Irene Kim

Ah, it’s fall. Canada Goose jackets are being snobbishly flexed. Suite heaters are being turned on (finally). And the health of Yalies is falling like the orange and yellow leaves littering our beautiful campus. The soundtrack of fall has been violent coughs and constant sniffling from nasal congestion. No matter how hard you try, you will most likely be another victim of the flu or a cold (yes, this includes the free vaccine from the Yale Health Center you think is a panacea). In fact, I am suffering from this plague at the time of this writing.

Aside from literally destroying my health and lungs, the cold with which I have been cursed has been a guest of my body for about a month now. I literally grew a year older along with this illness (shout-out to October babies). After a series of cold medicines, Vick’s Vapor Rub applications, orange juices, cough drops, mouthwash gargles, tea and honey and nightly prayers, nothing has changed. I have come to accept that I will have to carry this burden.

Yet, this burden is heavy, really fucking heavy. My health condition has made people stare at me in annoyance in lectures when a “cough attack” takes over me. My condition has caused me to waste considerable money (I am very much low-income, not just stingy with my money) on tissues and medicine. This cold is very much like living with a Kardashian. It’s hard to live with but extremely expensive to get rid of (it’s a divorce joke, get it?). You can’t just give your cold a Pepsi and expect your problem to be solved. It’s much more complex than an incredibly horrible commercial.

But what pains me the most, aside from my throat, is the fact that my education is being affected. My cold often causes headaches, which can often prevent me from doing work on my computer or reading in general. I, therefore, have to retreat to my bed and cry myself to sleep knowing my financial aid for tuition is not being taken advantage of.

For some other fellow ill Yalies, their education has been much more severely affected. Some have even been exiled from libraries for coughing or sneezing too loudly and frequently — everyone criticizing them, but no one asking them about their health. Others have had to push through a midterm for some STEM class. But in retrospect, that’s what they deserve for being STEM majors.

And the worst part of all this, is that none of this is a result of my lack of precautions. I got the flu shot and did everything else right. It was some asshole who didn’t wash their hands frequently or didn’t cover their sneeze or cough that screwed everyone over. Thanks to this person, Yale has become the hospital we see now. But in this hospital you are your own doctor, and unfortunately, you are absolutely not qualified to be a doctor. Instead, all of your life you relied on your much more accomplished and knowledgeable colleagues, your parents.

Now you find yourself clueless, searching up remedies on WebMD and taking advice from some dude on Reddit called Doug. Absolutely determined to cure yourself before the Yale-Harvard game so that your pregame does not consist of NyQuil (unless you’re doing lean or some other weird shit). Your cold or flu is strong, but your desire to drink is stronger. The strength of your vice pushes your creativity to new heights and eventually into absolutely terrible ideas. You try a couple of remedies you thought of, but then you realize you actually know absolutely nothing about how to get rid of a cold or flu. You also realize that you may have a drinking problem, but that is now beside the point for you.

So this bring us to our present day situation, a land of plague. Yale is known as home of the snowflakes, but perhaps the real snowflakes here are our immune system. Our lower standard of health is just normal to us at this point. And to think this all started from one unknown person who we cannot hold accountable. It is absolutely maddening. But winter is coming soon, and hope may be renewed in some magical power curing us all. Until then, the seasons may change, but our health remains stagnant on a plateau of sniffles and coughs.

Carlos Rodriguez Cortez | carlos.rodriguezcortez@yale.edu .