In May 2017, Kaylie Cotton spent a few weeks in London with Tulsa Community College. She was in London when the Manchester bombing took place. She had to explain to her family that she wasn’t near the bombing, but she was in the hospital.
Her visit to the hospital was brought on by an allergic reaction to pool water in Wales. However, the London doctors were amazed by her condition and never diagnosed her. She had to wait until returning home to receive proper medicine.
P: What have you done in your time since transferring to OU?
K: Really just course work. But right before I got here, I went on a trip to Ireland and London the summer right before I transferred. I thought it would be a really cool adventure I could have right before this big college where I felt like I would need something interesting to talk about. It was a really good trip until the end.
P: What happened at the end?
K: We stayed at a hotel in Wales and everybody was swimming in the pool. I didn’t bring a bathing suit, so I just rolled up my pants and put my feet in the water. I started feeling my legs sting and I didn’t understand what was going on. I took my legs out of the water and patted them down and they seemed fine. The next day we traveled to London. My legs continued to hurt and I thought they were going to fall off. I ended up at the hospital in London. This was on the same night as the Manchester bombing. None of my family knew exactly where I was so when they found out I was in the hospital, they assumed I was around the concert.
P: The area you were at in London, was that near the Manchester bombing?
K: No, it was about three hours away, but you don’t think about that because London is so vast. It’s so big. So, my family assumed I was near the blast. It was very nerve-racking for my family because they didn’t know what was going on. They just knew I was in the hospital.
P: But you were just in the hospital for… an allergic reaction?
K: Yeah. When I went into the hospital I was crying hysterically. My legs were swollen. I had like no ankle. They were red and patchy, but it was all under the skin, so it wasn’t like a rash. They really didn’t have any idea what was going on. I walked in and slapped my swollen leg on the counter.
P: Wait, you picked it up and slammed it on the counter in front of the receptionist?
K: Literally. I was panicking. They were like ‘What can I do for you?’ and I was like ‘this’ and pointed at my leg. The lady was like ‘Oh dear’ so I had to fill out a form. It was nice because they actually have a form specifically for students studying abroad. It made that process go a little faster. I waited in the waiting room for about three hours. Eventually, they moved me to the back and put me into a room. The doctor came in. He was about 28 and his name, I think, was Colin. I stopped calling him Dr. so-and-so and started just calling him by his first name because he didn’t know what he was doing.
P: That’s always a good sign.
K: Yeah. He had come into my room and started poking my leg because, I guess, that’s the first thing you do. Then he was like ‘this is amazing. I’ve never seen this before. I have to go get Dr. so-and-so’ and then leaves and comes back with another doctor.
P: He’s a doctor and he’s never seen a rash before?
K: Literally, yes. Two doctors are in my room poking my swollen calves. They are just so amazed that they have to go get this other doctor. They go grab the third doctor. I have three doctors in my room, all in their late 20’s or early 30’s, and they are all just poking my legs.
P: They aren’t doing any other examinations?
K: Nope. Just poking my legs. Then they’re like ‘We need to take a urine sample’ and after about an hour Colin comes back and he’s like ‘oh you’re fine. Here’s your antibiotics.” He handed me some pilled and the next day I went and saw the Stonehenge.
P: Did they tell you what was wrong?
K: They had no idea. They couldn’t figure it out. They just didn’t know. Now the thing about London is all of their urgent cares close at like four. This was at like 8:30 p.m. when I first got there. I didn’t leave the hospital until 4 a.m.
P: That doesn’t make any sense. I feel like a lot of accidents happen after 4 p.m.
K: Right? Exactly. I was like ‘Well, is there any pharmacies or drugstores that carry drugs?’ None of their stores…You know, we go to a gas station and we can find allergy medicine. We can find Tylenol and that kind of thing. Well, their stores don’t carry drugs. You have to go to a pharmacy. The pharmacies close at 4 p.m. So, I couldn’t get ahold of anything. All I had were the antibiotics they gave me, which I didn’t even know what they would do because they didn’t know what was wrong with me. Now, my mom is finding everything out. She knows I’m okay.
P: She knows that you weren’t in the Manchester bombing.
K: Exactly. My family finds out I’m nowhere near that. It just happened to be a very sad coincidence. My mom tells me to get Benadryl because she thinks it might be an allergic reaction. They didn’t sell Benadryl anywhere I went. I had to wait three more days, get on my 14-hour flight, get to the Dallas airport and find Benadryl.
P: You couldn’t find anything? Only the antibiotics?
K: Yeah and the antibiotics didn’t do anything. I talked to my doctor once I got back to town and she told me to never go to the hospital in London ever again.