Senior column: An important lesson (sorely) learned
Published: Wednesday, May 27, 2009 - 10:19pm
Gargoyle staff reporter
Posted Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I'M RETICENT TO admit it, but I'm one of those people.
The ones who have been counting down to graduation since sophomore year.
The ones who wanted the lounge countdown to start way back in September.
The ones who have daydreamed about being Uni-luminated and showered with congratulations for far longer than most.
So wouldn't it be fair, don't you think, for my graduation to go off without a hitch? For everything to be perfect and sunshiney and completely, utterly, lovely?
Well, I think so. Unfortunately, as Ethan Hawke put it in 1997's "Gattaca," "There is no gene for fate."
Ignore the fact that this column has nothing to do with genetics. I was focusing on the "fate" part.
Anyway, let's just say that things have not been entirely hitch-less. Medically, that is.
Three weeks ago I had a really bad case of tonsillitis, which kept me out of school for three days and involved a series of painful injections and gross medicine. When I finally got over that I thought the worst of it was over, but alas … I was not so lucky.
Friday I began to have a sore throat, although no other symptoms presented themselves. Sunday my throat had gotten so bad I went to the Carle emergency room, only to be told that I had a peritonsillar abscess that needed to be drained.
I had this problem last summer and was told it was unlikely that it would ever occur again. Take that, doctors! Dr. House would never have made such a silly mistake.
Anyway, my swollen throat was incised and drained, a completely disgusting and entirely too painful procedure. On antibiotics, I continued to worsen until Monday night, when something behind my tonsil ruptured and began to clear.
Feeling about three-quarters of the way better, I went to my follow-up doctor's appointment Tuesday morning for a check up. Before I even got there, the phone rang. It was a nurse calling to schedule me for a tonsillectomy, "preferably tomorrow," she said.
Um. No. Graduation is on Saturday, and a whirlwind of fun and awesome events pertaining to this once-in-my-lifetime-event will occur within the next five days. No way am I going to miss it all to lie in bed eating Jell-O and feeling ill. Besides, I've heard horror stories about getting tonsils out, and I never want to go through that. Ever.
I presented all these ideas to my doctor upon arrival. He nodded and said that was fine. He suggested next Tuesday for the operation, and I grudgingly agreed.
"However," he said, "I can't promise that you won't get another abscess before Tuesday."
He went on to imply that if that happened, my Saturday evening would probably be spent in the ER rather than walking across the stage, getting my diploma.
I hate dilemmas. Hate, hate, HATE.
I decided to stick with the appointment for next week. If I got my tonsils removed before then, it's a guarantee that I wouldn't make it to Krannert on Saturday, rather than just a risk.
Either way, though, it appears I'll be avoiding graduation parties and celebrations, won't be out staying up late and reminiscing with my friends and peers. Instead, I'll be lying in bed at home, eating vanilla milkshakes and Vicodin.
And yet, even though I'm beyond upset about the way things have turned out, there's nothing I can really do about it. This is what fate has decided to do, and there's nothing I can do except sit back and hold on tight.
Maybe that's something I need to have taken out of high school, but I hadn't learned how yet. If something happens, adapt your actions to it. If you break your legs, stop daydreaming about running the marathon next weekend. If someone treats you badly, stop wanting to be close to them. The future is what you make of it.
And don't be too upset if your dreams crash and burn. If they're salvageable, salvage them. If they're not, move on. There is nothing worse that someone who is overcome by wishing the past hadn't happened that way; instead, look toward the future, and hope for better dreams and a better future than you imagined before.
I hope all of you can take that to heart, before you find yourself holed up the weekend before your graduation, eating Jell-O with ice cubes in it, spitting into tissues and watching Jerry Springer.
It's gross. I promise.