Imprisoned in the back of sophomore Alison Heade’s throat for a record amount of time during a class on Monday, a singular cough successfully elevated from lowly “reflex” status to “commanding immediate medical attention” status within mere hours.
“I used to cough whenever I needed to, but I felt the white-hot wrath of hundreds around me,” Alison reported via Zoom, since no reporter wanted to get within a 500 foot radius of her. “I get a COVID test regularly. I can’t say for sure that I haven’t been exposed since testing negative yesterday though… Well, I know I don’t have it. I don’t, right? I— I just needed to cough super badly and I was able to suppress it for two and a half hours, so that means I can’t have it! I don’t! I just needed to cough, and now I have a serious heart issue. People should be happy that I saved them from possibly being exposed to whatever I have, though I know it’s not COVID.”
Other students in the 160 person lecture hall didn’t appear as grateful for Heade’s sacrifice as she may have hoped.
“Well, of course she should’ve held the cough in for that long. I mean, I’ve done it myself for even longer! It’s just etiquette,” said Zack Elfrone, when pressed about the heroism of the cough-holding. “My right lung may have collapsed; I may or may not have permanent damage to my spinal cord from the force of withholding various bodily impulses, but it’s just proper form.”
Clinician and Tang Center contractor Meer Kate, M.D, seems to agree.
“I mean, COVID has changed everything, now. Sure, we’re getting a huge influx of internal bleeding issues, exploded brains, that sort of thing— but within these lecture halls, the psychological comfort of not hearing a cough takes precedence over any other possible health problem,” Dr. Kate explained. “If you feel the need to cough, I would hope you feel a great burden of shame and consequently responsibility to keep your disgusting germs away from the other innocent students in your lecture hall. It’s really all you can do.”
Per CDC guidelines, experts absolutely condone holding in any coughs, sneezes, farts, or other bodily functions for as long as possible to avoid potential uncomfortable or awkward situations, no matter how gross they may be.