Pandemic brings new perspective
The coronavirus pandemic has gotten me to thinking about January 1984, when I was a sophomore at then-Hollins College. I had felt fine and energetic, when one morning I woke up tired and having chills. By nightfall, things were worse: I was out of my head. My best friend called Security to take me to the infirmary.
My temperature was 103 degrees. The night nurse got to work, plying me with aspirin, but my fever wouldn’t budge.
The college doctor thought I had a bad case of the flu, but the labwork showed negative. Then, he surmised I had mononucleosis, then meningitis. I was placed in strict quarantine.
My fever remained high, I was sick to my stomach, and I had no appetite. The doctor was baffled!
A week or so later, after being pumped with aspirins and antibiotics, my fever broke. I began to feel better, and was de-quarantined. The doctor told me that he had been considering releasing me to a hospital.
In the 1980s, a mysterious meningococcal-like illness was killing previously healthy college-age people in the Roanoke area. Could I have been so infected, but one who lived to write about it, after all these years?
— Angela Watkins, a reader in Natural Bridge Station
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