I had an interesting start to our experiment, to say the least. The day we started filling the mesocosms, I started getting sick. I had flu like symptoms with a fever, chills, and a sore throat and there was nothing for me to do except sleep and hope to recover quickly. I was unable to help with the filling of the mesocosms and I was “banned” from the dock so I could rest. After a few days, I was not getting better and I decided it was necessary for me to visit a doctor at the local hospital, Peace Island Medical Center. It was very likely I had strep throat, so I was prescribed penicillin to take for the next 10 days. Unfortunately, day 2 of taking it, I had an allergic reaction and had to be driven to the emergency room at Peace Island Medical Center. I arrived with a swollen mouth and tears in my eyes and I was admitted immediately into the hospital without having to wait a single minute, which had never happened to me before. I was given fluids, steroids, and Benadryl to get rid of my allergic reaction and after a few hours I was feeling so much better. The following day, I felt way better than I had felt in awhile and I am now finally feeling like myself and back to normal.
The hardest part of being sick was not being able to be with the group watching over the mesocosm filling and missing the first day of sampling. I felt behind before we even started the experiment; however, I was able to rest easy because of the concern and support of the other students and staff. Everyone stressed how easy it would be for anyone to catch me up when I was ready to get back in the field. After only spending time in my room and the dining hall for five days, I was able to get out on the dock and learn how the sampling madness works. I am still learning and catching up with what I missed, but our team has made this tough time so much easier for me. I could not ask for a better group of individuals to be working with and I am looking forward to spending the next eight weeks studying, researching, and growing with everyone