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  • Writer's pictureolivia perreault

From the stage to the ER: Graduation 2017

Graduation day did not go exactly as I had planned.

When I woke up, I felt great - I had just cleaned out my beach house for the final time and someone in front of me in the drive-through at Dunkin Donuts even paid for my breakfast. I had a good feeling about the day, and when I pulled into the University of Rhode Island for the final time, I felt tears stinging my cheeks.

After meeting with my parents, I received an honors sash and things started going down from there. While making my way to the Main Ceremony, my sash went flying off somewhere in the wind and throughout the long, tiresome speeches, I felt the sun burning through my unflattering black gown. A few days prior, I had been sunburned pretty bad and due to my lack of water, felt like I was going to pass out. I was determined to make it through this ceremony though - and began chugging two, three, four, five bottles of water in a row so the same feeling wouldn't happen again.

I took my gown off and used my cap as a fan. I rearranged my position in the chair. I even tried to use the gown as an umbrella to shield me from the sun, but nothing seemed to be helping. Finally, when my name was called to walk across the stage, I proudly yet wobbly made my way to the other side. For once in my life I actually didn't feel like taking a cute picture, but instead drank more water and sat inside my mom's air conditioned car.

It wasn't until my boyfriend, best friend and I were on the way to meet our parents at a fancy restaurant in Greenwich, Rhode Island that I started to feel uneasy. I could feel my arm going numb, my throat closing, and the world around me start to get hazy. Frantically, we pulled into a Dunkin to get food and a gas station for a Gatorade, but nothing was helping. I frantically threw my uneaten bagel on the floor and asserted my boyfriend to pull over on the side of the road. This was unlike anything I've ever felt before - I was passing out.

Thankfully, within three minutes, the ambulance arrived. There's a first time for everything, right? Inside, I explained what was happening through my heavy breathing and asked probably a thousand questions to the EMTs. After a stressful ride to the hospital and patiently waiting on a stretcher to get my own room, I was told that I was extremely dehydrated to the point that I had depleted all fluids in my system. My legs and arms were shaking and numb, I had chills, and I was incredibly thirsty. Only after being pumped with two full bags of fluid did I start to feel better.

Although I must have had gallons of water pumped into me, I still did not feel great. For the next two weeks, I moped around the house and often endured numbness throughout my body. After multiple rounds of blood work, results showed that I was recovering from Mono, which I apparently had in my system a couple of weeks beforehand. My guess? I had Mono from the stress of the last few weeks of school. Dammit, college.

Finally, I'm starting to feel somewhat normal again and although I'm not laughing yet, I'm sure this will all be a great story to tell one day. My advice? Don't stress yourself out so much, because in the end, it'll all work itself out. Oh, and drink lots of water.

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