Sunday, June 10, 2012

Happy Withdrawal, Ayelet

Last year I didn't have a birthday party. After the celebration of my 40th with Ivan the Terrible, I didn't think I'd ever want a birthday party again. But I decided to see how many friends I could rustle up to meet me for brunch today, and I'm glad I did, because I had a lot of fun.

It would have been a lot more fun had I been able to eat and enjoy anything. Unfortunately, I've been taking opiate painkillers for my knee pain over the past few weeks -- on kind of an irregular schedule, since some days I have pain and other days I'm fine.  I finally recognized yesterday that I haven't been suffering from occasional bouts of the flu -- sweating, feverish, nauseated -- I was going through withdrawal.

It's ironic that it took me so long to recognize my symptoms -- I'm a drug counselor, after all. I guess I didn't make the connection because I wasn't taking them for fun. I'd be very worried if I was having cravings to take the pills. But actually I don't. I resent having to take them, and I don't use them to help me sleep. I will confess that sometimes I took maybe one more than I actually needed, to enjoy the slight buzz. That stops immediately.

Last night was nightmarish, as I had to get up every hour and run to the bathroom. I'll spare you all the disgusting details, but suffice it to say that I am extremely nauseated and everything moves through me at lightning speed. I was hoping I'd feel better by brunch time, but alas, I did not. It's a crying shame, because I love the food at the restaurant where we met. There were a number of tempting salads and omelets that under other circumstances I would have inhaled. Instead, I got the blandest thing I could imagine stomaching -- banana pancakes -- and ate about a third of them.

It didn't really matter, though, because I had a fantastic turnout. Several of my friends had never met but got along well. Others who knew each other also enjoyed their conversations. Even Harriet and Alona's children seemed to have a decent time. And Alona and one of the other attendees decided to toast me with champagne instead of dessert -- which, since I couldn't really eat cake anyway, I thought was very touching.

I didn't know how happy the party made me until my friend Chassia, who was also there, said she didn't feel like celebrating her birthday in a few weeks because she feels old.

"I did that last year," I told her. "I decided I was too old for a party and just got together with a few people one-on-one. Guess what? This was a lot more fun."

I'm not grateful for the withdrawal, but I am grateful to have friends who care about me so much. I'm not as alone as I like to bemoan that I am.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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