“You Can’t Escape Genetics”

That’s what my sister told me the other day when we were discussing addiction.  We’re from a long line of sugar addicts who believe every meal should be followed by dessert.

Seriously, sugar is like crack. No, it’s like crack with a cocaine chaser and a crystal meth cherry on top and it’s been my life-long love/hate nightmare.  So significant are the memories of my “scores”, I can conjure them at a moment’s notice.  For example, when I was about 9, my best friend and I staged a neighborhood “fair”. We charged 10 cents for the privilege of a spin on a swing set we covered with blankets and called “the tunnel of doom” or some such nonsense. We charged extra for palm readings and told kids  their futures were rosy and their parents would never get divorced…stuff like that.  We made a buck or two and in those days it was nothing to sneeze at.  It was enough to head to the local drug store and invade the candy aisle.  Real, honest-to-goodness store-bought chocolate outside of Halloween was nothing short of an out-of-body experience for addicts like us. The holy grail of head rushes. The Mount Fuji of euphoria. Cavities and Dr. Bob the Nazi dentist, be damned! We had money for sugar and it was burning a hole in our pockets. We spent and consumed with reckless abandon, the aftermath of which saw us supine on the floor of a backyard playhouse surrounded by discarded wrappers.

I have learned a modicum of restraint since then but it took a little more than that to convince me to make a concerted effort to kick my habit.

I recently had some extensive blood work. I say that as if It’s somehow profound or significant, like “I recently gave birth to a 35 lb baby”. For me? It is. Blood tests cause me to faint dead away. This  tends to frighten medical professionals as they have to pick me up off the cold, hard linoleum, force orange juice down my throat and pack my forehead with icy towels despite my strong warnings.  And when I say “extensive blood work” it means they had to extract something like half the blood I carry in my body. It had been a while since I had blood work and they wanted to take full advantage while I was down.

My doctor was wonderful. I was allowed to pop a pharmaceutical so I wouldn’t give a shit about participating in this medieval blood-letting, don some noise canceling headphones and say “when” at the precise moment of the anti-anxiety med’s apex.

I came through with flying colors and no orange juice or ice packs were necessary.

The test results?  I was pretty clean except for…excessive candida in my body.

One of the major causes for this:  Sugar consumption.

I did some research on candida after which I wondered what in God’s name Tony Orlando was thinking when he named a hit song after common yeast that thrives in the intestines and, left unchecked, ravages the “good” bacteria we all need in our bodies. Maybe he just didn’t know? Or maybe, it was something, more…compelling.  More on that later.

Regardless, I had to give up sugar. It was hard. Really, really hard. I was angry for about a month. My cravings were overwhelming. But I survived. And after about 6 months of being on the wagon,  I’ve learned to concoct “treats” that, yes, have a little bit of sugar but satisfy me enough to keep me from loosing my shit and holding up a bakery at gun-point.

My secret?  Fresh ground almond butter and a tablespoon of marshmallow fluff  on top of a Carr’s whole wheat cracker… once a day.

My Own Private Methadone.

As for Tony Orlando? Well… a snippet from the lyrics tells me it was a cry for help.

Hmmm hmmm Candida….Just take my hand and I”ll lead ya
I promise life will be sweeter….and it says so in my dreams.


Self Check-Out

My husband is an impatient man.

A typical type-A personality.

Angiogram starts with the letter A.  I wonder if there’s a connection because pretty much every type A personality of a certain age that I know has had one.  The only exception to this is my dad who is about as laid back as an aging hippie sans the B.O. and the Ginsberg.

Anyway….chest pains = angiogram which = a hospital stay which= one unhappy camper once the procedure is over and said type A camper is forced to eat a bland diet of bone dry turkey sandwiches in a space the size of a British hotel room with shitty T.V. reception and a bed that would NOT stop adjusting itself.  I won’t even go into the monitors and tubes and bells and whistles that ring and chirp and chime all night long ensuring the crappiest night sleep you can image short of a slumber party with the Marquis de Sade.

Although it was mildly amusing when my husband’s nurse told him she’d kick his ass if he didn’t stop trying to raise the bed past a 30 degree angle then threatened to strap his forehead down with surgical strength duct tape if he engaged his abdominal muscle one…more…time, he knew they meant business but tested the limits anyway.   You don’t fuck with the O.R. nurses.  He tried.  He lost. And I’ve been picking sticky stuff off his forehead for the last two days.

When it came time to be released (Oh, happy day!  No more peeing in a bottle!), there was a hitch.

The  doctor didn’t show.

10 o’clock.

11 o’clock

I begin to sweat.  My face feels clammy. My breath become shallow and quick.  I may need a doctor myself.

The NASCAR race is starting and the T.V. reception really sucks and all my unhappy camper can think of is 60 inches of crystal clear plasma expanse versus 20 inches of static. 

“Can you hear me God?  It’s me, Julie.  Need a little help here.”

These people made a big mistake not giving this man of mine a specific check-out time because they said Saturday.  When you tell a type A personality they can go home on Saturday…..well….that means Saturday morning.  As in first thing.  No…I take that back.  More like first light.

Higher Power offers nothing most probably because of my past irreverent posts on organized religion. 

Some people just can’t take a joke.

So we  implement Plan B.

Just in case you didn’t know, you can check yourself out of the hospital. 

Just remember to have your loved one unhooked from that rolling metal tower.  They don’t fit in the car.  Trust me on this.