What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Tired, Injured, and Diseased

by 10:47 PM 0 comments
This week, I woke up with a bad case of stomach flu. It started at about 6:30 AM; I feltlike someone was kicking me in the stomach. About five minutes later, I was running full speed towards the bathroom. As the remains of the Subway sandwich I ate for dinner the night before re-emerged through my mouth, I thought 'maybe this is how Jared did it!' and then I started crying/laughing and hydrochloric acid went up into my nostrils. (Too much information? I lived it, I'm sure you can live through reading it.)

The next eight hours were more of the same. I lost eight pounds in liquid! Wow! After that, I was pretty much just dragging my fatigued, under-nourished, dehydrated self from the bed to work and back for two days.

Another thought that crossed my mind when I was feverish enough to think the Jared thing was hilarious was that old saying, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!"

This was not the first time this type of thing has happened to me. I've had food poisoning twice in Mexico that I can remember. I had a flu at the same time my wisdom teeth were taken out that was really similar, and I remember getting one when I was in Elementary school. And I had mono, which was actually much more serious than this turned out to be. I pretty much know how these things go, and yet, it hurts just as much each time as if I were five years old and I'd never had this experience before. Each time I've gotten stomach flu, which WebMD tells me is actually called gastroenteritis but whatever(!), I haven't died, nor have I gained any strength.

When does 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' apply? I guess weightlifting is the most obvious example, unless you injure yourself or get rhabdomyolysis. Actually, I don't think that even coming close to death during exercise is a good idea. I guess a better motto for weighlifters would be "what doesn't hurt you except a little bit in a good way makes you stronger." Solved!

Another way that this phrase is supposed to work, but doesn't, is break-ups. I think it's applied to that situation pretty often because of 1. the Kelly Clarkson song 'What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger' and 2. the fact that when I googled the phrase, a bunch of sad pictures of flowers came up, like a lone dandelion in a field and so forth. From life experience, I have come to observe that people who are repeatedly dumped aren't stronger than those who aren't. Actually, it tends to make them insecure and depressed. But it's okay, guys, because I made a poster for them, too!

Other things that haven't made me stronger, despite the fact that I've been through them repeatedly and they were unpleasant:
           *Rejection letters
           *Uncomfortable social situations
           *Cuts on my hands from slicing vegetables
           *Midterms and Finals

But I will say this: all of these crappy things have given me perspective. This time that I got gastroenteritis, I wasn't scared that I would die, or amazed at how much pain I was in. I wouldn't say I'm any stronger for it, but I do know the drill. So, I would like to amend the aphorism: "What doesn't kill you will offer you perspective." Not as catchy, but much more accurate in my opinion.

Marina Gafni

Marina Gafni is a 28-year-old speech pathology student. She lives with her husband in San Jose, CA.


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