Step One: Go To Work Anyway
You are an adult now. An adult with responsibilities. If you can suck it up and make it to work when you stay out too late or drink a bottle of wine home alone watching The Bold Type, yelling at the TV that real life doesn’t work that way (no one is managing direct reports with help from their C-Level mentor slash life coach at 21), you can make it to work with a sore throat, body ache, and chills.
What else were you going to do? Be a wuss, and go to the doctor? That’s what the girls on The Bold Type would do, and they’d probably get a hug, some medicine, and a date out of it. Except you know that in real life, you’ll take a strep test, which will be negative, and your doctor will tell you to drink some Gatorade because you’re young and healthy, and this is virus, just like every other time you’ve gone to the doctor for the past three years.
Step Two: Eat Something To Make You Feel Better
Go to lunch because your eyes are burning now (maybe it’s just from staring at the computer). Linger in this complete denial that you are legitimately sick, and eat something as greasy and spicy as possible, preferably from a Chinese restaurant. When that sets off your stomach, try to “walk it off” because you’re a tough adult who can take care of herself. Finally ask your boss to go home when the pain is so intense you are physically doubled over while standing.
Step Three: Lay In Bed Wallowing In Complete and Utter Misery
Listen to some really downer indie music, or better yet, the all encompassing silence of your loneliness as you assume a fetal position. Does no one care how sick you are? You are in a LOT of pain now. This actually might be serious.
Step Four: Locate Your Laptop
It’s time to consult the all-knowing internet for medical advice.
Step Five: Plug In Your Symptoms to WebMD
Are there any symptoms you don’t have at this point? You don’t technically have a fever, but you’re clammy all over, and your eyes are STILL burning. You are literally typing in the fetal position because you’re experiencing the sharpest stomach pain EVER every few minutes. You do not cry. Big girls don’t cry. You narrow down your diagnosis to either gas pain, food poisoning, or your real doctor’s favorite, a virus.
Step Six: Stay Up All Night Worrying
This is the worst stomach pain you’ve ever had in your life. You feel like you’re dying. No one dies from gas pain. Rule out that option. Wonder what would happen if you really did die, alone, in your apartment, because you are an adult, who should be able to live alone and take care of herself, except you would really like for someone to rub your head, or your back, and tell you it’s going to be okay, and maybe bring you Gatorade, which apparently cures everything. Estimate that it would take your friends and family approximately 1.2 to 1.8 days to be concerned for your well-being when they notice your lack of social media presence and meme distribution.
At 2 a.m. consider driving to the hospital. At 2:06 a.m. consider texting your mom and asking her if you should drive to the hospital because you can’t make up your mind, and would also be mortified if you ended up being that girl who went to the hospital for gas pain. Take your chances and spend the rest of the night in bed, still in a fetal position.
Step Seven: Call Your Mom (At An Appropriate Time)
Be soothed by her voice, as someone finally expresses concern for your well-being. Reminisce about how she took care of you BOTH times you had mono. Agree to call her if things get worse (she’s offered to drive you to the hospital). She’s worried it’s your appendix, so log back into WebMD to check if that was a diagnosis you may have missed.
Step Eight: Determine A Treatment Plan (Or Not)
So we have a problem. The gas pain page told you to take a Tums, because, no shit Sherlock. But, apparently taking Tums will fuck you up if it’s your appendix, so spend an obscene amount of time debating whether Tums will help or kill you. Close the WebMD tab, and open iTunes to look for movies to distract you from your imminent death. Spend an equally obscene amount of time browsing through the foreign film section. Watch Kristen Stewart struggle with being an adult and a heart condition in Personal Shopper until your own fears and symptoms subside.