Yes, I actually did catch mono in High School. I think I got it from my first (serious) boyfriend? Regardless of where-the-hell I got it from, I did have to deal with the stigma of being ostracized by my ill-informed friends who actually thought the disease WAS much more serious than it is. I also had to do a lot of reading up on it to calm my own fears.
Fun fact: did you know most people contract (and develop an immunity to) mono from their parents when they are very, very young? It often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as something else because of its similarity to other childhood diseases. Here’s another fun fact: I’ve never had the chicken pox! My brother did, and we played together a whole lot while he was still super-contagious, so I don’t know if I have the weirdest immune system on the planet or if I just got lucky. Either way, if you never hear from me again after I publish this page, all it means is that government officials have kidnapped me and are testing my antibodies for top-secret military applications. Enjoy the story!
Ahsley was checked out of school one Monday morning to go to the doctor because her most recent sore throat had swollen the glands in her neck to the size of golf balls, and her mother became paranoid and sook professional care.
“Well, we ran a blood test on the 3 1/2 pints of blood we took from you, but turns out we didn’t have enough to complete the test.” Dr. Daviz said, pulling out a gallon-sized drum with a pump on the top and a hose with a big long needle attached to it. Ahsley fainted.
“Ahsley, are you awake?” Dr. Daviz asked, his big face and thick coke-bottle glasses stuck right in her face. She came to with a start.
“Well, it’s nice to see you’re re-joined the land of the living,” Dr. Daviz said cheerily. “By the way, you have Mono.”
Ahsley fainted again.
Back at school, at lunch, Ahsley broke the news to her closest friends, Kym and Jeniffer. They immediately scooted three feet away from her.
“Aww guys, come on,” Ahsley whined. “It’s not like I have something deadly, like AIDS or something!”
“But you DO!” Kym boomed, pointing at her with contempt and fear.
“Ohmigod, I have AIDS? Noooooo!” Ahsley cried.
“No, not AIDS!” Kym clarified, “A deadly disease.”
“Oh,” Ahsley said pouting.
“You’re a freak Ahsley! We can never look at you the same way again!” Jeniffer cried from her far away position.
“Well, it can’t be THAT bad, can it?” She asked pleadingly.
“Oh yes, yes it can!” Kym shouted. “Didn’t you see that episode of Fuhlicity?”
“The show on the WB about collage kids in between Dawson’s Kreec and Populer?”
“Yeah, that one. Well anyway, they needed to get rid of a bunch of minor characters so they wrote it into the script that they had mono and they all died!” Kym told exasperatedly.
“Ohmigod, I’m gonna die, I’m gonna DIE!!!” Ahsley wailed.
“It’s okay Ahsley, we’ll be there for you…from a safe distance,” Kym consoled.
“Nice knowin’ ya. See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya.” Jeniffer added.
That day after school, Ahsley met up with her good friend Micheal.
“Hey Ahsley, what’s up?” He asked, concerned, He thought she looked sad.
“I’m gonna die from mono,” she sobbed. Micheal started chuckling. “What’s so funny?” she scowled.
“You can’t die from mono,” he told her, holding back laughter.
“Kym told me I could. She said that’s what happened to the people on Fuhlicity.”
“Well, that’s what you get for believing what you see on the WB.” he laughed. He gently led her up off the floor and headed towards the library. Then he took her to the Big-Ass dictionary sitting on a big-ass table in the middle of the small room.
“Look up Mononucleosis,” he instructed her.
“What’s Mono-nuckle-whatsis?” She asked, confused.
“It’s the long name for mono. Go ahead, start at the M’s.”
twenty-three minutes and six paper cuts later, Ahsley read the definition aloud:
“Also glandular fever, an acute disease of humans, caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Its mode of transmission is not known, but may be facilitated by saliva exchange, as in kissing. The disease, which attacks chiefly adolescents and young adults, usually runs its course in two to four weeks, although cases may be as brief as a week or last six to eight weeks. After recovery, weakness may continue for several months. Mononucleosis is characterized by fever, sore throat, fatigue, malaise, and loss of appetite, often associated with nausea. Patients generally have swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck and elsewhere and often have an enlarged spleen.”
“See there, you’re not gonna die,” he patted her supportively on the back.
“Really? Yay!” Ahsley cheered, gently clapping her hands together. The librarian shhhed her loudly.
“Sorry,” she apologized. “But what’ll I do about my friends?” She asked, turning back to Micheal. “You and I may be smart enough to understand that I won’t die, but they wouldn’t dare question the WB.”
“Just tell them you went back to the doctor and it was a misdiagnosis.” He answered matter-of-factly.
“”Who’s Miss Diagnostics?” Ahsley asked, confused. Micheal shook his head and tisk-tisked. Then he told her an easy way to explain the situation. She did so, and her friends once again would sit by her at lunch.
A couple of weeks later, the football team had to be benched for a massive case of swollen spleens. Other than that, the world was good.