multiple blood clots still there,” Doctor said. “I was hospitalized for three days, and I was released on heavy doses of blood thinners with intent to follow up with a specialist and general practice doctor.”

As a nursing major, this is the last year Doctor will be able to participate in Sing as the last two years of the program are in Dallas. So nothing was going to stop her from taking part, Doctor said.

“We worked so hard, and I really wanted to be a part of it,” Doctor said. “So the doctor said, ‘As long as you’re able to do it, we want you to be able to experience it.’”

Some of the health scares were more sudden. Peoria, Ill., senior Amanda Seaboch started Thursday morning feeling ready for the first Sing performance that evening.

“My roommate’s boyfriend brought over some Tiff’s Treats, and it was just sort of a mix,” Seaboch said. “Amongst them were some chocolate chip and walnut cookies. I grabbed one of the chocolate chip walnut cookies unknowingly, and took a bite and set it down.”

A few minutes later, she felt a familiar scratch in her throat — something she had only felt in past incidents with her severe walnut allergy.

“I raced downstairs because I knew that I needed to take medicine right away or it would get worse,” Seaboch said. “I got some Benadryl from one of my roomates. It was dumb of me to not check before.”

Despite this wide variety of illnesses and sudden ailments, Chi Omega performed its Sing act “Can’t Stop the Bees” last night, winning a huge applause from the audience, affirming the age-old adage, “The show must go on.”