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’?”
“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.”