I’ll Drink To That!

, , | Hopeless | September 28, 2016

(I lost both my job and my girlfriend some time ago. I really couldn’t handle the double loss, and quickly turned to alcohol to soothe the pain, just like no-one should ever do. This escalates to full alcoholism very quickly and before I know it, my life consists of drinking at home and only leaving the flat to go to the store to pick up some more booze. I lose all of my existing social contacts as a consequence. This happens around noon, when I am terribly hungover. The doorbell rings.)

Stranger: “Hello, I represent… Oh, my, you look terrible.”

Me: “Yeah.”

Stranger: “Can I help?”

Me: “Probably not.”

Stranger: “Try me.”

(In my horrible hungover state I am unable to stand anymore and silently retreat back to my bed, and take a sip of the opened wine bottle next to it. The stranger slowly follows me.)

Stranger: “Are you okay? Is it okay if I come in?”

Me: “Knock yourself out. I don’t really care.”

(He follows me to my bedroom.)

Stranger: “Can I bring you some water or something?”

Me: “Sure, but bring a plastic bowl as well, in case I can’t keep it down.”

(He brings me water and the bowl and we start chatting. Well, as much as I am able to. I tell him how I’m going through a rough patch and don’t really see a way out of it. He listens keenly and acts sympathetic. Before I know, it’s been several hours.)

Me: “Hey, thanks for listening, but surely you have somewhere to be? I’m not actually even sure why you are here in the first place. You don’t need to listen to my pathetic whining.”

Stranger: “It doesn’t matter why I’m here. I’m here, and I am in no hurry to be anywhere else. Just open up as much as you wish to.”

(I eventually fall asleep, but it should be noted that I didn’t drink much that night, just maybe half a bottle of wine. When I wake up the stranger is still there.)

Me: “Sorry, but this is kinda creepy now.”

Stranger: “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it. I just wanted to make sure you were ok. And did you notice you didn’t need to drink a lot yesterday?”

(I am surprised by that fact, but eventually start getting some withdrawal symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and dizziness. The stranger still continues to stay by my bed. At this point he’s been there for more than 24 hours. He orders some pizza for us. This is the first solid food I’ve had in days. I try to sleep, but every time I “fall asleep,” my breathing stops, and I wake up rather violently with a feeling of falling down. He is still by my bed. At some point he must have slept on the sofa, but somehow every time I come to, he’s close by. This continues for three whole days! During which I don’t take a sip of alcohol. I am starting to get over the worst withdrawal symptoms, which I guess were not as bad as in some extreme cases. Finally I ask him:)

Me: “So, why did you come to my door in the first place?”

Stranger: “Don’t worry about it.”

(And that was it. I never asked about it again, and he never told me. Eventually I was in good enough shape for him to leave me by myself. I didn’t feel the need to drink anymore, and I didn’t. He came back to see me a couple of times, but when he felt his work was done, he disappeared. At the moment I have been sober for two months, and I have been getting back in touch with some of my friends and family. I never found out who the guy was or why he was on my doorstep. But I assume he might have been a member of a religious group, based on his actions and the fact that he could just stay with me for so many days, willy-nilly. If that’s the case, kudos to him for not throwing his beliefs in my face. I would have sent him away and gone back to my awful habits. I still can’t believe someone would take care of a complete stranger, obviously not in a very good condition, for three straight days!)

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Life Is But A Dream

, , | Hopeless | September 21, 2016

(My grandfather had Alzheimer’s pretty badly, but he’s so polite and cheerful that it’s hard to tell how much he really understands. Recently we were having a big family dinner at my parent’s house, and on a whim my mom brings Grandpa over from the memory care center to join us. After a few minutes, it becomes clear that he has no idea where he is or who any of us are, but he seems happy anyway. Mom had to help guide him toward the dinner table. When he saw the table laid out with a full turkey dinner and all the trimmings, he came up with this gem:)

Grandpa: “This is the best dream I ever had!”

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When Migraine Becomes Our-graine

, , , | Hopeless | September 16, 2016

(I work for a big box retailer. I also suffer from a type of migraine that is predominantly noted with visual aura. For 20 to 30 minutes before the events occur, I’m noticing all of the hallmarks of a visual aura hitting me, which will be promptly followed by a migraine. The neurological aura-confusion-vertigo behaviors are actually way scarier than the pain of a migraine, so I’m hoping that the headache will hit and the confusion will go away. However, it’s progressing worse and worse. I have vertigo; my vision is shot by this point and I can’t make out coworkers faces even 10 feet away; I’m leaning on the wall to make sure I don’t fall down. As it’s progressing it’s getting even more worse.)

Me: “Hey, [Coworker]?”

(I think my voice is loud, but it’s not. I try to get the attention of a coworker not even 10 feet away, but, busy with their job, and with my whisper thin voice, they don’t hear me. At this point I’m dizzy, swaying, paler than a sheet, and the last really coherent thought I remember was ‘Sit down, or you’ll fall. You fall, you crack your skull on concrete. Cracked skull bad.’ Thankfully coherent enough for that simple thought to percolate, I sit down, right where I am. Note: being retail and a big box retailer, this is not exactly a ‘sit down’ job. I’m normally on my feet for all eight hours I work in a given shift. Customers pass me by, four or five, while I keep thinking I’m speaking loudly, trying to get a coworkers attention, but I can’t, because my voice is a whisper. Finally, a guy, I can’t even remember what he looks like because of the visual aura, leans down.)

Him: “Hey, man, you all right?”

Me: “No. No, I’m not.”

(He went over to my coworkers, who finally turned around and saw me pretty much down. They got a manager who’s first aid trained, I kinda slurred/explained that it was a migraine hitting me, and ended up getting walked over to a bench by two of them — me, a reasonably fit 30-something male, walked to a bench by two much older women in their late fifties or early sixties. Personally, I remember the vague shapes of people walking past, so I know there were at least four or five people who just walked on by, but that guy and his wife stopped and checked on me. I’ve worked at the place for going on thirteen years, and we have many regulars who’ve been shopping there for as long as I’ve been alive, so I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him other times after this occurred. Wish I knew who he was because he was the only one who stopped, and I don’t even remember what he looked like. I was okay after 30 minutes and a double dose of an OTC migraine pill, but the fact that he actually paid attention — that was pretty awesome.)

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Kindness Is The Most Powerful Drug

, , , , | Hopeless | September 6, 2016

(I’m dealing with severe depression and anxiety and am on medication to try to manage them. To afford my prescriptions, one just half the dose of the other, we need to dig into rent money, but without my meds I crash so hard I’ve been institutionalized, so we don’t have a choice.)

Pharmacy Tech: “I’m sorry, but the price on [Medicine] has gone up again, it used to be [very cheap price] but now it’s going to be [seven times as much].”

Me: *sighing* “All right, we’ll have to pay that.”

Pharmacy Tech: *leaning in to whisper to my husband and me* “I’m not supposed to tell you this, but go home and print out coupons from [Website] and come back. Or, if you have a smartphone, look them up on there. It should save you quite a bit of money. It infuriates us too that the prices keep going up.”

(My husband and I walk outside to put away what we’ve already purchased, and in the meantime, look up coupons on his smartphone. When we get out to our car, we see a truck parked in front of us with the hood up and a young woman messing with the battery. It is over 90 degrees outside and it’s pretty clear she doesn’t know what she’s doing.)

Husband: “Everything all right?”

Woman: “Yeah. I’ve got someone coming to help. I think the battery’s dead.”

Husband: “Do you need a jump?”

Woman: “It wouldn’t hurt.”

(While I sit in the passenger seat of our car and look up coupons, my husband tries to get the truck going. After several minutes of attempting, it’s proven that the battery is truly dead, and the woman goes inside to wait for her ride. Meanwhile, I’ve successfully found a coupon that will get me my larger dosage for 50% off, making it much more affordable. We go back inside and show it to the pharmacy tech, who enters it into the system.)

Pharmacy Tech: “All right, that’s going to be [much more affordable price].”

Pharmacist: *interjecting from behind the tech* “If you can get your doctor to write you a prescription for one and a half of the larger dose, it’ll be cheaper, too, and you can just split the pills in half.”

(My husband and I agreed that it was probably karma working for us that day. We still go to that pharmacy every time we need a medication and try to pay it forward every chance we can.)

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Seize The Moment

, , , | Hopeless | September 1, 2016

(I have epilepsy and on the days when I have breakthrough seizures I have difficulty sticking with one train of thought. To avoid an extremely confusing lesson, I just tell my students that we’ll be watching a movie. One student has had my class before and knows I don’t like to show movies this early in the year unless I have a sub.)

Student: “Are you okay?”

Me: “I’m fine. Just breakthrough seizures.”

Student: “Oh, you have epilepsy? Are we doing anything to trigger them? I know [Friend]’s seizures are worse when he’s stressed.”

Other Students: *after hearing him* “Yeah, what can we do to help?”

(Keep in mind that this was the fourth or fifth day of school and only Student #1 had met me before. Not one of them had anything derogatory to say and they were willing to completely change their behavior if it was hurting me. The previous semester, when I had a (for me) bad breakthrough seizure, not one misbehaved for the entire day and I was repeatedly offered candy, hugs, and whatever else they thought would help. My coworkers offered to rearrange their schedules to help. These teenagers are the generation that’s supposedly the most spoiled and self-centered, but when it matters they’re the ones that give me hope.)

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