About this time last week, I was dreaming that I was a super cool detective solving some sort of supernatural mystery. Think Veronica Mars crossed with The X Files. Suddenly Dream-Miranda feels an intense pain in her side, goes to the bathroom and starts peeing blood. This freaked me out and woke me up. Awake-Miranda was somewhat relieved that the peeing blood part wasn't real. Unfortunately, the intense pain part was. I don't know if I can possibly explain how much pain I was in. It was INTENSE. I was asked at least three times to rate my pain on a scale of 1 to 10 and I yelled "TEN!" every time. Although this really is a better Pain Rating Scale.
Long story short, I had a Kidney stone. Now, I haven't given birth, so I can't deny or confirm this point, but I'm told that the pain from a kidney stone can be worse than labor pains. I was also severely dehydrated. So dehydrated, in fact, that when ER Nurse Jamie was trying to draw some blood for tests, she said that my blood was coming out like "sludge." They poured a bag of IV fluids into me and then came back and took some more blood, because my Sludge Blood wasn't very good for tests. And then I got a second bag of IV fluids.
So what does this all have to do with giving up coffee? Well, you see, coffee is a diuretic. All caffeinated beverages are. Diuretics make you pee a lot, which can make dehydration worse. I've also given up soda completely, because sodas can contribute to Kidney stones. I didn't go completely cold turkey off caffeine. For a few days I allowed myself to drink enough coffee to get rid of the headache (usually about 1/2 to 3/4 a cup). Now I've moved on to drinking a cup of tea in the morning. Today, since I don't have to work until noon, I let myself sleep in a little, and so far today I've just been drinking water. Although I think I might make myself a cup of tea before I go in to work.
The effects of going caffeine-free have been pretty much what you'd expect. Tired. Irritable. Trouble focusing (although this may just be an aspect of my real personality). Every day I feel a little bit better. And I'm not saying that I'll be caffeine-free forever. Once I'm healthier, I may ease in to having a cup of coffee now and then.
It's funny, if you had asked me two weeks ago if I could ever give up drinking soda, I would have probably just laughed at you. But now, I don't really miss soda that much. Coffee, on the other hand, I miss so much. It's not just the drink itself, but the social aspect of it. How many times have Abby and I gone to Barnes and Noble to drink coffee and browse the bargain books? How many times has my mother invited me over and promised to "buy" me a cup of coffee? It's for these reasons I don't expect that I'll ever stick to being completely coffee free. As for soda? Maybe I'll just keep that for the occasional Jack & Coke.
I'll try and keep you posted as I continue to overhaul my dietary habits. As long as I can stay awake.