Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Alcohol Hypochondria

The mixture of these two words makes for one freaky combination. Easter Sunday was spent at my sister’s home. Since she has the bigger tent in the family, we all decided to congregate over there. It was nice, from the hors d'oeuvres, the lamb dinner, among other delicious foods spread out, to the wine that was constantly pouring into my bottomless glass. My sister and her husband have wine glasses as big as fish bowls. One bottle of wine can fit into a goblet- I swear. After dinner, we all gathered around the island of the kitchen and drank some more wine. I didn’t really keep in mind how big these goblets were. I always said, “Oh well, three or four glasses are my limit- no more after that.” Well, after two of these wines, it’s as though you had more than six glasses! Three servings of wine are held in one goblet.

Since I haven’t been my normal ‘guzzling any sort of alcohol even if it’s cough medicine self’, it affected me more. Lately, I have not been wanting to drink more than a glass of wine or a martini with dinner. It stays with dinner and doesn’t pass that point of ‘going out till 3am’ like I used to do. I always nod when they ask if I want another drink, and look at Amy and say, “Am I actually growing up?” Naw, I’ll never grow up, but this year has been a reflective year for me. My taste for the grape and potato juice has changed.

So, back to Easter Sunday, the following morning I woke up feeling like a snake had bitten me. When I walked into the hallway, it felt as though the floors were moving. I had dizziness, shakiness, the spins followed by getting sick numerous times. I’ve never known myself to get sick the morning after- I would just get a hangover. This was different. I was almost about to call someone to take me to the emergency room- that’s how scared I was. I didn’t think this was normal. Something was seriously wrong and I needed medical attention.

“Oh come on, it’s just a hangover, ride it out.” Amy said, as she made me toast and put a gallon of water aside on my nightstand.
“You think anyone has ever died from this?” I asked, as Amy gave me this funny smirk that insisted that I must be crazy.
“You’re fine… Your goblet alone must have weighed a good five pounds!”
“You’re right…”
I said, drinking my ninth glass of water.

Later on that day, I started feeling worse. I call Amy. “Do you think I should go to the emergency room?”
“Deb, do you really want to waste your time and energy going to the ER, spending more than five hours there to only figure out it was just a hangover?”
“You’re right…"
I say, once again, to the lovely Amy.

Then I get a phone call.

“Hello, this is Stephanie, and I’m doing a survey for the University of Blahblahville, do you have ten minutes to spare?”
“Sure.”
I said, thinking it may take my obsessive thought patterns away.
“After each question, please wait for the following choice answers to pick from.”
“Okay.”
“If you ever notice your face drooping, eyes blurred, and found that your speech was slurred to the point of people not recognizing what you have just said, what would you do first?
A. Call 911? B. Call an EMS? C. Call a friend? D. Call a doctor’s office? Or E. Would you wait it out?”


I sat there and thought about it for a minute.

“I’d push the martini away first and try to ride it out.”

Stephanie, the surveyor started giggling and asked if she could go on.

“Sure.”

“Have you, or someone else in your household ever had these treatments?
A. An angioplasty? B. Triple or quadruple bypass surgery? C. Balloon treatment?”

“No, but after the dinner I ate last night, maybe.”

Stephanie chuckles again, and moves on to the next question.

“What would happen if you felt a sharp pain located on your back in the middle of each shoulder blade?
Call 911? B. Call an EMS? C. Call a friend? D. Call a doctor’s office? Or E. Would you wait it out?”

“It’s probably bad gas. I’d wait it out.”

“Okaaayyyy…” Stephanie says, as she giggles on to the next set of questions that were exactly the same, but for anyone I was in the presence of. Would I do the same thing for others type of scenarios. Interestingly enough, I’d call 911 for my friends and family, but wait it out if I were the one.

All my life, whenever I had a chest pain, my mother would pat my back and say, “Oh Deb, it’s just gas! Have a beer--the bubbles will do the trick!” It was a remedy, which worked every time. If I had menstrual cramps, I was told to drink blackberry brandy. Another perfect remedy to relieve pain. There’s something within the blackberries that have a healing purpose…but it goes hand-in-hand with the alcohol of course. If I had a toothache, a shot of scotch would work miracles. See how this works?

After my phone call with Stephanie, I got a pain right in the middle of my shoulder blades, my vision went blurry and I felt like my entire being was drooping. I didn’t call 911, but I panicked and got nervous, because she freaked me out. I thought I was having a heart attack or stroke. It wasn’t exactly the perfect call to get rid of irrational thoughts racing through my mind.

So, thanks Stephanie, wherever you are, for freaking me out and leaving me here to ride out the storm! In the meantime, no more wine for Deb for a very, very long time. I’ll be in my own detox program for the next few weeks letting my liver breathe again.