Ah, College
"A semester as patient zero."

This has been an absolutely dreadful semester. A unique combination of stress, bad weather, no heat in my house, and friends repeatedly infecting me had kept me sick for more than two months straight. Looking back, I probably spent more than half the time lying in bed, hugging a bottle of Robitussin in one arm and a bottle of NyQuil in the other.

Of course, that has very little to do with the "sick theme" of this issue. I just have really low standards about who I pick up from bars. But that's another column.

I woke up sick for the first time way back in October. Immediately, I did what any sick person in college does. I walked straight towards my medicine cabinet, then continued past it to pick up my cell phone. I then spent an hour calling up all my friends and mother to tell them how sick I was so they'd feel bad for me.

As most illnesses usually do, I thought it would get better within a day or two. So I spent some time doing the usual sick things. I made people go on errands for me and groaned painfully whenever someone asked me to do any sort of work around the house whatsoever.

Though, admittedly, groaning in pain to avoid work is a fun activity to do even when you aren't sick.

After almost three days, I was considerably worse, to the point where I could no longer make it to class. Some people might not understand why I say that missing class is a bad thing, but it is. Because while I have no problem missing it, there's nothing I'd rather be doing on my time off than being sick.

As the sickness went into its first full week, I knew something had to be done. Again, I sprang into action. I confronted pretty much everyone I knew and accused them of giving me whatever it was that I had. It didn't drastically improve my condition over the next week, but along with my initial plan to tell everyone I was sick, it did make a bunch of people feel really, really bad for me.

Two weeks after I first became sick, I finally started taking it seriously. I started sleeping more, getting plenty of fluids, and a number of other things that my mother insisted would make me healthy that will never appear in any medical journal. I even tried laughter, but that didn't help either. As it turned out, half a bottle of NyQuil a day and eight Advil were a surprisingly better medicine.

My absences to class began to mount. I missed numerous deadlines. I spent awkward meeting with teacher after teacher explaining that even though I'd missed plenty of class earlier in the semester, I was finally doing it for a real reason.

And when they didn't buy that, I accused them of getting me sick.

After a full month and a half of being sick, the scariest things were that I wasn't getting any better and that I had no idea what I had. In the beginning, I had it pegged as a cold. Then maybe a bad case of the flu. Then maybe a bad case of the avian flu.

It eventually got to the point that I didn't remember what it was like to not be sick. Yet somehow, crybaby that I am, I survived. I came out of the whole ordeal no worse for wear, either physically or academically. That is to say, I was no more unhealthy or out of shape than I usually was, and my grades looked similar to those of anyone else who didn't care much about class.

The lesson in all of this is that none of us are as young as we used to be, and even little things are capable of totally derailing us, even for months. So try and take care of yourself – wear a warm coat and eat right. Because the next time you get sick, I might catch it from you. And that would totally suck.