Nearly Dead in Daytona: A Friendship Exam

Nearly Dead in Daytona

On the Necessity of Female Friendships


I’m a strong proponent of the “rub some dirt on it” parenting/self-help strategy. Fall down, you get back up. Get hurt, cry a little but bounce back. Get sick, go to the gym to try to sweat it out. Not always a bad strategy.

But sometimes it’s incredibly ill advised. Particularly when you are very ill and a health care professional specifically advises you not to do something.  So as we venture into the depths of the season I like to call “Everyone is coughing,” it seems time to bring up the Daytona Beach Bike Week 2005 disaster story.


Spring Break – Wooooooo!!!

The year – 2005. The destination – Daytona Beach. The special occasion – college Spring Break. The reason – movies told us we were supposed to. I was also in a not terribly thought through long-distance relationship and that’s where my boyfriend was located. (Alternate title of this blog post: “The Spring of Bad Decisions.”)

A few days before my college friends and I were supposed to fly out I came down with the bubonic plague. Or maybe it was strep throat. Whatever the illness is that closes up your throat and nasal cavities and makes you feel like you’ve been hit by 14,000 buses. It was a doozy and my “sweat it out at the gym” strategy wasn’t working.

Leading up to the trip my friends kept asking me, “Becca, do you need to sit down?” or “Becca, do you think maybe you should see a doctor?” or “Becca, anything specific you want on your headstone?” My reply was always “It’s fine.”

Finally 5 hours before our flight I called the my college infirmary just to say hi. The nurse could barely hear me over the phone because my throat was so closed up that I could only speak in a hoarse whisper and my pantomime of “I think these are my final days, but I’d really like to spend them in Florida” wasn’t translating over the phone lines. But I could hear her on the other end of the line loud and clear as she said “I strongly advise you to come see us this afternoon. You should not be getting on an airplane right now.”

What I heard? “It’s fine.”


Florida, the Sunshine Dangerously High Fever State

So I got on the plane, of course I got on the plane. By the time we landed I couldn’t croak out any syllables. I’d gone mute. We went to the grocery store to pick up some food and I bought rice. Because all that could fit down my throat were single grains of rice. Still I thought, “I’m fine.”

By night 2, little green men were dancing in my peripherals and I was walking around Florida covered in a wool blanket. So I wasn’t really fine. And ended up going to the Emergency Room, in Daytona Beach, during Bike Week. Every other person there was a biker who had either mangled themselves in a high speed race or a really intense bar fight. I was a 19 year old girl who couldn’t swallow her own saliva. Happy Spring Break!


Ride or Die Homie

My best friend, Kel, refers to what happens next as the “Ultimate Best Friend Exam.” My voice was completely gone so Kel was forced to answer all of my medical history questions. From mother’s maiden name, to allergies, to “what the hell are you doing in Florida right now?” she dominated. She was sweating bullets the whole time, but she dominated. That’s really the way to test your friendships by the way, grab your #bff and get dangerously ill in an unfamiliar location. It’s worth it.

The rest of the story isn’t that funny. They shot me up with steroids and miraculously 30 minutes later I could talk again. Yay modern medicine!

So see, it all worked out. It’s fine.


With undying gratitude to Kellyanne and the doctor with the needle full of steroids and the hope that sometime this winter you stop coughing, maybe,


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