Monday, September 23, 2013

The Idiot Who Tried to Give Up Coffee

I have several food habits that fall on the scale between "should only be enjoyed in moderation" and "Girrrlll, do you value your teeth/health/body at all?"

My nightly G&T or glass of wine was totally under control.  One and done. 

Gummy bears, Twizzlers, and jelly beans, however, were a huge problem.  

A carton? A barrel?  A boxcar full? I'd eat every sugary little morsel, no problem.

In the morning, I needed a small dose of coffee, about a half cup.  It was less about the taste than that little burst of energy and avoiding an afternoon headache resembling having been slammed in the head with a skillet.

Several cups a day?  A venti anything? Blech! Never.  

Truth be told, I hated having to drink coffee. It was a habit I wanted to drop like a vomiting toddler. 

And I'd get my chance to try.  

I had my bajillionth root canal the Friday before Father's Day.  I don't fear them as much as I once did. Parenthood has taken me to the point where I dig things like root canals and waxing.  Being stabbed with needles and having hair ripped out of my skin can be way less painful than wrangling preschool-aged children. 

At this point, who cares what's happening if you get to lie down?

After the procedure I felt fine. 

The next day, Saturday, I had a dull toothache. 

And on Sunday I woke up with a bong-bong-bong THROBBING pain in my just-worked-on tooth.  Couldn't go more than two hours without at least two Advil.  And like a martyr moron, I didn't call the doctor because I didn't want to bother him on Father's Day!

Monday it began to swell and still hurt like hell.  I went back to the endodontist, who prescribed an antibiotic and some sweet, merciful Vicodin.  I was told the antibiotic would reduce the swelling in 24 hours or so.  

By Tuesday it looked like this:

A face to scare your own kids.

"Mommy, I don't like your face," my son said. I wanted a mask or a bag on my head. I returned to the endodontist.  We discussed draining it, which would hurt even more, and would not necessarily stop my cheek from looking like I was auditioning for the all-black production of The Elephant Man.

Anything in my mouth felt awful. I was barely eating, and was surviving on water.  At least I lost a few pounds.  As for the coffee headache, it came, conspired with the pain in my face to make me long for death, and then disappeared.  

And by Wednesday, when the swelling was by no means gone, but wasn't going to make people cross the street to avoid me, I was off coffee.

For two weeks I survived with a sip here and there, maybe a black tea, maybe a few ounces of diet coke.

On several days not a single caffeinated beverage crossed my lips.  

Then I hit the wall.

I could barely get out of bed.  I didn't want to dance.  I didn't want to write.  Like an angsty teen, I was manufacturing slights, digs and issues with friends.  I hated my life -- every choice I had made up until this point had led me to the existential equivalent of a life in a Civil War prison camp latrine.  

I cried on the phone with my bestie in New York.  I screamed at my children.  I fought with the Hubs.  I got all assy on the phone with customer service reps. 

And then it hit me.

I wasn't depressed.  I didn't need a lobotomy.  And I wasn't having a mid-life crisis at almost 41.  

I just needed some effing coffee.  I was suffering from severe coffee withdrawal.

I made some and felt better within minutes.  

Like that 80s commercial, I am a coffee achiever.  

And never in my life will I attempt such a stunt again.  


  1. Keesha, I think you STILL look pretty in that picture! This made me laugh so hard. I am sitting here, hugging my coffee cup and having a virtual sip with you, lady!

  2. Damn. A root canal and coffee withdrawal? Damn. Only you could make that funny. :) Ellen

  3. Okay, seriously - "Mommy, I don't like your face" is my new favorite line.
    I think we should make t-shirts.
    (With coffee stains already on them.)

  4. "At this point, who cares what's happening if you get to lie down?"
    Heehee - you made my day with that. :)

  5. I've had a root canal go as planned and it still super-sucked, can't imagine one that didn't go quite right. I never drank coffee until I had kids, and now I never don't drink coffee.

  6. I wouldn't even make it a week without my coffee without turning in to a raging lunatic, so at least you made it two weeks!

  7. Ohhhh honey. I'm so sorry you had to go through that. Keep the coffee, lay off the sticky candy!


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