Saturday, March 27, 2010

The UNCLEAN roommate

I have a friend whose son attends a University with a fairly strict residency requirement and housing rules. Once you get to know a few like-minded pals, this policy is not much of a problem. But for first year students, it is kind of potluck when it comes to compatible roomies. You fill out a form and check off a few characteristics about yourself, but in the end it is too much to expect that every match will be a perfect fit.

Such is the case for my friend’s kid. His son is fairly studious and so is the roommate, BUT the roommate cannot stand to have anyone else distracting him in the dorm room. As you can imagine, this makes for some uncomfortable tensions among the new roommates that are FORCED to live together in close quarters. Since University policy prevents midterm roommate switching, my friend’s son simply endures by studying in the closet or at the library, anxiously awaiting next year and a more flexible roommate.

During Spring Break, my friend’s kid did some outreach volunteer work with his new Fraternity. It was a chance for the Frat to bond and complete a service project at the same time. The service chores included cleaning restrooms, kitchens,normal household chores, and small carpentry projects. At the end of the week, the kid returned to the dorm but was lethargic and unusually sleepy.

Once the persnickety roommate returned, he found my friend’s son to be running a fever and showing signs of a rash. Over the next two days the rash would grow to a bright crimson in patches all over. My friend’s kid sought medical attention of course but no one understood what was happening (Where is Dr. HOUSE when you need him?). After a couple of days of testing, the symptoms were finally diagnosed as an irritating form of Coxsackie virus but fully treatable with antibiotics and steroid creams. It was assumed that the kid had picked up the nasty bug in the latrine cleaning the prior week.

As the rash ran its course, the sick kid’s skin would dry out, flake, and peel away in chunks especially around the feet and hands. Needless to say, the touchy roomie was now legitimately afraid of BEING TOUCHED and contracting something akin to leprosy. So he started staying at home instead of the dorm hoping he had avoided the virus. He was much nicer though and would offer water and verbal comfort whenever around, but always made a hasty retreat from the dorms as soon as possible.

My friend’s son is doing fine and is on the road to full recovery. He has NEVER been happier with his current University living arrangements. But it's that strict school policy that requires the Freshman to wander the dorm halls at night screaming, ‘UN-CLEAN, UN-CLEAN!’ - that rule is still a bit of a burden!

No comments:

Post a Comment