Stylized line drawing of mark playing the flute

Tales of woe in the college health center

I attended Lewis & Clark College from 1994–1998 so these stories may not reflect the L&C Health Center of today. I really hope they don’t

I went to the L&C Health Center a handful of times. Mostly for winter colds and once to get all of my vaccinations before heading to Ecuador.

I don’t know why I bothered going. They only offered two options for illness.

They’d take a urine sample to run tests which would find nothing. Or they’d give you a pamphlet of home remedies for colds (running a saline solution through your nose, that sort of thing). Forget about antibiotics or anything useful.

Here are three stories that sum up the health center experience:

You’re pregnant

My friend Amee went to the clinic because she’d been fighting a nasty cold for several weeks. Her conversation with the woman at the clinic went something like this.

Amee: I don’t feel well. I’ve been coughing with some nausea for a couple of weeks now.

Woman: You’re probably pregnant. Let’s do a pregnancy test.

Amee: I’m positive that’s not it. What else can we try?

Woman: No, you’re definitely pregnant.

Amee: But I’ve never had sex with anyone!

Woman: We won’t do anything else until we rule out pregnancy.

They could’ve given me the benefit of the doubt

I went in once, also for a persistent cold. They took a urine sample and sent me back to the waiting room.

When they called me back, they asked if I had masturbated recently because the sample was β€œcontaminated” and they couldn’t run the tests. They weren’t wrong, but I wish they’d at least asked if I’d had sex instead.

It’s not that bad

My friend Casey went to the clinic with extreme stomach pain and vomiting. They told him he had food poisoning from the cafeteria and sent him back to his room.

After a couple more hours, he was in so much pain that he went back. They still insisted it was food poisoning and there was nothing they could do.

Finally, at 3am, he was in such agony that he had a friend drive him to the ER where he was diagnosed with acute appendicitis. It had been so long that his appendix had ruptured and he had to have a lengthy surgery. He spent weeks walking around campus with an open wound on his abdomen so it could drain.