It Happened to Me: I Spent Five Minutes in LAX NCA and Now I Have a Massive Ulcer

Picture this: it is your second weekend on The Hill. You and your friends have just skillfully finessed your way into LAX NCA, where the music is loud, the heat is oppressive, and some sophomore is dry-heaving into a bag of Doritos. You stay for a few minutes — just long enough to acquaint yourself with the entire first floor of Gund — before receding back into the tepid womb that is your first-year dorm. 

Upon waking up the next morning, you feel different. Perhaps, you suppose, you’re a changed woman — perhaps last night’s sweaty pilgrimage finally transformed you into the poised, self-sufficient, borderline emaciated Kenyon girl that you’ve always aspired to be. 

As it turns out, you’ve just developed a massive ulcer.

Now, at this point, you may be wondering what prompted this untimely dilemma. Was this NCA just a bacterial breeding ground, or did the thing grow from the anxiety that comes with spending five minutes in a house full of D-3 athletes? Who’s to say, really? All I know is that I woke up that morning with a plague-like cyst on the inside of my mouth, and that it hurt like a bitch. 

After watching me spend an uncharacteristic amount of time crying into our carpet, my beloved roommate offered to accompany me to the Health Center. Teary-eyed, I reminded her that it was a Saturday — off-hours for Kenyon’s medical professionals — and, besides, who needs a public health expert when Web MD practically gives you the date and time of your own death? For safety purposes, I scheduled an appointment for Monday morning, and thus began my brief adventure with the vile thing. 

After popping five Ibuprofen and tentatively naming the ulcer “Bethany,” I went about my everyday life. I went to Peirce. I ate the mysterious Peirce green beans. I made a thoughtful comment in my Sunday night AT session. I passed Moxie on middle path and tactfully resisted the urge to drop-kick him. At this point, I began to believe that Bethany was making me a better person — that our relationship was more than that of a girl and her medical emergency. Perhaps, in fact, I was a changed woman; perhaps Bethany was inevitable, and I was better off for having had her.

On Monday morning, the pain had almost totally subsided — and the health center provided me with enough informative pamphlets to make me question my sanity. And, though she has now departed from this Earth, Bethany lives on in my heart. This weekend, if you find yourself at LAX NCA, I encourage you to pour one out for Bethany — the septic companion I didn’t know I needed.

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