Today I am thankful for coffee. The happy occasion for this rush of thanks is to commemorate my official return to chemical dependence, discovered today.
All my friends know this story--it illustrates my loser-ness, and it is now a family joke, so I'll tell you. Back at the turn of the century, I had a major coffee habit and had a hard time getting started without it. Periodically I would feel guilty about this and decide to go off it cold turkey. One of these times happened when I was on a trip to Florida for a conference. Probably I had to go without while traveling and realized what a crutch it had become and how pathetic it is to leave a perfectly nice hotel room just to feed your coffee habit with some nasty cheap hotel cafe sludge. I came home from Florida with a new resolve to stand on my own two feet.
Checking the health news on my return, I saw that West Nile virus was discovered in some sentinel chickens in Florida (they put chickens in cages out in the swamps and such and see what they get infected with, I think). Among the symptoms people were encouraged to look out for were headache, fatigue, disorientation. And guess what? I had all those! Oh my! I promptly started freaking out, sure that I had been infected. I was all on the CDC website to see what I should do to report my participation in the outbreak. In the midst of my alarm, a friend and coworker who knew about my recent coffee fast suggested (a little more kindly than this, but not much), "Dumb#ss! Why don't you have a cup of coffee and see if that cures your West Nile Virus?"
And I did, and I was cured. Imagine! A narrow escape.
After that I just accepted that coffee and me were going to spend our lives together and stopped with the cold turkey. Years later when I got pregnant, I resolved not to stop drinking coffee because there really is little evidence of a risk in pregnancy and while I drank . But with the glorious glories of the first trimester I had an "aversion" to coffee (that makes it sound tame. It was more like, get that stuff away from me I can't have it in my house or near me or I will hurl violently for the rest of the day and don't think I won't smell it if you have had coffee within two hours of being near me and that will make me hurl too). Or something. So peanut-sized bubba and my hormones made me do the cold turkey thing once again. It wasn't so bad, really what's some headache and fatigue when you are throwing up so bad that you get hickies all over your neck?
I resolved to not become so dependent on coffee again. When the nausea stopped, I switched to americanos because they have less caffeine, and our drip coffee maker is gathering dust on the bottom shelf. But I have gradually gone from a couple americanos a week to, oh, one a day. And then today, I didn't have one. And the West Nile virus symptoms returned, and were cured once again with the first sip of wonderful, wonderful coffee. Mmmm.