I fancy myself a fairly responsible person. I don’t spend money that I don’t have. I don’t drink too much. I’m paying back my student loans. I finished graduate school with a 3.67 GPA… and was disappointed. The dog is still alive… because he won’t shut the fuck up when I turn the faucet on and he doesn’t have water. The last time Gaily and I did something phenomenally stupid with a motor vehicle, we were like 18… wait… 23. Anyway… the bills get paid and my socks usually match if they’re visible. That’s pretty good for most adults, let alone a member of my stereotypically over-coddled Peter Pan Syndromed Millenial generation tearfully clutching their participation trophies while crying about their inability to find a job with that Art History degree. I’m not doing too shabby… with one exception:
I cannot be trusted with my own health and medications.
When I was 14, I had just convinced my mother to take me to the dermatologist to have the fifth mole removed from my face. The process started, because my mother caught me drawing black dots on actresses faces to see if they were still beautiful and trying to remove moles with Biore pore strips. I was devastated when neither turned out as I’d hoped and begged to have mine removed. Finally, my face was mole free… mostly. A small freckle-like mole remained at the very corner of my mouth, making it constantly appear as though I had food there. So, rather than schedule another doctor’s appointment and go through all that trouble again… I iced the mole up and removed it myself with some nail clippers. I was an occasional cutter at the time. What was a little more pain? Fortunately, my hands-off mom believed me when I said the sore was a fever blister… though I’ve never had a fever blister in my life. Whatev. I was mole free. It wasn’t the last time I used that tactic either.
You’d think that would be the height of my stupidity, but at 18, I was just soooo sick of having been numbed with 250 daily milligrams of anti-depressants for five years that, one day, I just decided to… stop taking them.
Yeah… um… don’t do that.
About a year and a half ago, I was just getting off the crazy diet kick that enabled me to lose 70 pounds in about nine months. I was known to (frequently) declare the following:
“I will meet this month’s weight loss goal if it means I have to cut off a fucking foot!”
It saves 200 Weight Watcher’s points!
Despite my occasional spells of unconsciousness brought on by excessive workouts, I don’t really count those nine months as an example of my irresponsibility with my own health. My BMI used to be 42. Most charts don’t even go that high. They stop at like 40 and then there are just pictures of various large zoo animals like elephants and whales. I needed to do something drastic and what I chose was extensive workouts coupled with 1200 calorie per day limitations. Some doctors would call it extreme… but some wouldn’t. Staying at my old weight would have done far more damage than the measures I took to lose it. However, last spring, I decided that with all that weight lost, I would take up running. I’ve compared myself to Tinkerbell more than once, in that I have the ability to feel only one extreme emotion at a time. I am either paranoid and research-driven beyond reason…
“I don’t know which one to pick! What the hell does ‘Sheer Twilight’ even smell like?!?! Why can’t they just say fucking lavender! Help me, Gail!!!!”
… or I’m the most impulsive person alive.
“Oh em gee! I have an idea! Let’s get tattoos!”
Yeah… we both have tattoos now. Funnily enough, I also bought the exact same shampoo I always buy.
So… when I decided to take up running, instead of my uber-rational self taking over with hours of research, it was my impulsive self that just turned the treadmill onto high. That. Doesn’t. Work. Apparently there’s some kind of technique to running that doesn’t royally fuck up one’s back. There are books on it. It’s a far more research-worthy topic than shampoo. After a few weeks of immobilizing pain, I saw a doctor… and his recommended physical therapist… and took some Lortab that did nothing for me. The night of The Hunger Games midnight release, the guys planned to get to the theater at 9:00. The movie wouldn’t be over until about 2:30 in the morning. I had no faith that I could remain seated in one position for that period of time. I called the doctor in tears, because the Lortab wasn’t working and he prescribed me something else. To this day, I cannot remember what that something else was, so I’m just gonna go with…
At this point, I was so sleep-deprived and in such physical pain that I was beginning to understand why people would choose euthanasia. I’m not exaggerating this time. I was legitimately thinking that, if I had to live with that kind of pain for the rest of my life, I would kill myself. It was that bad. Soooo, just to get through the movie and finally ease the pain, I decided that on top of the blood of a centaur, I’d go ahead and take those Lortab that weren’t working anyway. Just for good measure, I’d throw in a few more drops of centaur blood, as well. Naturally, by the time the movie started I was Across the Universe high.
I still had a prominent limp, I just didn’t care. I could not sit up straight. I spent the entire movie laying on Chad’s shoulder. Fortunately, Gail and I had bought tickets to see the movie again a few days later, because I had not absorbed one single moment of Katniss’s great adventure. When the movie ended, I must say, I was feeling pretty nauseous.
Pictured: not a balanced meal.
Ward had driven Chad and I, since Jay and Chad’s little sisters had come along and Ward was excited about his new car. We were just driving into Shetland when I demanded:
Me: “Ward, pull over.”
Me: “No, I’m kididng. Yes, seriously!”
That’s right. No amount of urgency voids sarcasm. Then I vomited in the parking lot of The Dollar Tree.
As the back pain persisted, I tried a number of remedies, one being a type of Icy Hot cream on my back. So, there I was, drying my hair naked while the Icy Hot dried. Not wanting the smell to seep into my clothes, I decided to help it along and aimed the blow dryer in that direction.
In my defense, when I read the directions after I lit my back on fire, they only said not to use a heating pad with the cream. No one mentioned a blow dryer. I should sue.
In time, the back pain did subside. Every now and then, I get twinges, but I’m doing alright, with the help of a chiropractor. In February, though, I tracked in snow bringing the dog inside after his walk. I didn’t realize it and on my way out, I slipped. In an attempt to avoid hitting my head on the stair, I jerked it forward… screwing up my neck. I think my problem is with delayed gratification. This is ironic, considering I spent seven years in college to be a Librarian. The only thing I can figure, is that I am a pussy. I can’t handle pain… that isn’t self-inflicted? Anyway, when I wrenched my neck and was reminded of the night my back hurt so much that I couldn’t make dinner and just sat on the couch hungry and crying, I decided to just nip this neck pain in the butt and immediately made an appointment with a doctor and one with a chiropractor. The doctor was strictly for the pain meds… which I promptly doubled… and woke up 16 hours later.
Fortunately, I don’t take medication very often. I sometimes take a prenatal vitamin and an iron supplement, the latter of which I was unaware of a certain side effect until my general practitioner pointed it out. She did this after I took a handful of laxatives when I had company coming.
“No, no. You make yourself at home. I just have to powder my nose… again.”