tummyache tips

If you find yourself sending the following e-mail to students:

[Student A], [Student B]:

I woke up this morning feeling really sick to my stomach. I thought it was something that would pass, but it hasn't passed yet. So, [A], I'm sorry for being so last minute about this, but the pain is so acute at the moment that I don't think I can walk up to campus to meet. We'll need to reschedule (and [B], if you don't hear more from me, us too). More when this subsides enough that I can think clearer.


You might consider the possibility that it is appendicitis, and that perhaps rather than staring at your monitor thinking “When is this going to pass? I’ve got writing to do!,” you should Uber yourself to the emergency room, stat. Because getting to the emergency room is just the start of a long waiting process to see the doctor, and you can’t get any pain medication before that happens, so by the time that happens you will have exhausted your mental inventory of theistic-like entities from known religions that you can beg and bargain with, should they exist, to make this horribly painful queasy painful pain in your stomach go away?

Also, I had sort of imagined an appendectomy was a minor deal, akin to having an ingrown toenail taken care of, only with anesthesia. And while it is minor compared to other things that happen on an operating room table, it turns out that basically anything that doctors need to render you unconscious and put you on an operating table for is going to be a big deal in terms of how you will feel shortly afterward. Four cheers for scientific advances in pain medication, is all I have to say.

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

One thought on “tummyache tips”

  1. Somewhat different but in a way the same mindset, when I was at home in labor with my second child, and it was the wee hours of the morning and my husband kept falling asleep from exhaustion (it was a long slow labor and there was the older child to deal with as well), I somehow imagined that it was under my control to delay the birth until it was late enough that it would be a more convenient time. I had the baby 12 minutes after getting to the hospital, in the ER. I think there are situations in which we falsely imagine that our minds can control our bodies.

    Liked by 1 person

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