Today you saw me using my locker in the lab buildings at university. The ones that we aren’t meant to have on long term loan and get emptied out after each session. You saw me putting the key back on my lanyard, putting my lab coat, folder and some other bits into it, shutting the door and walking out. I heard you mentioning to your friends how unfair it is that I get to have that locker and nobody else can. Well, let me explain to you a bit about why I have that locker.
I have a couple of health problems. Brittle Asthma, Adrenal Insufficiency, Diabetes, Supraventricular Tachycardia (in other words, my heart goes a bit stupid fast sometimes) and have had to have both hips replaced and am waiting on shoulder surgery. I also have a couple of life threatening reactions. So, needless to say, I have to carry a fair amount of extra medications around with me. I’m not actually in uni right now, cause I’m in hospital following a life threatening exacerbation of my asthma. Oh yea, please stop spraying your deodorant in the halls, it’s making my life difficult. Cheers. But this is about half of what is normally kept in my locker at uni. It’s what I like to call my “Get out of jail free” kit. It’s basically the stuff that if it really came down to it, would keep me alive. Sounds dramatic, but it’s kind of true. What you see is my epipen for when I react to the balloons that are currently all over the student union or have a massive asthma attack that goes from 0-100 in 5 seconds, my steroid injection kit (because we all need to look like Hulk, right? Or my body has decided to stop producing it’s own steroids and has chucked a fit at the idea of having to, so I have to carry artificial means around with me incase I get put under a lot of physical stress and need a boost quickly), some nebulisers to stop my airways from closing up when I have a reaction to your deodorant, some cereal bars for when my blood sugars go dangerously low and I start getting grumpy and confused, and then that little orange tin has a lot of tablets in it like more steroids, paracetamol (yes, even we need the paracetamol sometimes, it’s not just a fuck off pill), anti-histamines, diazepam and some anti sickness. It really does start to add up. And that’s not including the device I have to carry around to use my nebules in, it’s about the size of a CD walkman by the way (if you remember those?) or my blood sugar testing kit.
So I have to carry a lot around in my rucksack. Don’t forget as well that I’m waiting on surgery on my shoulder, so carrying a heavy bag can add to the pain I get there. And in my hips which have both been replaced. Add into that normal uni stuff like books, notepads, pencil case, a drink and then whatever other crap I have in my bag (I found thai baht in there the other day), It gets heavy. It also means if I manage to forget something important, that I’m not stuck in uni without a rather important medication or piece of equipment. I like to keep spares there incase something like that happens. I think that’s fair, wouldn’t you say? But I know that “It’s really unfair that there’s one rule for one person, and another for everyone else” and I would totally agree with you that they should provide us all with lockers. But there’s about, what, 3000 people at our university? You planning on putting those lockers in the….? I would gladly give you my health problems if it meant I didn’t need to use a locker. I know you didn’t mean it in a nasty way, or at least I hope you didn’t. But can you see now why I don’t like having to carry a heavy lab coat, my folders and lab stuff around with me all day after a lab? And why I do need to have a locker? It’s not just for my deodorant and make up, it’s kind of important.