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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

BOYLE: At-Home Healthcare


So there I was: home for the weekend, nearly 22 years old, laying shirtless with my face smushed on the family room sofa, drooling Benadryl with my arms stretched way above my head and twin cool compresses stuffed in my armpits.

It’s pretty embarrassing. Probably the most embarrassing thing ever to happen to me, actually. And this is certainly the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever been able to commit to print. But thank God I happened to be home that weekend, because being home meant I was near my mom, and being near Mom means I was going to be just fine.

My mom’s a nurse. This means health care for me works how it should work for everyone: readily available and cost effective. Care and treatment is never in doubt. I’m lucky to have my mom be a nurse, but not everyone can have such a medical savvy parent. Rather, I can only wish the health care system was designed to treat everyone else like a son or daughter in need.

Being a nurse basically means my mom is just a professional mom: kind, loving, supportive and ready to help at a moment’s notice. It’s not even because she likes helping or she’s good at helping — though, of course, she loves helping others and is great at it. Helping is so deeply embedded into her core. She strives to help people.

My mom being a nurse means my life is completely devoid of the usual headaches and pitfalls of healthcare. She always knows what to do and can always provide cursory diagnoses and treatment. She always knows what warrants a quick zip to Walgreens for an over-the-counter remedy and what deserves a power-through-every-yellow-light mad dash to the emergency room.

Obviously, not everyone’s mom can be a nurse or a doctor. But it is a shame not everyone has access to on-the-fly medical treatment and advice — especially for issues of the non-crisis variety. It is the lingering cough, the unusually stubbed toe or the possible ear infection that make life tough, and often go untreated. Or, in my case, a rather bizarre armpit situation.

Let me explain the armpit situation.

I bought a new brand of deodorant the day before on a whim, and, because my body is predisposed to smelling like a pair of leather boat shoes after a summer day of no-sock strolling, it turned out I was allergic to the new deodorant.

Yup, I’m allergic to smelling nice and emitting appropriate amounts of sweat. The result: a pair of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, searing red rashes, planted directly in my arm pits. It hurt. A lot. Trying to wear sleeves proved futile. I could barely even lower my arms at all. The pain and the shame were in a dead-heat race to see which would break my spirit first (shame won, by a hair).

Initial WebMD searches had me in a tizzy, believing some alien flesh-eating virus had started tearing through my body. Her first thought was that it was likely an allergic contact reaction due to its oddly-contained nature and size.

Now, moms are the best. Innately so, even. But my mom is the best mom. As far as which mom  I’d want to be at the bottom of the stairwell as I sauntered down seeking advice for my armpit problem, my mom is pretty high up the list.

Mom threw away her next 48 hours of busy weekend plans to diagnose, care for and comfort her very independent, very much adult-aged child as he dealt with a bizarre mini-medical crisis.

Mom: one. Alarmist internet doctors: zero.

Jokes aside, it’s the kind of knowledge and expertise that likely saved me from a trip to the doctor or the emergency room — the kind of thing that can quickly rack up bills and prove quite costly.

Instead, we buzzed over to Walgreens and scored some extra-strength Benadryl, some soothing aloe vera and several other skin-sensitive sprays and ointments for just under $20.

So, as I lay there drooling like an idiot, praying for some pain relief, my mom sat there with me the entire time. Mom’s a nurse, and she just couldn’t help herself.

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