Sometimes I feel like Health Services doesn’t exist in the human realm. Every time that I walk through their uselessly heavy doors, I feel myself being transported to another universe. One where, presumably, the definition of what constitutes “helpful medical advice” are far laxer.
I visited Health Services this week because I had body aches, a headache, a sore throat, and nausea. The doctor that came into see me asked if I had tried taking Tylenol. “Yeah, a couple hours earlier, but it didn’t really help,” I mustered, millions of viral particles exploding from my orifices with every syllable. She looked me up and down, a pensive glint in her eye, and said “Well, you know what, taking Tylenol is probably the only thing you can really do right now. Oh, and drink more water.” With this sage advice, I was ushered out — a few disposable thermometers thrust into my hand, the door slamming behind me.
Now, I know what you might be thinking: Maybe Tylenol really was the only thing that would help you. After all, viral infections can be hard to treat after the fact, so you really have no business telling a medical professional how to do their job. Now ordinarily, I would undoubtedly agree with you, but there’s simply one unavoidable issue — I’ve been to Health Services around twelve times over three years at Brown and I’ve never been prescribed anything other than Tylenol. Not once. Not once in three, immunocompromised, years. And usually, I already have Tylenol at home, so I don’t even get to experience the small joy of waiting in line at the pharmacy — a complete rip-off.
If I’m being honest, I’m a bit of a Health Services regular. I’ve been there for sprained ankles, hypothermia (sorta), yeast infections, conjunctivitis, to say hi to my favorite nurse Janice, and just to hang out. I know my way around Health Services. Yeah, I don’t have the best immune system, which is probably something to do with eating Smartfood white cheddar popcorn for breakfast lunch and dinner, but I digress. You’d think that at least once, my illness would call for something other than Tylenol, but my doctors don’t seem to agree. I’ve walked in complaining about hemorrhoids to be sent back home with and a box of the T-good and a hearty slap on the back. Over the years I’ve become more and more convinced that my prescription has less to do with what the illness calls for, and more to do with the fact that Health Services is literally unable to prescribe any other drug.
My revelation led me to even more questions: first and foremost, why are they doing this? Are they under the thumb of Big Pharma? Are they committed to the misery of Brown students for no reason other than their own pleasure? Are the doctors in actuality just three elves stacked upon one another that simply do not have the medical credentials to offer anything stronger than over the counter relief? Are the employees there just trying their best to deal with cranky, sickly, college students? Who knows! Probably the elf thing, though.