This is Chapter 12 in my history.
After the whole debacle with the professor, my college life change drastically. Instead of having stress from that situation, I had stress from teaching, working, staying alive, and I thrived on it. I was so busy that it really didn't matter that I felt socially isolated because I would not have had time to hang out with anyone anyways. But I was also starting to make life long friends at work and some of my friendships that we once strained were starting to heal.
I spent the last two terms of college insanely busy. I was living in Monmouth, student teaching in Corvallis, and working in Salem. My days were as follows...
6:30 AM - Get up, shower or do a treatment if I took a bath the night before, and get dressed
6:55 AM - Get on the road for my 30 minute drive to Corvallis. Snack on random food I grabbed while running out the door. Stop at the grocery store on my way to school and grab something for lunch.
7:30 AM - Arrive at school, get my last minute stuff together to teach or assist all day.
4:00 PM - After a long day of teaching either head home on my few days off from work or head to Salem for work. Salem was about an hour drive from Corvallis. I would get some sort of fast food to eat on my drive to hold my appetite over while I worked.
5:00 PM - Rush into work just in time to clock on. Work my over 5 hour shift running the women's department. I was a benefited team member which made me basically an assistant manager of the department. I was responsible if my manager wasn't there and spent my shift directing the department and moving constantly clearing the contents of the fitting room as I was our best "runner" in the store, something to this day I find ironic on my 50% or less lung capacity.
10:30 PM - I'd usually get out of work at this time. I would drive home, sometimes stopping at the store for a snack or dinner for that night or meals for the next day. After my nearly 30 minute drive home I'd get home and do any remaining lesson planning, treatments if I was up to it, then crash into bed.
My weekends were often filled with 8 hour shifts at work on both days, catching up on sleep, doing any lesson plans I could to get me through the week, and enjoying my own cooking after a week of processed and quick-cook foods.
Needless to say, this type of schedule would be harmful to a healthy person, but to me it was flirting with serious complications. But there honestly was no way for me to avoid the situation. I had to live in Monmouth for my low rent, I wasn't about to give up my dream of being a teacher after fighting so hard, and I needed to work at least 24 hours a week to hold on to my health insurance. As hard as it was, I was deeply proud of myself that I was able to do it. When classmates complained about how hard they worked when they were only teaching I laughed at them on the inside, wondering what they would do if they were in my position. I learned that I was more powerful than my situation, that if I really wanted something I could do it. I was stubborn, but it's the only thing that got me through.
After several months of this schedule, only weeks before graduation, my body finally started to protest the abuse that I put it through. I managed to hold off lung infections, I think through sheer willpower and grace from God, but my body needed a break and chose a very violent way to get it.
I had just wrapped up my 3 weeks of solo student teaching and had just returned to team teaching with my mentor teacher. School had let out for the day and I was spending the time after school working in the office at the paper cutter. I looked forward to my evening without work and was relaxed, when sudden, blinding pain rushed over me. It felt as if I had been stabbed in the back. I reached back to feel what was happening, but only found the tense muscles of my back. I knelt down to the floor, as waves of nausea rushed over me. My back was killing me and I could feel the muscles of my back and stomach tense. I stood up slowly, gathered my things, and willed myself to walk to my classroom where I laid down on the couch, waiting for the pain to pass.
After about 15 minutes the pain remained at high intensity. My mentor teacher saw me, noticed how poorly I looked, and sent me home. I made my way to my car in a fog of pain and used every last cell of my body to focus on the road... one more mile, one more instant, I could do it. I made it a few miles down the road where I felt the intensity of the nausea kick up. I stopped at a grocery store and rushed to the bathroom. I couldn't vomit, but I did use the bathroom, and rationalized that I was just backed up and going would make the pain better. I went out to my car, pain still gripping me. I continued my drive home, glancing at the hospital on my way, wondering if I should be driving to the ER and not home. I decided to go home, as I knew I was probably just having stomach cramps.
A few more miles down the road the waves of nausea turned into a huge crashing storm. I pulled over in the first safe place and was puking out the car door before I even got the car fully stopped. Two big heaves and my stomach was empty. I figured that I just had intense food poisoning, after all my ranch at lunch did taste funny, and I drove home, figuring the pain in my back would go away. I made it home, not even remembering the last 10 minutes of the drive. I hopped into the bath as soon as I got home, scalding my skin with the heat. The pain and tenseness in my back didn't go away. I climbed into bed, put a hot pack on my back and watched some TV. As soon as the water was hot again, I took another bath. Then to bed... and 15 hours later I awoke in bed in the same position I had passed out in. The pain was still there. A little voice in the back of my head started whispering "kidney stone". I dragged myself to my computer, looked up the symptoms. They matched me perfectly. I called my friend and we drove to Salem where I was quickly diagnosed with a kidney stone and gave heavy duty oral pain killers. I spent the next 2 days in bed, pain at a less loud roar from the drugs. The fourth day, I still had not cleared the stone and I was still in pain, but I had to go to school as we only were allowed 3 days off. I was useless, and my mentor teacher realized it, but I was still there. Finally that weekend my stone passed. It took me several days before my body recovered from such pain.
A few weeks later, college was all over, and I was off to start my adult life...