The Path to Royalty

So remember last week when I made a post about how well I thought I was doing? Ha, funny story. Just so happened that last Saturday at about 3 in the morning, my long awaited third kidney stone worked its way out of me. I took some pain medicine and was able to fall back asleep for another couple hours, but it wore off quickly and I ended up in the ER around 6 in the morning.

For those who have not experienced kidney stone pain, you’ve got it good. The pain’s so bad that I usually end up vomiting from it.

So there I was, pajama clad and pale faced, shuffling into the thankfully empty ER with my dad. Things moved much quicker than the ER I went to for my second kidney stone.

I answered questions like:

  • You’ve been vomiting?
  • Have you been out of the country?
  • Have you been in close contact with people who have been out of the country?
  • Is there any possible chance that this is Ebola?
  • Are you sure it can’t be Ebola?

No. I live under a rock. I live under so much of a rock that one decided to form in my right kidney.

I got hooked up to some sweet pain and anti nausea meds and half watched the original Children of the Corn. My nurse was surprised when I had said that I had never seen it before, but then he checked my wristband and said, “Oh, you’re only 21! You’re just a baby.”

I had a CT scan soon after that. They believed me when I said that it was most likely a kidney stone, but they had to check for anything serious. Turns out the stone was 8 mm big. If it was 10 mm, they would’ve had to “go in and get it”.

Their words, not mine.

Then I went back to my room in the ER and fell asleep for another few hours until they sent me home with basically a prescription for fancy Tylenol. Only pain specialists can prescribe anything decent now.

I spent the rest of the weekend resting for this past week. I was running for homecoming queen and I was determined to make a good run of it. It’s not really something I would’ve normally done on my own, but I had the immediate support of my friends when I mentioned I had been nominated.

Sunday, I worked putting together fliers that said, “Vote Lauren Otto for Homecoming Queen” with different types of candy taped onto each one. Lord knows how many of those I ended up making by the end of it. It took me most of the day since I had to lay down and take breaks.

Monday was campaign day. I only had one class in the morning, so I basically had the rest of the day to pass out the candy fliers. Standing out there and interacting with people cost me way more spoons than I would’ve ever thought, but I somehow managed to pass out all of them. (For those who don’t know what I’m talking about when I say “spoons”, look up The Spoon Theory) My lovely campaign manager was a huge help in getting people over to my table to talk to me. But by the end of it, I was running on fumes and pain medicine. Since I had run out of fliers, I decided to go out and get more candy for fliers for Tuesday. I think I made even more the second time around in maybe a quarter amount of time. I had a rhythm going while I was listening to an audiobook of Moby Dick. 

Way to stay true to my English major roots, huh?

Tuesday, I passed out fliers to people I either just so happened to pass by or had class with. I didn’t realize how big of a chunk of people that was until the end of the day when my candy flier bag was completely empty again. I have four classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and generally run into the same people during my lunch break, too. But I was done campaigning and began to pester my friends that I knew were procrastinators. After a relaxing night under the stars and finally getting to see Guardians of the Galaxy, the voting period was over.

Wednesday was when things really began. This was when we found out who the winners would be in the freshman, sophomores, and juniors. The seniors would be cut down to top three positions based on their votes as well. I didn’t really have my hopes too high, just in case. I didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment. There were three guys running, so they automatically went to the finals. However, there were six girls. Half of us would be cut from the ranks. As we were paraded in front of the congregation of students, I almost felt as if this was the Hunger Games. Minus the death.

Maybe with the death still squeezed somewhere in there. Emotional death?

Being a senior, waiting was the hardest part. Choosing the court was the last thing on the program and, obviously, the seniors were the last to go. Eventually, all nine of us were lined up on the stage. A joke was cracked about how all the guys would go through. It was the girls’ turn to have nominees called.

First name was called. Knew it. Saw it from a mile away.

Second name was called. My eyes began to wander around the audience.

Third name was called. Wait a second… THAT’S MY NAME! I was a finalist! I couldn’t believe it. I felt myself make the weirdest face of surprise, but I stepped forward and took it in stride. None of us would know who won until Saturday’s halftime show.

Now let me do for y’all what I didn’t have the liberty for myself, fast fowarding to Saturday’s halftime. The freshman, sophomore, and junior winners and the senior finalists were dressed up to the nines. I was even wearing wedges, even though I knew my feet would be killing me. We lined up on the far side of the field probably a bit earlier than we needed to, so that obviously gave me some time to nervously dance to the band.

The dancing mostly involved minor arm movements and swaying. Nothing too fancy.

We paired up and all walked to our marks. Each of the winners and finalists had a brief biography of their accomplishments read about them. Mine was a bit shorter when it came to overall school involvement, but looking back, I probably could’ve added more things to my original court application. Oh well.

The seniors had two possible winning couples: prince and princess, then king and queen. I watched the officials prepare the orange bouquets of flowers, sashes, and crowns. They got the band to start a literal drum roll.

The prince’s name was called and he walked forward, but looked lost. He was the only one who hadn’t made it to the practice.

Then the princess’s name was called. It was my name! I walked forward and met up where the officials were, my feet now aching every step of the way, but with a smile plastered on my face. I was given a sash that said “Senior Princess” and a beautiful bouquet of orange flowers. I looked around at all the people cheering for me until someone knocked me back to earth with the words “The camera’s in front of you”. Whoops!

The king and queen’s names were called soon after, completing the court we had been all waiting to see. We lined up for a photo, with me grinning ear to ear. All the work I’ve put into myself and others at this school has finally paid off. Growing up tough from being bullied throughout my elementary, middle, and high school years added up to me finally being accepted by my peers in college. Mothers got me to take pictures with their little girls. One of them said she couldn’t wait to be a princess someday. I told her to be a princess, you had to be tough, but still be nice to everyone. Even people who are mean. She wrinkled her nose at that, but she seemed to have accepted it. After lots of hugs from people who weren’t in the stands, I went to go sit down… Where I got hugs from people who were in the stands.

On my way out, I ran into one of my English professors. He said that he guessed he couldn’t call me Pikachu anymore (long story) since I was all grown up and a princess now. Then the news that I had just bought the new Super Smash Bros. game that morning was broken to him.

And thus the chronically illest, chillest, skillest homecoming princess was crowned.


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