Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Broken Record

December 21, 2012 was not the date of the Apocalypse after all. But for about an hour that evening, I seriously questioned whether the Mayans might be onto something. For that night, at age 42, I learned a very valuable lesson that most people learn at a much younger age and while I was at it, I managed to break a 27+ year record. 

Click here to watch the clip!
It happened to Jerry Seinfeld. A Black & White cookie did him in. But Jerry's non-vomit streak was only 14 years in the making. I had nearly doubled his record. That's right. I managed to live through more than 27 YEARS of numerous illnesses, plus two pregnancies, without tossing my cookies. That's more than half my life! When I was extremely thin, several people suspected that I may have been bulimic. No. Not me. I will do absolutely ANYTHING to avoid throwing up, if at all possible. The closest I've come in 27 years was about 10 years ago. I was in the hospital and they had given me Tylenol with Codeine for pain. It made me sick to my stomach. I dragged my IV all the way to the bathroom, but the wave of nausea passed, and my record stayed intact. YES!

So, it's holiday party time. I attended my office Holiday party a couple of weeks ago, drank two glasses of wine and got a little tipsy. Typically, I just giggle a lot when I've had too much to drink. I've never drank to the point that I don't remember what I did (my husband has pretty much banned me from drinking tequila shots for that reason). Truly, up until a couple of years ago, I didn't drink much alcohol at all. Thanks to a tanking economy and stress at work, a glass of wine or a bottle of beer before dinner has become the norm for me. Not something that I was proud of, by the way. But it relaxed me. Having two drinks is a rarity. Three is my max, always followed by a LOT of water to avoid dehydration and all the fun stuff that goes along with it. But, something happened the other night. Maybe the planets were aligned just right and the shift in gravity caused my digestive system to implode (or explode, as the case may be). 

We were invited to a party at our friends' house. My husband and I are not super social, and we rarely go to parties, but we decided that we really wanted to go to this one. It was the holidays, after all, the start of a four-day weekend, and the world hadn't ended yet. I drank a Coors Light while getting ready for the party and I felt great as we headed out. When we arrived at the party, I had a glass of red wine and ate a few hors d'oeuvres (Who made up that word, by the way? It's ridiculous and I have to check the spelling every time I type it!). Mind you, that is all I had to eat that evening, except for a handful of almonds while I was getting ready. I asked the host what she was drinking and she told me it was a dirty martini. I'd never had one and decided to try one myself. I guess I was feeling a little wild. Little did I know that in the not-too-distant future, that drink would unleash a savage assault on my body. ;)
Recipe for disaster
As I sipped my martini, I could feel the buzz coming on. Although at first, it helped relax me, after about 20 minutes, I noticed that I needed to hold on to the counter just to stand up. That's a bad feeling. I remember my husband introducing me to somebody, and I vaguely recall saying, "Nice to meet you, but this probably isn't a really good time for you to meet me." Then, I whispered to Rob that I couldn't feel my legs. He said it was timet to go. Somehow, he managed to get me back home (fortunately, the party was in walking distance to our house). I remember him telling me to try to get myself together because he didn't want the kids to see me like that. The rational part of my brain (which seemed miles and miles away at the time) was saying, "OK. Yes. Get it together, woman!" The pickled part of my brain, which was far more dominant at that point, was saying, "Dude! My legs feel like noodles! Can I just lay down?"

My husband got me inside and laid me on the sofa while he went to get me some water. Before he could return, I had a bad feeling that my non-vomit streak was about to come to an end. I knew I couldn't walk, so I slithered off the sofa and tried crawling to the bathroom. Sadly, my teenage son found me on the floor halfway there (where I had stopped to rest), and called for his dad, who helped me the rest of the way. NOT my proudest moment, to be sure. 

Just like that. 27 years, 5 months, and 10 days or so went down the toilet. I was sick as a dog for a solid hour. During this time, numerous thoughts were going through my head (many of which I probably verbalized incoherently), including:
Me in July 1985
(time of the last incident)

  • "Wait! Did I just break my record? Nooooooooo!"
  • "Why are you trying to feed me peanut butter crackers?"
  • "My son is witnessing this. I'm so ashamed!"
  • "I'm sorry!"
  • "What the hell? I only had three drinks! I've never even had a hangover before!"
  • "I really hate throwing up!"
  • "I really need to scrub this toilet." That was the OCD talking.
  • "What the hell was in that olive?"
  • "I've never felt this sick."
  • "I wonder what my blood alcohol level is."
  • "How do people drink a lot?"
  • "Am I dying?" At this point, I started feeling a panic attack coming on. Fortunately, my husband calmed me down and helped prevent it.
  • "Do I need to go to the Emergency Room? That would be really embarrassing!"
  • "Please, God, make it STOP!"
  • "Maybe the Mayans were onto something!"
  • "Lord, I hope the world isn't ending and I'm hugging the toilet when you come for me, cause I fear you will leave me behind. I'm so sorry."
  • "I'm NEVER drinking again."

After about an hour, my stomach finally settled down, and I fell asleep (or maybe passed out?) only to wake up four hours later with my hair still up in a clip, my contact lenses in my eyes, and all my makeup on, plus a desperate urge to brush my teeth. It was not a great night, but one that I will never, ever forget. 
It seemed that even Facebook was mocking me the morning after...

When I woke up the next morning, I watched a beautiful sunrise, thanking God that I was still alive and well. The world did not end on December 21, 2012, but December 22nd felt like a new beginning for me. I vow to NEVER touch hard liquor (and possibly any other alcohol) again. That evening, I had zero desire for a glass of wine before dinner. When our waitress at Baja Cafe gave us Buy-One-Get-One-Free Margarita cards with our check, my stomach did a little flip-flop. Anybody want them? They're all yours! No más para mí, gracias.

I'm sad that I broke my record. 27 years was a good run. One thing's for sure, I'll never forget the date! ;) I'm very thankful for the lesson that my body (or perhaps God) taught me that night. It was a wake-up call that I think I desperately needed. That's what I get for being naughty! ;)

With Love, Aloha and lots of Christmas Cheer ~ Nancy

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