Mom and Dad take a breath, I wasn’t hospitalized. I do think that the choice of title is witty though. So what happened then? Let me take you back to last Friday. Why? Well Friday was obviously the best day of the year! It was November 9th and that meant that college basketball season was officially starting. It had been 284 days since the final buzzer went off in the first round of the Atlantic-10 Playoffs. We had lost 80-72 to La Salle in Philadelphia and this buzzer signified the end of our season. So 284 days later I was the happiest person on Earth. That day I went to a talk in Oxford with two friends and since I was in a great mood I offered to host dinner in my apartment the next night. Had I not been in some euphoric state of happiness due to the upcoming Spider game, I do not know if I would have offered. Anyways, that is besides the point. The next night a bunch of people came over and we enjoyed Mexican style chalupas with many toppings ranging from avocados, to beans, tomatoes, sour cream, and even shrimp. The nurse that I saw on Wednesday believes that is where I caught the very infectious norovirus. It is easily transmittable and there are many ways that it can spread, especially through contact with undercooked food or contaminated objects. It wasn’t until Sunday night that I started to feel the ramifications of this little virus. I was starting a presentation on England’s NHS, the government provided health care system and had a horrible pain in my stomach. Oh the irony in being sick for the first time in over a year when you have to write a paper on the health system. I knew it couldn’t be appendicitis because I had my appendix removed when I was a kid, but I wanted to rest just in case it was anything serious. I went to bed and woke up the next morning with a horrible headache and a fever. I slept all day and tried to stay hydrated, but nothing seemed to work to combat my symptoms. The next day I felt very weak and went to the college nurse who told me I had a stomach virus. What have I learned from all of this?
I learned that nothing treats illness better than being at home and having your Mom cook soup and help you if you need anything. When you live by yourself being sick is horrible. You learn to appreciate the people who help you out when you can’t help yourself. I also learned Paracetamol is the British version of our Tylenol; both are made from the same compound. I learned that being sick slows you down, but that is sometimes a good thing. You realize what is important when you move a little bit slower and can only use so much energy. I can now say that the virus is gone and I am back to my healthy self. Well almost healthy. You have to subtract the fact that I pulled an all nighter to write a paper for my tutorial because I didn’t do any work when I was sick. I look forward to using this weekend to catch up on some more sleep and cheer on the Spiders as we play at Minnesota! By the way, just to clear up the reference to the hospital, I walked across town yesterday to listen to a lecture at John Radcliffe Hospital. Sir John Bell was disussing how new research is allowing doctors to redefine diseases. There have been recent breakthroughs that will allow doctors to easily define cancers based on their abundances in blood plasma. It looks fascinating!
Other than being sick, I had a great week. Last Saturday I visited the Botanic Gardens of Oxford. It is the oldest botanic garden in Britain and was founded in 1621 to grow plants for medicinal research. I probably cannot do justice to the history of these gardens because I was taken by the natural beauty when it was being explained.
The gardens are right next to Christ Church, which I explained in an earlier blog. A fun fact that I learned: The story Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland come from these gardens. The author of this story, Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who wrote under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, worked at Christ Church.
The Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University at the time was Henry Liddell. He had a daughter named Alice and Reverend Dodgson used to tell her stories. She loved them and asked if he could write them down and the rest is history. People keep telling me (and I really am starting to believe it) that this place is magical. I look forward to experiencing some new things this weekend and I will report back in a few days!
“I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night. Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!” -Lewis Carroll