WARNING! This is a graphic post. You may want to just read something of some real value instead. If you saw the movie Bridesmaids and were offended or disgusted by the bride maid's fitting scene you should turn back now. You have been warned.
It has been said that for some people to change..really change...they have to hit rock bottom. For some that is the first floor..others the basement..and still others haven't reached bottom until they have dug a hole so deep that they hit a granite slab.
This is the story of a journey to the bottom..the names have been changed or omitted to protect what little integrity the main character has left.
It was 11:30 p.m. on Saturday night. Instead of being home in bed he was laying on a bathroom floor at Denver Public Hospital. His face was on the tile trying to extract any coolness to help him with the sweats that had overcome him and drenched his shirt and head. Unfortunately he had been laying like this for five minutes and there was no amount of comfort to be found. He lay staring under the locked door...trying not to think about the manner of virus and bacteria that was lurking on the floor. There was nothing exceptional to stare at but every so often a bit of cool air would waft in. He tried not to move at all..not even blink or breathe for fear that the slightest movement would again set his body into involuntary convulsions which would require him to try and sit up and simultaneously put his head in the trash receptacle. Something he had done numerous times this evening already..with mixed success. Trying to sit and put your head into a three and a half foot tall container was..well impossible...your aim was going to be off in one direction or the other. The incessant pounding on the door by the security guard was getting tiresome...and when that went away there was his wife on speaker phone..the phone was on the floor out of his reach..everything is out of your reach when you are afraid to move. She was threatening to leave him...and when that subsided there was the moaning of the stabbing victim in the hall outside the door. The day had started out well..now he was just hoping for a swift end..and cursing the man who created 1 ply toilet paper.
Like many addicts he had started the day saying he was in control. And like many addicts he had an excuse for getting off the wagon, ignoring the consequences. His reason was logical enough. He had been told earlier that month he had to give up a number of things he loved with all his life..most notably meat and cheese. If he was forced to give those "vices" up..then there was no reason why he could not replace them with another. Some people call it Coke. Others pop or soda. No, he wasn't addicted to alcohol or drugs or cigarettes..but sugar. Something a person should be able to stop no problem. In the past sugar had caused him problems. Big problems. He had found out years earlier that coupled with his ability to become dehydrated at any temperature over 55 degrees, the Sugar..especially the high fructose variety, would cause him unbelievable abdominal pain, cramping...and you guessed it.. the trots. To the point where during volleyball tournaments he would dehydrate and try to replenish himself with Gatorade..basically liquid High Fructose corn syrup, and end up sick on the bathroom floor or porta potty for hours. In short, in some people, when the body becomes so dehydrated that the blood starts to thicken, the body's defense mechanism kicks in. The body begins to make sure the blood is circulated in the most vital areas such as the heart...and begins to shut down unessential services..such as the intestines. Simple carbohydrates such as sugar then just flow through the GI tract. Thus, instead of helping to hydrate the body, the sugary drinks such as Gatorade can make the situation much much worse. So much so, he had ended up in the hospital a few times with saline bags attached to him. But that was years ago. He had learned to control the situation and to even change the brands of electrolyte replacement to those which contained Sucrose or Dextrose. They were sugars but they did not screw up his GI system like the High Fructose variety. Heck, he even could race half and full ironman distances..dehydrate and still not have GI issues when he used the electrolyte replacement drinks with the correct types of sugar.
But Saturday was not a day filled with tournaments or training. Sure he was feeling a little dehydrated and had been hitting the hard stuff for a couple of days and completely neglected drinking water. Friday night he had gone to see a movie and got the Big Coke..not the diet..but the real thing. Saturday, was hot outside and instead of replenishing with water there was Coke...hey..he couldn't eat cheeseburgers or fries..so the calories from the sugar were actually much less..and they didn't clog arteries. Then came Saturday afternoon and the Badger's game. Again..Coke with all it's glorious taste. And then Saturday night and dinner with friends. In an effort to look more grown up he ordered some alcoholic drinks..but ordered them.."Fruity" which is code for sugar. Not to mention the sugar in the alcohol itself. By 10:45 Saturday night he had ingested two fruity drinks and a Whiskey Sour. (He got the whiskey sour when he just gave up and ordered an old man's drink. He had been watching twelve year old girls getting into the bars all evening and couldn't believe it. At one point he actually looked at the ID of one girl that the bouncer had to see the girl's age. The fact the 12 year old was 25 was devastating.) There is no better combination then being dehydrated, and then drinking caffeine and alcohol.
Of course the way to end a fun evening was with one more Coke. By 10:55 the night had taken a dubious turn. Somehow his pants had shrunk three sizes and the pressure on his waist was immense. Time to take the immodium. He looked at the package and knew it was not a good sign..It was generic...Everyone knows generic immodium does not work!! He silently damned his inlaws for instilling in his wife the belief that generics worked as well as name brand..(and that expiration dates on food were just " suggestions" Seriously..2004 on French Dressing is not ok). He walked into the bar bathroom and found the one stall to be occupied..by some passed out guy. Well. not quite passed out..but not quite completely with it. WTH? Ok..it was not that big of a deal..it was only a 25 minute drive home. Of course 2 minutes after getting into the truck it became an emergency situation and of course at 11 p.m. there was nothing open. When thoughts start going through your mind like..I could double park and there is a tree...things are not good. At that point the only beacon of any hope was the sign for Denver Public Hospital. He drove in and his wife said she would take care of the car..more irritated then concerned. There were 8 cops at the ambulance only doors as well as a victim laying in the hall way. As he ran up to the door..ok not really running..you know that situation where you have not decided to go "all in" and make that last dash but are moving at as quick a pace as you dare (You runners know what I mean) and was stopped by a security guard who insisted that he could not go in and use the bathroom. Being doubled over and insisting the bathroom would be used either outside or inside..the guard started to waiver..at that point he made his last ditch run. Seeing the international symbol for relief just inside the doors he scooted past the guard and locked himself in the bathroom. Thirty minutes later he was laying on the floor promising anyone who would listen that he would drink a gallon of water everyday and never drink soda or fruity drinks again if the pain would stop and he even had a shred a self respect when he left. (Which he did not).
The security guard..who was pounding on the door..finally went away.. He probably thought better of the situation and wanted no part of it...probably thinking it was just some derelict drunk locked in the bathroom. His wife finally stopped threatening to leave and have him take a cab home if he could drag his butt outside within the next 10 minutes. He said he would try..but told her that he couldn't promise anything considering the security and the state he was leaving the facilities. He was able to finally straighten up (put his clothes half way on and stand 3/4 of the way up) and assess the situation with the only possible positive outcome to be able to get out of the hospital without security stopping him...which he did. Again partly because they saw him and wanted no part of the train wreck or to go anywhere near him. On the way home he just laid on the floor of the truck counting breaths until finally in the garage..crawled into the house and showered..threw out his clothes and fell asleep..kind of.
It will be interesting to see if this really was "rock bottom" for this guy as far as the hydration and sugar is concerned. I'm guessing it was. But I have been wrong before. I mean seriously..how many times can a person do the same stupidity before changing?
Happy trails everyone...and be sure to always buy named brand immodium!! Your socks could depend on it. Just sayin.