It’s safe to say that grade 12 is a fairly important year – more so now then when I was in school – there isn’t a grade 13 anymore to help fix any grade 12 mistakes one might have made. I was doing OK and then just after mid-terms I started feeling incredibly tired all the time. This wasn’t the normal tiredness that often afflicts teenagers – it was a super-natural force of anti-energy and I was powerless to fight it. My mother was on my case for a couple weeks and then even she couldn’t ignore that it wasn’t like me to be this way. She took me to the doctor and he concluded that I had a pretty bad case of Mono and that all I could really do is stay home from school and sleep. Hummm... I think that can be arranged!
It was usually called ‘the kissing disease’ and I got a lot of friends trying to make fun of me about it, but I hadn’t kissed anyone recently and no one else at school ever came down with it. I got to stay home for almost an entire month! I did get some of the important assignments sent home for me to do, but for the most part, it was just me, my pyjamas and Days of Our Lives.
I was exempt from 2 final exams as well and got an extra week to take them. When I did finally take those exams, they put me in an empty, un-supervised classroom... I couldn’t resist... I took out my text books to help me out. Here’s a shocker... I did awesome on those exams! Both were credits that qualified towards the 6 that were needed for university applications – Thank you Mono! Ya, ya. Cheaters never win... or some crap like that. Don’t judge me – it’s a battlefield out there.
Anyway, after the month was up, I went back to the doctor and apparently I was fine to go back to school, but my spleen was enlarged. This is a common symptom of Mono, but mine was really, really swollen. It was actually noticeable through my body – so gross! My instructions were simple – go to school, but that’s it! No sports.
He stressed it about 3 more times before I left his office. Thanks! I think I got it; no sports!
When I got back, it was nice seeing all my friends again. A month in high school time was a like an entire season of 90210 – I missed so much! I talked to a few on the phone, but it definitely wasn’t the same. At lunch break, I finally got to see Justin; he was 6’11” of pure hotness with crystal blue eyes and a smile that set my pants on fire. I would have gladly contracted my Mono from him, but sadly my sexual liaisons with Justin occurred only in my head. We were really close friends, however. We played pick-up basketball together at lunch – I was point guard and he was my center (in more ways than one, baby). He was not hard to miss since he towered over most people at school; I saw him near the gym doors at the end of the hall. I yelled for him before he entered the gym. “JUSTIN!”
He looked over and shot me one of his million dollar smiles. “Heeeey! Look who’s finally decided to come back to the land of the living!” He ran towards me and swept me off my feet, literally. He gave me a bear hug and then threw me over his shoulder, into the fireman’s hold. A few of the other basketball guys were there and they all thought it was entertaining. Of course, I loved every second of this hands-on attention. He opened the doors that led outside and tossed me into a tall snow bank. We both had a good laugh and then we went inside together. I sat on the bench and watched them – since I was forbidden to play.
I started to feel uncomfortable later that afternoon and by the time I got home, I was hunched over it absolute agony; I could hardly walk. My mother arrived home to find me curled up in the foetal position and screaming in pain. She took me back to the hospital – she called ahead and my doctor was waiting there when I arrived. I was still crying and wincing when they put me on to the gurney.
He pursed his lips in disappointment, “You were playing sports, weren’t you! I knew it. I knnnnnew you wouldn’t listen to me.”
“No! I promise! I haven’t... Owwww! I didn’t... Ahhhhh!”
“THEN WHAT DID YOU DO TODAY?”
I really couldn’t concentrate long enough to think about what I did... and then it finally hit me... Justin’s bear hug. I told the doctor and he rolled his eyes profusely. My spleen was like an over-inflated water balloon and when Justin hugged me, it popped.
Well... in reality, it was more like a tear. I had to be admitted into the hospital and the only space they had was in the I.C.U. That part was a bit depressing, but at least they didn’t need to operate – luckily. The just had to keep me comfortable and wait it out to see if my spleen would stop internally bleeding on its own and scab over the tear. I stayed doped up on pain medication (maybe a bit more than I actually needed) and there I was... for yet another week off school... although this time I got daily phone calls from Justin (fuelled by guilt no doubt, but his concern for me was heaven) and I was back watching Days of Our Lives, which I must say, was marvellously more entertaining whilst high on Demerol.
|This is what Justin wrote on the back of his school photo for me.|