Mid-term Syndrome Part II: Stress-Induced Fever and Migraine


Being a student is a stressful business. While a moderate amount of stress can keep one’s edge sharp, a gross overdoes of stress can cripple one’s immune system. As the mid-terms encroached closer with the inevitability of an avalanche, my stress level shot through the roof. Consequently, my immune system went on strike and I got sick.

Getting a fever alone was bad enough, but getting a fever with migraine was almost more than a human mind should bear.

As I waded through my stack of notes, my headache tightened its vicious grip around my skull. It wasn’t even the clean, merciful flashes of pain I usually experience; instead, it was more like an unholy combination rusty, blunt blade of an axe and the roughest edges of sandpapers, besieging my mind in a maelstrom of pain signals. Reeling from this onslaught, I could hardly hold onto the edges of my identity, let alone cram down a two-inch-thick stack of notes.  The world seemed to have lurched to a sudden stop around me. In that frozen moment, all there were to my world was the red haze of agony with every heartbeat pounding the abrasive edges of the pain deeper into the base of my skull. I shuddered, but dared not to move for the fear of making the pain worse.

With a sinking feeling in my stomach, I could feel my fever burning up, sapping me of strength and will. The cocktail of fever and migraine was a curious mixture, twirling into a nebulous sensation that I couldn’t describe. As I was toying with the idea of how mess-up my brain chemistry must be, I realized that nebulous sensation was taking shape. Seconds later, I recognized the feeling as a gut-wrenching nausea. In contrast to the blunt-edged pounding of migraine, the fever-induced nausea was a chocking miasma of sheer misery. My thoughts scrambled and then fled as the nausea wrapped my mind in its insidious yet revolting embrace. I gagged involuntarily, which just sent up another blade of pain slicing through my skull.

The barrage of noxious feelings was still assaulting my mind ruthlessly. However, my urgency won the day—after all, the mid-term was the more pressing matter. Grunting in misery, I continued to go through my notes while drinking a lot of water (and some aspirin).

I had always assumed that studying was solely the business of the mind; however, my recent experience taught me better.  (Staying up late and skipping meals were really, really bad ideas for studying for mid-terms, speaking from personal experience).


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