Today was a really bad day. Today was one of those “good reason to drink” days.
Yesterday I threw my back out and its been killing me ever since. Of course my overactive brain won’t allow it to be as simple as a little back pain. In less than 36 hours I’ve turned this into a clear sign that I’m getting old. No, a clear and definite sign that I can’t handle intense workouts and will soon be limited to speed walking. Maybe this is a clear, definite and obvious omen of the nagging injuries that shadow aging.
Actually I think it happened when I picked up my palm, didn’t squat or use my legs, and lifted with my back. It huts like hell.
Today I talked with my doctor about my mammogram results. Not the best news. She’s recommending we remove the lump they found, even though we don’t know for certain if it’s malignant or benign. Based on my family history it’s the smartest move. The lump is small and she’s confident I have little to worry about, even if the worse case scenario is true. My speed demon brain has determined this is the setback that will usher in the beginning of decline. This, it convinces, is redemption for wasting decades of my life. Now, it proclaims, I won’t realize my goals or exhaust all my potential points. And just when I thought things were turning in my favor.
Really, they just found a tiny lump they want to remove before it reeks havoc. Early detection usually produces positive results. Right?
Then I received a call from a good friend. Her son was murdered on Sunday. I knew her son. For decades I listened to her stories of despair and regret. Stories of pain and worry I think only parents share when they’re forced to watch their children drift through years of missed opportunities. The movie played in rewind and against the backdrop of her detailed description of what happened. I thought about his loss of life, and the loss of potential. All day I forced myself to not go down the rabbit hole of what death means. What happens when we die? It’s been a struggle all day to not scramble down into that dark place.
As I lay flat on my stomach, relieving my back with Bengay and a tube sock full of warm rice and lavender, I thought about what a stiff cocktail would mean.
I recalled with accuracy the bee sting headache and churning stomach that comes from drinking gin or vodka on a hot muggy day. Tasted the vomit in my mouth and felt that familiar throat burn. Relived the anguish that rushes in when your eyes pop open after being passed out for hours and the desperate insistence that grows as you hit repeat again and again to cut off the thoughts that return and physical symptoms of an unpleasant withdrawal. Witnessed the staggering through familiar rooms of my house that felt like a hobbit hole with the blinds drawn tight and saw counters littered with stale take out and dirty glasses. I remembered with pinpoint accuracy the minutes of giddiness that always faded into despair and depression as the alcohol settled into all the familiar places and the ensuing time spent slumped at the bottom of the tub under a shower of tepid water meant to cool a hot, toxic body.
I signed. Every day can’t be good day.
And a drink makes a really bad day worse.