Coughing, aching and stumbling, the cold, dark building on the horizon welcomed me back once more. If you mashed together the Death Star and an intelligence agency office, you would have Yale Health. I often tolerate a considerable about of illnesses and ailments in order to avoid going to this shithole of an institution. Not only is it slow, but the amount of misdiagnoses I’ve received has led me to accept my illness as a way of life rather than actually getting help.

To begin, the fortress of Yale Health is a 20-minute walk from anything important, which already creates the imposition of time. I’m fucking sick, dude. You think I can walk for 20 minutes? Uphill? Does anything behind Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin really even exist? Walking up Science Hill without the promise of a dope Polish section? No thank you.

Against immeasurable odds, I arrived. It’s always weird to see the inside of the building in the daylight. It’s typically occupied by drunken Yalies nursing mild alcohol poisonings after having too much of the punch at Zeta. Nevertheless, I walked through the atrium and ascended the elevator a lovely three stories and turned right toward the young adult fiction novel dystopia that is “Student Health.”

There are no rules in the Student Health office. It’s like a Delta Airlines help desk or the old Wild West — it’s the epitome of “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe.” There is a dichotomy, though, of those who are severely ill and those who are in for a routine checkup. Either you’re completely together or an absolute mess. No in-between. People are on the ground, sprawled out across chairs and essentially zombies across the waiting room. All this holds true unless of course, you’re a Student Athlete™ who gets to bypass all of us plebeians. We are left waiting for five hours to get a non-essential strep test shoved down our throats which will inevitably come back negative. They’ll give me a cough drop and a Band-Aid and say, “Good luck, you piece of shit.”

After four hours of waiting for a drop in appointment, you might just get the chance to see a doctor, or maybe you’ll be told to come back tomorrow. Who knows at this point? While you’re waiting, I propose thinking about any number of things, including: How many times can someone be diagnosed with whooping cough as an adult? How they will inevitably give you a pat on the back and give you no treatment? How many classes are you missing to sit in purgatory for the day?

After one last trek down the longest hallway known to the human species, I made it to the patient room. It’s another hour until the nurse comes in and asks me what I did today. My internal monologue went off, “Literally are you kidding me. I have been sitting in the bacterial mosh pit that is the waiting room of this barren institution for hours waiting for treatment for a sickness that will probably go away in two weeks anyway and I really shouldn’t have even come here in the first place.” However, I would never say this out loud, as she’s not in control of the systemic issues that govern student medicine. She continues and asks if I ran here as she takes my blood pressure. Well, obviously I fucking did because if you’re two minutes late for your appointment you’re rescheduled for next month.

It’s another hour until the doctor comes. At this point, you’re rethinking your entire day. This is where I realized that going to Yale Health via drop-in appointment for anything beyond life-or-death disease is an absolute waste of time. Finally, the doctor showed up. I thought I might finally find solace. In the end, I received my non-essential strep test and answered a few questions about my throat. Well, looks like there’s nothing they can do. Shocking. Didn’t see that one coming. They don’t give medication for anything, so maybe if your dad’s friend can phone in a prescription for you, you’ll get help, but if not, good fucking luck.

After receiving my cough drops which I could’ve just bought in one 10-minute trip to Walgreens, I returned home. This time I wasn’t misdiagnosed with ringworm, but I really wasn’t even diagnosed with anything at all. If Yale Health has taught me anything, it’s that illness is something tolerable as opposed to something that I should deal with! Enjoy my germs, bitches!

 

Lindsay Jostlindsay.jost@yale.edu