McKinley Health Center: My college mom

I could feel them residing in me once again — threatening to ruin next week. They were disgusting, exactly how the commercials portrayed them.

No. No. No. No. No.

I hate germs. More than that, I hate when they are inside of me.

On Thursday morning, I woke up with a sore throat and fever. My roommate had been sick the week before, so quite frankly, I wasn’t surprised. The weather was changing as well, so I knew it would happen sooner or later — I was just hoping for later.

Since it was my first time falling sick in college, I panicked a little. Of course I couldn’t go to class, but how would I let my teachers know?

Thus, I called the McKinley Health Center. And in all honesty, I never realized how helpful they were.

In high school, our nurses would simply check if we had a fever, and if we did, we would just go home. They never helped that much, so I was a little skeptical when calling the University’s health center.

“They’ll probably just tell me to sleep and take medicine.”

“It’ll be so much of a hassle calling them, talking to a billion different people until they finally let me talk to a nurse.”

These thoughts haunted my mind, forcing me to contemplate whether I was too sick to go to class. After a round of endless coughing, though, I decided that I was.

I scampered out of bed and Googled the McKinley Health Center phone number, then reluctantly dialed. Expecting to be on hold for a while, I sauntered back to my bed, but was surprised when a voice came on the speaker within one minute.

I chose the option of speaking to someone for 24/7 healthcare and was transferred to a line where a lady wrote down my symptoms. She informed me that a nurse would call within five minutes to direct me to their “dial-a-nurse” program, and surely enough, one did.

After asking me to do a self-examination, she advised me to gargle with hot salt water, drink lemon tea and take a specific kind of medicine — I won’t go into the dreary details of that. 

Finally, I asked the dreaded question: How should I get my teacher to excuse me? 

Based on my teacher’s syllabus, I could tell that he was strict about attendance. The syllabus mentioned that the only way a student could get out of class was via a note from the Emergency Dean.

However, the nurse informed me that I could obtain a confirmation of our phone call two days later and turn it in to my teacher to be excused. I already felt better. 

The McKinley Health Center is a great resource for students to use. It may seem inconvenient or troublesome at first, but the services and systems within the center ensure the best care for students.

Online, students can make appointments with a physician, view lab test results and even request a prescription. This saves time in case you cannot make it down to the center.

Their emergency “Dial-A-Nurse” line, whose number you can access online as well, enables students to self-diagnose and self-treat if the illness is not too serious.

The records within the system personally helped me keep track of what vaccinations I need or have received already. When I became sick, I was worried that I did not take my flu shot, but after reading my records, I was comforted knowing that I did. 

Unlike Google, McKinley’s brochures didn’t lead me to believe I had cancer, but rather pinpointed what kind of cold I had. 

Falling sick in college is awful. You have to do everything by yourself, from making soup to checking your temperature. But with McKinley as a resource, it makes the experience much less painful.

After following that nurse’s advice, I can feel the germs slowly dying — and I’m enjoying it.

Simran is a freshman in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]