Freelancing is a lifestyle that tends to appeal to people who have a somewhat unstructured approach to life (with the exception of my sister, also a freelance writer who functions gloriously by organizing the unorganizable.) Anyway, I like the relatively free-form dance of my days, but yesterday I went on an usually light journey, just blowing in the breeze, sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry.
When I awoke yesterday morning and got out of bed, I could tell I was a little stiff, but that’s not unusual. I’ve always had back pain, and the tires to this old car have been on the road awhile, so you have to expect a few squeaks. But attempting to stand, my body folded into the shape of an arrowhead; it wasn’t going no further up or down. This was unusual.
Okay, I knew I was in trouble. Busy day ahead, and just bending to put on my socks was proving to be harder than giving birth. I had two deadlines in the next few days, and another job I would have to leave the house for (which would mean standing on my feet–or more accurately, staring at my feet) for several hours.
I’m searching for solutions. Pain is a powerful motivator, and it comes to me: drugs! Riffling through my old prescription bin in the back of the closet, I come up with an unused migraine prescription of Fioricet with codeine that expired in 2007. It hadn’t helped my headache then, but right now I’m open to any possibility.
Expiration dates are relative. As a medical writer, I know this. The drugs do gradually lose potency, but it takes a lot longer than a year or two—I’m thinking more like a decade or two—and the manufacturers want to make sure you will keep buying new versions of the drug you think is rotting in your cabinets. I hardly ever throw out drugs. I have enough old drugs to plug a landfill. Popping a 4-year expired Fioricet into my mouth, I am hopeful it will provide some relief so I can actually get my work done today.
Some twenty minutes later, I have to interview a high level administrator from the National MS Society. The interview goes well and I am focused enough to begin to transcribe the tape. I sound okay, not too loopy. And then, after she gives a lengthy response to one of my less-than pointed questions, I hear myself say, “awesome.” Okay, there’s 25 years of credibility shot dead with a rubber arrow. I’m not even sure how she managed to finish the interview without laughing, as it is cracking me up—of course, I may still be loaded.
I realize I should eat something—but what? Ah, salad, with that fresh avocado I bought the other day, the one I have been meticulously nurturing to the perfect point of ripeness. I set it on the windowsill two days ago, and I remember removing it yesterday, afraid I would forget about it and allow it to rot. So where did I move it to? I begin a half-hour avocado hunt, which I relocated yesterday in all sobriety. Now certifiably stoned (awesome!) I am patiently searching even ridiculous places for the aforementioned avocado. I even check the freezer—where it is not. Actually, I am surprisingly qualified to locate it, since I apparently put it in a drawer with the chinese food and pizza menus—and that was when I was straight.
Taking a break from my new friends, the Fioricets, I let the next dose time go by, planning to get a little grocery shopping done. But first, I decide to stop at CVS—for no real reason, except that I have extra bucks, which are like winning the CVS lotto.
After shopping for a while, I am nearly ready to buy a pink doggie dress that says, “I heart tail”. On a normal day, the only thing I find more obnoxious than the thought of dressing my dog is the idea of putting her in a pink dress, and yet my drug-adled brain is cheerfully ruminating over something that is wrong in so many more ways than just these two.
Luckily, I can hear my right mind screaming from the dark closet I have her locked in. “Go with the dog bed!” she is pleading. “The dog bed!” I can feel my CVS extra bucks burning in my pocket. Do I feel lucky? The dog bed it is—but blue,…or green? Never mind that stupid dog has already demolished three of them, leaving great balls of stuffing all over the house to choke my vacuum (and then deciding she no longer likes the nasty deflated dog bed, she climbs on my furniture). That dog doesn’t deserve anything, especially not my extra bucks. If CVS still had the electric toothbrush in stock that I bought for myself the other day, I would be buying one right now for my son, who probably doesn’t need it any more than the dog needs a dog bed.
So I take the dog bed. No, let’s get two for when she destroys the first one. Logic has no place in my universe at this point.
I head to the supermarket, my original goal, parking instead over by MacDonalds. I never eat at MacDonalds, but the world is a new and bright place today. I manage to walk past the door and pop into TJ Maxx next door to look for a bath mat. Suddenly I’m shopping for comforter sets, despite the fact that I already have one. This is a quiet shopping frenzy, one that is probably not obvious to the casual observer, but inside my head, I am obsessed, determined to buy something I absolutely don’t need. Luckily for me, almost anything will do, as long as it has a price tag—even a cheap one. So I take a look at the dog beds.
After cruising for a while and looking at a Michael Kors handbag on sale for $199, I leave without buying anything, probably because I am finally coming down from my high—as evidenced by the return of the pain (dun-dun-duuuhn!). This makes for a sobering and tooth-grinding drive home, at which point I decided to pop another Fioricet for the night. Ahhhhh…This stuff is awesome! (I love to hear my own voice slowly say that word.) Why didn’t I take it when I filled the prescription six years ago? (And where is that avocado again?) Just for fun, I look up what Fioricet with codeine might be doing to my brain—not that I am in any way concerned. And I find a message board where a bunch of demented people are blathering on in much the same way I have been doing…because they are stoned on Fioricet with codeine (which they all agree does not a damn thing for headaches).
All in all, not a bad day—or to quote myself, awesome.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: ONE CAVEAT – NEVER TAKE EXPIRED ANTIBIOTICS. ALWAYS GET A NEW PRESCRIPTION TO ENSURE THE PROPER POTENCY.
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