Monkey on My Back
By Nicole Freire
Nicole's Cream of Wheat
Did you see the "Bourne Ultimatum"? Remember the big fight scene where Matt Damon pummels some bad guy for almost 20 minutes, jumping across buildings and breaking windows and punching and kicking and slapping and there were lots of quick cutaways and the guy kept getting beat up on and Matt Damon just would not stop? Didn't it seem like it went on endlessly?
Did you know that you can eat only Cream of Wheat for SEVEN days in a row and think it normal? Do you know how gratifying it is when you feel sick, really sick, and the doctor walks into the exam room and says, "Wow, you look terrible!". Do you know how many antibiotics and painkillers and steroids I can take? A lot.
So, I had strep throat. Like I was the bad guy in the "Bourne Ultimatum" and Matt Damon (who was playing strep throat) decided to make it his life mission to make me miserable. It was awful. But who wants to hear about me being sick? Nobody! Besides, we covered it already, remember?
But I do have a problem. While I was busy trying to swallow without choking and sleeping 20 hours a day and setting the kitchen timer to remind me when the next painkiller dose was and not talking for almost an entire week - I stopped drinking coffee.
Coffee! Elixir of the Gods! Why half and half was invented. I did not plan on stopping the coffee express, it just happened. I was so so so sick that coffee never crossed my mind. I was too busy sobbing in pain. I didn't want coffee. Heck, unless it came in a plastic prescription bottle with a severely childproofed lid, nothing passed my lips. (Except for the Cream of Wheat, the 2.5 minute version. With some brown sugar and a little milk.)
And now I find myself in a little dilemma. The only other two times in my life I gave up coffee was when I was pregnant. (No, honey, I'm not pregnant, really. No Mom, really, I'm not.) But once those babies were born, I was back on the joe. I look forward to my morning cup of coffee like some people look forward to a vacation. For me, it's like a little Christmas morning, pouring that coffee, adding a little half and half (ok, a lot) and taking that first sip? Man, that is the only thing that makes getting up in the morning worthwhile some days.
I'm still sick enough to only want Cream of Wheat to eat and coffee just does not sound appealing, at least not yet. So my problem is, when I DO feel better (and that day will come, right? I won't have strep throat forever?) do I go back to coffee? I'm no fan of the no coffee schism. I happen to think that coffee makes people nicer and smarter and it can get rid of headaches, and oh my god coffee smells so good! But I've lasted this long, over seven days, and it might be longer before my coffee appetite comes back. So should I indulge it when it does? Do I get back on that coffee horse?
I am seriously in need of some direction here. Clearly I'm incapable of making any type of decision. (Oh wait, that was the kitchen timer. I need to take some pills. Ok, I'm back.) Maybe I should switch to tea? If I go back to coffee does that make me weak? What if I never want to go back to coffee? Could that happen? Could the Bourne Ultimatum of strep throat permanently take away my coffee desire?
What will I do with all my coffee mugs?
Nicole Freire is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara.