I have an immune system of steel; I only get sick a few times a year when the seasons change, and it evaporates in a matter of days. Despite this supernatural inner strength, when I get sick it is usually 50/50 pity and legitimate virus. Even though my acting days petered out with a few supporting roles in middle school, minor illness awakens the inner diva resting inside, just waiting to come out and feebly reach a translucent hand toward a box of tissues. It started when I was five when at first congestion, I would run into my parents’ room claiming that I “couldn’t breathe” because I didn’t understand that I could also breath out of my mouth. My aversion to mouth-breathing aside, the scene marked my debut of illness-induced theater (affectionately termed “The Pain of Ames” by my parents) that I continue to dabble in to this day.
Scene change: Colgate University, Fall 2014, where the temperatures will soon be dropping faster than my inhibitions on Fraturday. My dorm room is approximately five degrees colder than the temperature outside, warranting that every part of my body be covered in Patagonia. I may be on the brink of death, but it is unclear. WebMD has diagnosed everything from post-partum depression to prostate cancer, which has only left me more confused, wondering where my prostate and/or baby are. On the upside, my performance of “sickly yet charming martyr” is worthy of an 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and potential Oscar nomination. There is no hunky actor playing the doctor who stays up all night by my bedside, with a cold compress in hand and devotion in his heart. My only supporting actor in this melodrama is a box of Emergen-C and the next episode of “New Girl.”
I am so healthy that I can actually remember each time I’ve been notably sick. I almost fainted in the Vatican because of the fever I contracted in Rome, I once lost my voice and sounded like Lindsay Lohan on a camping trip and on the last day of Lollapalooza 2013, my fanny pack was only filled with tissues. I am extremely lucky that I have been able to live most of my life uncongested, as is everyone else who doesn’t have to hear me complain about it.
In times of sickness, be it minor sniffles or bubonic plague-type deals, all I want is to be comforted. I want to suffer through a lecture class and then be promptly chauffeured back to my cozy dorm room where a tasty broth awaits me. Instead, I almost tripped over my own self-pity, and the “homemade chicken noodle soup” at Frank is devoid of liquid and is literally just chicken and noodles. Drama aside, the common cold is exactly that: common. It is a reminder that this too shall pass, with a little optimism and a lot of napping.