The very first anime convention I ever attended was a small affair; I went with a group of my high school friends. We all dressed up as our favorite anime characters, or at least, passing impersonations. My closest girlfriend wasn’t feeling very well that day. She said she had a sore throat, and was exhausted, but we’d all bought tickets and she was determined not to miss out on the fun times we were all going to have. I took it at face value, which is to say, felt passingly sorry for her and promptly forgot that she wasn’t feeling well, and might, in fact, be contagious.
We shared a hot chocolate and slice of cheesecake for lunch (we were sixteen, it’s what sixteen year old girls have for lunch when left to their own devices), using a single straw and spoon between the two of us. That, I fully believe, was my fatal mistake.
Within twenty four hours, my tonsils had nearly tripled in size. Every swallow, cough, wheeze, sneeze, or even thought of moving my throat was utter and total agony. I would cough as weakly as possible without choking myself and black out for a moment from the pain; yawning proved to be an exercise in physiological torture as my body turned on itself in a loop of yawn-choke-cough-die.
My mom was, obviously, fairly concerned. After trying and failing to get me to eat or drink anything, she herded my thoroughly miserable self into the car and took me to the Urgent Care extra Las Vegas to get check out. The nurses on duty were shocked by my condition and my mom’s account of how quickly it had come on. Actually, the fact that I was visited by so many nurses makes me think now that I was being put on show for their benefit—‘and here we have exhibit A, an absolutely stunning example of streptococcus, otherwise known as strep throat…’—and less for the immediate improvement of my health.
After determining that there was absolutely zero chance of my managing to swallow anything, be it pill or gentle liquid, the doctor on duty at Urgent Care extra Las Vegas decided that what I needed was a full shot of penicillin post-haste. Delivered, naturally enough, via one of the major muscle groups in the body: my posterior. I was the grumpiest, whiniest, teariest patient that can be imagined for the duration of the visit, even with promises of numbing spray and pain pills and steroids to take down the swelling. It was the most awful, vindictive sickness I have ever experienced, and even with the skilled help and care of the staff at Urgent Care extra Las Vegas, I spent the next week in a haze of fever and painkillers.
Lesson learned, of course: never will I ever share eating or drinking utensils with anyone ever again, for any reason, especially if they have complained about any kind of sore throat in the most recent six months. Not worth it. So, so not worth it.