This is a good one. I’ve been sleeping and in bed for most of the day after “poisoning” myself this weekend. I was in South Seattle this morning getting ready to cut aluminum cubes on a big machine–living the dream, eh? We were getting the safety talk and I was only half-listening, rudely, because after feeling better this morning on waking, I felt worse again. I was making a list of everything I’d eaten since Saturday, since that was when I started feeling funny. Homemade everything, scratch mayo and ketchup, scratch spice blends that hadn’t bothered me before…. I took another pull of my coffee, still trying to wake up at 10 a.m. after over nine hours of sleep.
I zoned in and the teacher was telling a story about being 19 and in a hurry to go water skiing and spitting his finger right down the middle. That got my attention again.
“And in a second, there went water skiing,” he said. I saw the shiny scar that bisected his fingernail and finger, 30 years later.
That was it for me. Fuck machine cutting, I was going water skiing right then. I pulled my case manager aside.
“I’m not feeling well,” I said. “I have really bad food allergies and I ate something contaminated this weekend. I don’t trust myself to operate heavy machinery right now.”
“Oh,” she said, making a serious face.
“I’ll try to be back tomorrow, but I’ll stay in touch.”
I walked over to my personal piece of heavy machinery, the Elco. P. used the Honda to take the kid to drop her off at camp this morning, so I was in my magic carpet of highway gas-guzzling. Not the best choice for my site visits, which were often many miles away and required stop-and-go highway traffic. I calculated if there was any way I could get P. to pick me up, since I felt kind of drunk, like I’d taken sleepy meds. I knew it would take him hours to get down to where I was by bus, a fortune to cab it, and a hassle besides.
I knew I could drive glutened, I’d been doing it for years. My only concern was that I thought I might vomit once I got back on I-5. I looked at the empty vessel that is my hard hat forlornly as my mouth watered in the bad way.
Anyway, it was a hard weekend. I had half a pot’s worth of coffee beans Saturday morning, and got some more at the store and then made another pot after I got home. I started feeling a little loopy by Saturday night, but chalked it up to waking up too early on Saturday morning. I woke up on Sunday, made coffee, checked in with the bees, ate, and was useless by noon. I kept napping and tried to play the Wii and didn’t have the patience for that. I barely broke 100 in Scrabble Sunday night.
I came to bed Sunday night, determined to get lots of rest for this morning. I was really dreading going on the site visit or even leaving the house. I found myself asking what the point of any of this was. Why was I being so negative? I wondered.
“I feel like I’ve been drugged,” I told P., getting under the sheet. “I reached for the cat food just now and I could barely lift my arm.”
“Hmm,” he said. “Maybe you’re getting sick.” I didn’t like that. No one around me was sick, it was summer, and I just don’t get colds anymore.
So I got back this morning after a loooong drive without a radio (scream-singing “Come a Little Bit Closer” by Jay and the Americans and “Corcovado” to stay alert), the garage door grinding and the big blue beast announcing my presence.
“What’s up?” P. asked. He’s home on vacation this week.
We did our usual detective work. He’d been super tired all weekend too, but the kid was fine, and she mostly ate the same things we did. I thought it was something I’d put in a frittata, because I had that reheated for breakfast, while she dined on leftover meatza from last night. My mood and alertness started tanking again after I’d eaten breakfast and showed up at at the site.
We’d gotten a couple of new things, but I didn’t think it was the dried figs…finally, I realized I started feeling bad when we’d gotten home on Saturday and I made a pot with the new coffee. Bringo. I felt worse Sunday morning (and for the rest of the day) when I made a pot, and again this morning. Something gluteny was in it, I didn’t know what. It doesn’t matter.
It is weird to drink coffee and have it make you feel more tired! P. cycled some vinegar water through the pot, and cleaned the grinder. I don’t really know what to do now. I love coffee. I normally drink Stumptown but we got a Costco membership recently to save money, and they don’t carry regional boutiquey brands, only big bags of Kirkland brand Good Luck with This. The first bag I bought was fine, though I did have a tiny twinge of worry as I do whenever I try anything new, even if it’s “100% Your Mom,” because that is often not quite true. This second bag was not okay. Last weekend in Twin Peaks I drank Starbucks at the meetups and even hotel room Keurig bilge water and did fine. It’s like red wine–I just can’t tell by looking at it when it’s going to have corn additives.
The bummer part is that I was all jazzed to sit for a math test with a union tomorrow. I think that would be a terrible idea now, like showing up for the SATs drunk. Really self-sabotaging. So I’m going to give it a couple/few days and then decide when to go. My test will be when I can spin up 4-plus letter words in Scrabble again, I suppose.
I have been wondering if I should give up coffee, since I am afraid of anything that will interfere with the work I need to do for the next couple of months/years. Inside I am screaming because I don’t want to give up one more thing. I really love it. When it’s good, I’m at Gilmorian levels of abuse. But being wiped out for the next few days isn’t worth it. I hate the confusion, the tiredness, the blunted affect. I hate being even more nervous about one more food.
I mentioned my worries about my future with coffee out loud after we’d figured out what was fucking us up this weekend. I had given it up in the past and had done fine.
“I’M NOT QUITTING COFFEE,” P. informed me. He’s out of good vices, too.
“Okay, okay, no one’s asking you to,” I said.
The good news is that Strudel is booted off to Celiac camp for a week. One of the directors emailed and asked me what she eats, like what brands of things, since the kids will be eating chips, pizza, and cookies. SHARP intake of breath from Strudel at this revelation, since we don’t usually go that processed anymore. I was thinking “HA! HA! Brands! How droll.” I did give her a list of things that have worked in the past, but I said you could probably feed her chicken/rice/veg all week and she’d be fine, she was used to eating differently, and could I send extra food or a food fee because PLEASE TAKE MY KID I REALLY NEED HER TO HAVE A NORMAL CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCE AGAIN.
P. and I were worried they were going to write back and say she couldn’t come. My novel-length thesis on “what can your child actually eat” was sent on to one of the chefs, who has Celiac disease, as does her daughter who was diagnosed at birth. She knew about that and things like food dye allergies, the difference between xanthan gum and guar gum, and corn allergy flipouts. She’s convinced she can feed Strudel safely. I actually wept when I read it.
I hope she’ll be okay. I think she’ll have a good time. As many wise people have remarked over time, it’s simple, but it’s not easy.