I woke up at 6:30 a.m. on my day off, victim to some mutant strain of the common cold that likely hailed from the same planet as David Hasselhoff, Hanson, and Hyperion Bay. Sure, all the usual symptoms were there, while my voice was not. On top of it all, my temperature measured no less than 103.5. And my mom wasn’t home.
My friend and I had been promising all week to take our friend’s nine-year-old sister Kelsey to the mall to try on tiaras and clothes and apply makeup at the Clinique counter. The last thing I was going to do was let this little girl down.
I finally managed to get out of bed at around ten and scavenged through the downstairs medicine cabinet until I found some over-the-counter cold medicine that promised to reduce fever as well as relieve a sore throat. I took two, and went back upstairs to take a shower. Forty-five minutes later, my fever had been reduced to 102.6. Deciding this wasn’t low enough, I proceeded to take two Advil. Half an hour later, with a temperature of 102 and my friend coming any moment, I took a pair of Tylenol.
I didn’t realize anything was wrong at first, although I warned my friend when she arrived that I had taken a large amount of drugs. However, as we stood in Kelsey’s living room, promising her father that we’d have her home between three and four that afternoon, I realized that I was gripping the banister behind me just to stay standing.
We stopped back at my house to get my purse, and by this time my mother was home. I showed her the grand total of pills I had taken in the last hour and a half, then sank onto the floor in the middle of my kithcen while she called Poison Control. As it turned out, I was not going to die as I’d been insisting I would. With the instruction NOT to take any more medicine. I was sent on my way.
By the time we got to UTC, I was feeling better, but I had realized something. I was forced to admit that, no matter how grown up I think I am, no matter how legal my driver’s license may be, no matter how little time I have left before “the rest of my life” becomes my life, I still need my mom.