Typical lethargic teenagers spend hours clinging to their mouse and browsing through the mass of information on the internet. For me, homing in on the appropriate material possibly saved a life and inspired my future career in the medical field.
It‘s Friday. My tools for a relaxing night are three disconnected phone jacks, a silent house, and a bowl of chocolate fudge ice cream. Severing all ties with the rest of humanity en-sures a safe haven for precious time between me and the latest Nicholas Sparks novel. These nights are my favorite but on this one, I forget to sever all connections to civilization. Like the absent-minded peer in my Calculus class, I forget to turn off my cell phone and soon hear it chirping. Though I desperately want to remain in the concave impression of my pillow, it continues to ring.
Picking up the phone, I am greeted by hurried breaths and mumbled syllables. These whimpers belong to my friend Rachel*. Despite repeated warnings and common sense, this neophyte pill-popper took her first ephedra capsule that morning. Fol-lowing her consistently impatient nature, she felt it necessary to make a trip to the fitness club to obliterate the last few lipidic regions remaining on her fragile frame. Afterwards, dizziness, quivering limbs, and an increased heart rate beset her. Her heart rate when she called: 150 beats per minute. Two hours later: 130 beats per minute.
An eerie calm sweeps over me and I go to work. My old friend Web-MD.com tells me that when one is using amphetamines, extreme physical activity is stressful to our little blood-pumper. Rachel‘s trip to the gym could be enough to trigger a heart attack. She is also taking an MAOI for mild depression. Anti-depressants coupled with amphetamines form a hazardous cocktail. She needs to go to the emergency room, and now. Un-willing to divulge her mistake to her father, she refuses, claiming that her symptoms will eventually stop. However, her stubbornness is no match for my oratory skills and finally she complies.
Hanging up the phone, I smile. Breaking away from the keyboard, I reunite with Nicholas Sparks. My palm steadies the novel as my fingers rifle through pages. I shift uncomfortably. My source of comfort has lost its allure. -
*Name has been changed.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.