Goodbye, Common Sense … Hello, Bathroom Floor

Sometimes common sense eludes me.  Completely.  I mean, every now and then I can be barreling right along–usually with my mouth wide open–before I even realize that common sense has ducked gleefully behind the nearest obstacle, just waiting to see what kind of foolishness I can get myself into.

I am not stupid, or at least I don’t think I am–although I realize there are dissenting opinions out there as well as some rather condemning evidence.  Admittedly, I have done more than my share of mindless, idiotic, really stupid things.  And when those “really stupid things” all occur on the same day, they occasionally combine to create a comedy of errors of near-epic proportions (if you have any doubts, go back and read my “Wal-Mart Makes Me Crazy” post).  This past Sunday’s events, though, may have earned top billing on the list of “Stupid Stuff I’ll Never Do Again.”

Common Sense Failure, Round One:  I had very little to eat throughout Sunday.  I was busy and preoccupied for most of the day, I wasn’t hungry, and I simply forgot to eat more than a few nibbles here and there (believe me, forgetting to eat is not a normal occurrence for me).  In hindsight, I realize I did not consume enough calories to fuel the demands I was about to make on my body.  I will not make that mistake again.

Common Sense Failure, Round Two:  It was a beautiful, crisp fall afternoon, a perfect day for a bike ride with my husband.  I hadn’t ridden for several days, so I was determined to get in at least 20 miles of hard-core pedaling.  My pace was good–my little legs were pumping just as fast as they could go, and my big ol’ heart was thumping in perfect rhythm.  I was flying … until mile 17 when I suddenly–inexplicably–started breaking out in hives.  What the heck?  I could feel the skin on my face tightening, my ears burning, and my whole body itching uncontrollably.  I was blazing hot and miserable, but I was also defiantly stubborn and mad–I was NOT going to let a bunch of stupid hives keep me from completing my ride.  So for the next three miles, I rode with one hand clutching the handlebars and the other hand scratching at my face, my ears, my neck and every other exposed body part within striking range.

When I finally rolled to a stop at our driveway, I jumped off my bike, threw off my helmet and clawed savagely at my sweat-soaked scalp and scraped ferociously everywhere my fingernails could reach.  I was in agony–but it wasn’t until I got inside and looked in a mirror that I realized just how bad the situation was.  My eyelids were the size of walnuts, and I was barely able to peek through the tiny slits in the middle.  My lips looked like botched Botox, and my ears were so huge they looked as if they could carry me cross-country with just a couple flaps.  The rest of my body–every skin-covered inch of it–looked as if it had been splattered with cherry-red cottage cheese.

In hindsight, I’m guessing that my stubborn refusal to stop pedaling sent enough adrenaline coursing through my veins to make the hives literally explode.  I will not make that mistake again, either.

Common Sense Failure, Round Three:  After gasping at my hideous image in the mirror, I grabbed for the Benadryl and quickly read the package instructions:  “Adults and children 12 years and over–1 to 2 capsules.”  In the past, I had always taken just one, but this was the worst case of hives I had ever had, and desperate times called for desperate measures, right?  So I gulped down two–after all, I am an adult, and I’m bigger than many 12-year-olds, so two should be okay, right?  The package said so.

In hindsight, I realize that two is not okay, especially when introduced into a system over-charged with adrenaline or a stomach empty of food.  Yet another mistake I will not make again.

Common Sense Failure, Round Four:  I couldn’t wait for the Benadryl to kick in; I needed immediate relief before my clawmarks started dripping blood.   I drew a lukewarm bath, threw in some soothing bath salts, and sunk in chin-deep while repeatedly pressing a wet washcloth to my swollen face.  After what I thought was about 20 minutes (I later learned it was more like 45), the water was easing my discomfort, the Benadryl was starting to work its sweet magic, and I was ready to get out of the tub and succumb to the “marked drowsiness” that the Benadryl packaging suggested as a possibility.

In hindsight, I probably should have taken a quick, cold shower instead of a 45-minute, lukewarm soak.  You guessed it–I will not make that mistake again, either.

And the Really, Really Stupid Results:  When I stood up to get out of the tub, I suddenly felt light-headed and dizzy.  I remember thinking, “Wow, I don’t feel so good.”  I remember grabbing for the towel and wrapping it around me.  I remember calling my husband’s name.  I remember the door starting to open–and that’s all I remember until …

“Why is it so noisy in here?  Why can’t those people make their kids be quiet–can’t they see I’m trying to sleep?  I’m so tired … why won’t they STOP YELLING?!  It’s so noisy … Karen?  There’s a kid named Karen?  That’s weird … no one ever names their little girls Karen anymore … wait a minute … who the heck is Honey?” 

… I woke up on the cold tile of the bathroom floor with my husband’s worried face looming over me.  “What happened?” I muttered groggily.  And then my husband told me that, when he opened the bathroom door, my knees were buckling and I was on my way down–he quickly grabbed me and pulled me out of the tub, banging my shins against the side.  I was out cold.  He laid me on the bathroom floor and repeatedly yelled my name, but I was not responding–he was just getting ready to call our neighbor (a dentist–the nearest medical expert) to tell him to call 911 and GET OVER HERE! when my eyelids started to flutter.

“You were going to let him SEE ME NAKED?”  I muttered, horrified, still lying on the bathroom floor.

“You don’t understand–I kept yelling your name and you wouldn’t wake up!  Besides, you were covered with a towel,” he reasoned.

“Wait a minute … are you the one who yelled, ‘Honey’?”

“Yeah …”

“But you never call me that.”

“I was worried, okay?  You wouldn’t wake up.”  (Brownie points awarded.)  “Do you think you can sit up?  We need to move you to the bed.”

“Maybe …”  And so I sat up and remained there for a few minutes, my head resting against the cabinet and my mind still foggy and uncertain, before my husband helped me stand.  Leaning against him, I took a tentative step forward … and then I passed out cold again.

This time I woke up on my back in the hallway, staring at a missed cobweb on the ceiling.  I wanted to surrender to the fog, to just stay there for a while, leisurely contemplating cobwebs, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, and whether Ashton Kutcher would make a better Charlie than Charlie himself.  After several minutes of muddled contemplation, though, I got up (with a little assistance), traded the towel for pajamas (with a little more assistance), and woozily wobbled to my recliner, ignoring Hubby’s orders to go to bed.  My Cardinals were in a play-off game with the Phillies, dadgummit, and I was NOT going to bed.

I should have.

By the second inning, I was a little less groggy and thought that maybe if I ate something, I would feel better.  I stumbled to the kitchen (without assistance), and I was doing fine … until I looked up to retrieve a plate from an overhead cabinet.  The wooziness was back with a vengeance.  I slumped against the counter, grasping it with both hands and hanging my spinning head over the sink.  And then I realized … I wasn’t going to pass out again–I was going to throw up.

I broke out in a cold sweat.  My mouth started watering, and my stomach started clenching.  Heavy panting gave way to loud, agonized moaning … and just as my body convulsed with the first of many rounds of dry heaves, Hubby (who fancies himself to be quite the comedian) said, “You do realize that window above the sink is open, right?”

“What’s your point?” I thought, but did not say because–after all–I was a little preoccupied at the moment.

“You probably won’t think this is funny,” he continued, “but with all that noise you’re making, I’ll bet the neighbors think we’re having some really good sex right now!”  If my throat hadn’t been busy constricting and my hands hadn’t been busy clutching, I would have said or gestured a most unlady-like response; instead, I silently consoled myself with the knowledge that all previously awarded brownie points were null and void because they had just flown out that open window.

I forgot about eating, I forgot about watching a ballgame, and I went to bed, falling immediately into Benadryl-fueled dreams … no kids were screaming and no one was calling me “Honey,” but Ashton and Einstein were having a heated debate on whether goofy man-boys or wild-haired geniuses have better luck with the ladies while I juggled baseballs and recited Shakespearean sonnets in the background.  When I awoke the next morning, Einstein had pulled out all his hair, Ashton was smiling smugly, and my hives were gone.

And I had added four more mistakes to my ever-growing list of “Stupid Stuff I’ll Never Do Again,” thereby opening up four new slots on my list of “Stupid Stuff I Have Yet to Do.”

About icedteawithlemon

I have recently retired from a 30-year career in education in one of the best school districts in the world. I hope to spend my second life reading, writing, photographing, traveling, biking, cheering on my favorite baseball team (the St. Louis Cardinals), and soaking up glorious sunshine. In my spare time I enjoy playing with my pet tarantulas, trying out new flavors of chewing gum, and knitting socks for prison inmates. I'm almost positive that in a past life I was one of the Seven Dwarfs (most likely "Grumpy"), and in my next life I'm going to be either a taste tester for Hershey's or a model for Victoria's Secret's new line, "Bloomers for Boomers." I want to travel country back roads, singing Vanilla Ice songs at every karaoke bar and rating bathroom cleanliness at every truckstop. And someday I plan to own a private beach where skinny girls aren't allowed. I want to be a writer when I grow up. "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake."--Henry David Thoreau
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19 Responses to Goodbye, Common Sense … Hello, Bathroom Floor

  1. Janet Taber says:

    Wow…that’s an extraordinary set of experiences, going from bad to worse. Scary! One good thing came out of that day, though….our team got a REALLY BIG WIN. Sorry you didn’t get to enjoy it…

  2. Yvonne says:

    Lmbo!! I cannot even comment, as I accidentally washed my own mouth out with soap just yesterday. I told my husband that God placed me on this earth to entetrain him. Thanks for sharing so that we might not make the same choices 😉

    • You are most welcome! At least most of the really stupid stuff I do has a humorous aspect to it (in retrospect–it’s usually not so funny at the time!). I’m not sure how you can “accidentally” wash your own mouth out with soap, but if it’s possible, it’s probably on my list of “Stupid Stuff I Have Yet to Do”!

  3. janetmorrison says:

    I love your posts that catch me off guard and make me unexpectedly laugh out loud right in the middle! Thinking about your neighbors listening in and assuming you guys were having a *really* good time is hilarious to me. You might want to direct them to your blog just so there aren’t whisperings around town. 🙂 Your hives explanation brings to mind the movie “Hitch”…one of my favorites. I always thought Will Smith’s break out in hives was quite exaggerated. Now I’m thinking not so much! Thanks for your always entertaining posts. They’re great to wake up to in the morning!

    • Thank you so much, Janet! I almost didn’t include that part (perhaps a little TOO much information!), but the older I get, the more I seem to enjoy catching people “off guard”! And I thought about “Hitch,” too, while writing … and even though my appearance wasn’t THAT bad, it was definitely UG-LY! I’m glad I can entertain you in the mornings … thank you!

  4. Debbie says:

    Wow Karen! That must’ve been a horrible experience and I’m glad you’re ok. Do you know how lucky you were to have fallen and NOT cracked your head open on the toilet or counter or something??? And for the record, I’m positive you’re not stupid…. We ALL do things that we realize after the fact, are NOT good ideas. I put incidents like this in my mind’s folder entitled, “Stuff Happens” because it DOES happen and it happens to everyone. Have a great weekend!

    • Thank you! It certainly wasn’t much fun at the time, but I can laugh about it now because–even if I’m not “stupid”–I sure did some foolish things, and I should have known better!

  5. SUE says:

    OMG, Karen – You took an absolute nightmare & turned it into something humorous at your own expense. That’s what I totally admire about you! Sure hope the hive are gone forever now.

    • Thanks, Sue! In retrospect, it had its moments of humor–although there was nothing about the experience that was funny at the time! I, too, hope those nasty hives have retreated forever, but I’m not counting on that.

  6. emjayandthem says:

    This was quite an adventure and I felt sorry for you and laughed along at that the same time. Pretty funny about the window being open, for some reason I was thinking you were still naked!! Imagine!

    What caused the hives I wonder?

    well done! MJ

    • Thanks, MJ! I was fully clothed by that time (and I don’t want to imagine!) … I think the hives were originally stress-induced, and then I just made matters worse with one mistake right after another.

  7. I am almost speechless- but what a great rendition of a terrible series of mishaps.

  8. bronxboy55 says:

    If self-humiliation ever becomes a paid profession, will you go into business with me? I think we’d make a fortune.

    Great post, Iced Tea, as always. I’m glad you’re feeling better, and hope you’re enjoying the World Series.

    • Oh my, bronxboy55, you just made me laugh aloud with that one! I’m still up for trying that joint venture on “world domination” first, but if that doesn’t work, then yes–I will gladly become your business partner and drown in the riches! Thanks for the compliment, and I enjoyed the first game of the World Series very much–wasn’t crazy about the second game, though!

  9. Gail says:

    Karen, I don’t mean to sound like a stick in the mud, and maybe it’s the veterinarian in me, but I found myself cringing and becoming more “alarmed” while reading this account of what happened to you. While I enjoy your blog, LOVE your writing and especially your humor, I am afraid I did not laugh when I read this post. It sounded like (to me anyway), you possibly had a very serious anaphylactic reaction to something and this could have been life-threatening! All of the symptoms you had…. the itching, the hives, the swelling around the eyes and lips, the loss of consciousness (twice!), the vomiting, the cold sweat…. all could have been anaphylaxis. I think in human medine, there is an exercise induced anaphylaxis (I’m a doggy doctor so I don’t know a lot about that, but I do think you had one heck of a severe allergic reaction). Anyway, I am glad you are o.k. and hoping you will discuss this incident with your doctor. I had a similar reaction to a bee sting when I was little. My mother was in the kitchen getting me a dose of “bee sting medicine” (this was back in the 60s before benadryl was over the counter and doctors prescribed a red yucky tasting liquid that always had “bee sting medicine” on the bottle). I was in the living room and swelling rapidly when I passed out cold on the floor. My mother was calling me to come get the medicine. She walked in the living room and found me laid out on the floor, white as a sheet, and in a cold sweat. Scared her to death. The doctor told her it was an anaphylactic reaction to the sting.

    • Thank you for your concern, Gail (and for your kind words). I had another reader who also expressed concern–my dentist. I was under a lot of stress that day, which I think was the original cause of the hives, and then every decision I made after that seemed to combine forces against me. However, I was pretty scared by all that transpired, and I am being more cautious now–and I will be discussing the events with my doctor at my next check-up in a couple months. Thanks again.

  10. Pingback: Baffled and Bewildered … Again | Iced Tea with Lemon's Blog

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