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Anatomy of a Hangover

Anatomy of a Hangover

I’ve often heard it said that sweet juicy rum drinks can be very dangerous, but that’s really no excuse since I was mixing them myself. The simple fact is that I didn’t pay careful attention to how much I was drinking, and thus I drank too much — way too much — and made myself sick.

Let’s see: Two Painkillers, two Cube Libres, and then a couple Painkilleresque juicy concoctions. If I had to guess I’d say about twelve or thirteen ounces of dark rum. In other words, about half a fifth. Maybe a little more.

(I mixed the Painkillers to take in a flask to Krewe du Vieux but parking was so difficult and the parade was moving so fast, we only caught the last two subkrewes. That was a major disappointment, because KdV is my favorite parade of the season, and P. was definitely enchanted by what little she saw, and she’s still too young to ask those embarrassing questions that KdV floats are prone to inspire. Next year we’ll do better.)

The result was that when P. got me up Sunday morning I wasn’t feeling too well. I took a dump of historic proportions — that always seems to be a bad sign with regard to hangovers. After about an hour I realized I wasn’t able to be an effective parent. Fortunately for me Xy was able to take over and I was allowed to go back to bed. She didn’t even scold me. Actually she took it in the spirit of “turnabout is fair play” because she’s been incapacitated quite often recently, leaving me to do the solo parent thing.

But the difference is that my sickness was entirely self-inflicted. I felt (and continue to feel) quite ashamed about the whole episode. Not being able to function as a parent? Not able to take care of my baby? That’s tough enough if I was just down with a virus or some bacterial infection or food poisoning. Those things happen. But this was avoidable and foolish. I’m old enough to know better. Yes, there’s a stomach virus going around Xy’s school, so it’s possible I had that, but I suspect it was alcohol poisoning.

I passed through four waves of nausea. It started with puking my guts out, then devolved to bile and finally dry heaves. I’d forgotten how many muscles are deployed for good gut heave. It’s quite a workout.

I spent most of the day lying in bed while Xy took P. to a parade with a friend.

I thought at the time this was my worst hangover since the Subhumans played New Orleans back in 2003, but I’d forgotten about the New Year’s Eve hangover of 2007. I do believe that was worse.

I able to put our daughter to sleep that evening, but that was about the only thing I accomplished. I lost an entire day. What a waste.

Published inBodyHoly Daze


  1. I feel your shame. It’s hard to understand why we convolute our thinking to make alright something that we previously knew was a bad idea. At least there’s a bit of an excuse with alcohol that once you start your judgement can be impaired. With me, it’s chocolate. I know that sounds pretty lightweight, but over the last couple of decades I’ve become more & more intolerant of chocolate, my favorite food. I get hangover symptoms – nausea & headache – plus, red rash on face, & the need to spend a full day on the toilet.

    So you see, I should & do know better. But if my wife’s not around to stop me (there’s some developmental dysfunction in that part of the relationship) I will come up with some reasoning to make it alright to indulge: “I think I may not be allergic to organic chocolate,” or “Fair Trade chocolate may be purer & not cause a reaction,” or even, “I think it’s alright to spend tomorrow on the toilet because I don’t have to go to work.”

    I see it as a struggle that goes on in my frontal cortex. I try to stay out of the way until the competing lobes have made up their mind & then I just go along with the plan….

  2. I hope it was good rum. At least you can say that you drank quality rum instead of bootleg. Rum is sly and tough on you later. That’s why I never drink it anymore.

  3. Carol Carol

    Definitely the wrong post to read during lunch…. Glad you’re feeling better and thankfully P. is in a 2 parent household so that one can cover when the other needs a day off. It happens.

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