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QUARANTINED: Sick students moved to isolation rooms
Erik Dodge
Antelope Staff
Photo by Erik Dodge
Chris Meyer answers the door to isolation Room CTE 145. Meyer spent a weekend in this room with the swine flu.

When Chris Meyer decided to stay in bed to watch the Huskers play Missouri on Thursday Oct. 8, he didn’t realize he would be spending his weekend in an isolation room.

Meyer, a sophomore industrial distribution major, had been suffering from a head cold earlier in the week, and when Thursday night rolled around he didn’t even want to move.  After spending 15 hours in bed, he finally decided to visit student health to get checked out at 10 a.m.  “They do a swab test. They take a cotton swab and shove it up your nose, basically to your brain,” Meyer said.

With Meyer showing symptoms of the swine flu, he was given a choice: go home or stay in an isolation room. The catch was that he wouldn’t be allowed to drive himself home because he was running a fever. “My parents would have had to come get me. I didn’t want to make them drive here and then drive me back when I got better,” Meyer said. So he agreed to stay in an isolation room.

Meyer was taken to Room 145 in Centennial Towers East without any of his belongings. “We ask students to have a friend or roommate bring over their personal items,” associate director of health care Cindy Shultz said.

“When you walk into the isolation room it smells like a doctor’s office and there’s nothing in there,” Meyer said. The room, which does have a bathroom attached, was furnished with a bed, linens, a desk and a dresser. Someone from the front desk brought in a television and DVD player and Meyer’s roommate brought a cable cord, toiletries and clothes.

It was important for him to have some form of entertainment because he would not be allowed to leave. No one could come in and Meyer had to stay in the room. Whenever he answered the door he had to wear a mask. “Basically, I was locked in that room until my fever broke,” Meyer said.

Chartwells delivers three meals a day to the students in isolation rooms. Students have the option to receive the clear liquid meal or a normal meal with additional liquids. The staff also delivers fresh linens to the isolation room.

A flu kit is also given to students when they move into isolation. Tylenol, Ibuprofen, different kinds of cold medicine, a thermometer, masks and hand sanitizer are included in the kit. In addition the kit includes written information about how to take the medications, a list of warning signs to watch out for and information about how to prevent the spread of the flu. Shultz also gives out her mobile number and is on call 24 hours a day.

A stay in the isolation room usually lasts two to four days, but some have lasted from five to seven days, according to Shultz. In order to leave, a student’s fever must be broken for 24 hours without the aid of any medications. Meyer was able to leave on Sunday afternoon.

After spending his weekend trapped in an isolation room Meyer isn’t excited to repeat the experience. He recommends the swine flu vaccine to everyone. As for the isolation room Meyer said it was good to have a quiet room to catch up on sleep, but after being locked in for the weekend he added, “It almost felt like prison.”
   
Shultz suggested we include a link to the health care blog. This might make a nice side graphic. The url is http://unkhealthcare.blogspot.com/.

QuarantinedMeyer: Chris Meyer answers the door to an isolation room, CTE 145. Meyer spent a weekend in this room with the swine flu.
QuarantinedShultz: Cindy Shultz, the associate director of health care.
QuarantinedRoom: This isolation room has a bed, linens, a desk and a dresser. Students have to provide their own belongings for entertainment.
QuarantinedPumpkin: Even this pumpkin is wearing a mask, outside of the student health office. Students can receive the H1N1 vaccine here for free.

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