Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Times That Wine Tried to Kill Rachel, Part I: No More Big Girl Glass

Sometimes friends fight, even best friends.

Wine and I are pretty tight, but every once in awhile, my buddy vino tries to kill me. I would like to share these assassination attempts as cautionary tales titled "Times That Wine Tried to Kill Me".

Wine may treat you really well most of the time, but I'm warning you...watch your back.

My first installment of "Times That Wine Tried to Kill Me" will recall the time wine slit my wrist and almost got me 5150'd as a suicide attempt, leaving me with quite possibly the weirdest and stupidest scar you've ever seen.

If you're good at anatomy, you know what fascia is. If you've asked someone to pull yours out of your arm because you don't know what it is? You'll remember, because it will be burned into your soul. It looks like a rubber band.

It is not. It is part of your arm. For fucksake DO NOT PULL ON IT.

A lot of people find it a little weird that I always use the same plastic wine glass every time I imbibe. Sometimes I even bring it places, but when I'm camping I usually just drink out of the bottle. (What? I pee in the woods too, it's not like you have to be even remotely civilized when you're camping. If I have to crouch behind a rock and wipe with leaves, I can swig out of a bottle.) I used to only use it when I was outside drink-gardening, but now it's a constant.
The glass of shame.

So why don't I use an actual adult wine glass? Because I'm not allowed, ever again, under strict orders from these ladies, Heather and Shannon.
These ladies aren't the bosses of me! Just kidding. They are.

These ladies are two of my best friends, and they are always there for me when I need a shoulder to cry on, a smack on the head to come to my senses, and a bottle opener. About 4 years ago they drove all the way to LA from Oakland to give me some love while I was recovering from the loss of a pregnancy. Obviously, since no one was pregnant, there was much drinking in the proposed itinerary.

Having every intention of earning a hangover the next morning, Shannon and I posted up on an air mattress in my living room with (undisclosed/recalled) bottles of red wine. Heather didn't join us for a reason I've forgotten-tired, sick, tired of listening to us cackle, something like that. My husband at the time went to bed immediately, because watching people have fun was super irritating to him, especially if that someone was me.

It gets a little hazy here. There is whooping and loud talking and bouncing with excitement born of how charming we were being to ourselves. I remember consciously setting my wine glass a little ways away from the mattress on the carpet so that I wouldn't reach back for it and knock it over. Apparently I put it back a little too far, and as I leaned back to grab it balanced precariously on my tailbone, Shannon shifted her weight, and the sudden lack or air beneath me tipped me too far back to recover. I fell onto my glass, my wrist taking the hit.

Yes, I was sent to the ER after falling 6 inches. I fell on the floor while basically sitting on the floor.

I felt okay but I also was made of wine at this point so we decided we needed an adult...well, Shannon did. I was pretty sure we could handle this, and I didn't want to wake up Heather or deal with Judgy McJudgeJudge. There was a lot of blood, and it looked like a severed rubber band had lodged itself into the cut. It was white and looked like those thick rubber bands teachers use-my husband was a messy artist, so there could have been anything on that floor. The thought of some foriegn object lodged in my skin freaked me out, so I demanded that Shannon remove it.




She said something about thinking it was maybe "attached", but I didn't buy it-nothing in your arm looks like that, right? I begged her to pull it out. She looked at me in horrified resignation, grabbed it with her fingernails, and gave it a good yank after I bellowed "Just rip it out like a bandaid!!"

It was not a bandaid. It was also not a rubber band. It was indeed a part of my arm, a fact that became horrifically obvious the second she tried to rip it from its home, also known as my tendon. Apparently there's stuff called fascia that encases your tendon like the insulation on an electrical cord. Science!

Shannon was severely traumatized, probably still is. I feel horrible about that, but I went to continuation school, how was I supposed to know anything about anatomy? I took a course on addiction recovery for my health credit. I'm not a tendonologist.

Would you wake this woman up at 3:00am?

Okay fine, we need an adult. We assume my husband is the most sober and likely to let me bleed in his car-Heather's was a rental. Shannon summoned him and I braced for the lecture and the "Oh my god Rachel are you fucking serious what did you do now?" speech. Surprisingly, I was spared, because my tall, strong, serious ox of a husband took one look at my wrist and passed out cold on the kitchen floor.

Okay, Plan C, wake up Heather.

After a quick (and well-deserved) observation at what idiots we were and a stern warning about dripping blood in the car ("It's a fucking rental. I will kill you.") she drove me to the ER, Shannon in tow. It's now around 3:30am, and while pain is sobering, there was a lot of sobering to do. The first thing they did upon admission was have me give a urine sample, which my wine-soaked, shock-addled brain found amusing. "You have to check my PEE to see if my arm is okay? THAT'S SO WEIRD!"

Rolling his eyes in unmasked disgust, the attending explained that they need to know how drunk or high I was so they didn't give me meds that would kill me, and they needed to know if I was pregnant or not before they gave me an X-ray.

"We need to x-ray to see if there's any glass in there, so we can get it out "

He tells me this as I oblige, bathroom door wide open. A thought pushed past the booze haze...I had just had my blood tested earlier that day to see if the pregnancy hormone had left my system yet, and it had not, even though it had been almost three weeks. I would test pregnant, and then if there WAS glass in my arm, it would have to be there FOREVER. Awkward...well, better speak up.

I explain that I WAS pregnant, but I'm not now.

"You had a miscarriage recently?"


Suddenly grumpy nurse is interested in me. I assume it's because I'm so interesting.

"Were you upset?"

I scoffed. "DUH. of course I was. It totally sucked. That's why I'm so DRUNK. My friends got me drunk to escape the SUCKAGE for a minute."
This is what you get at my house when you spill paint in the garage

I look up and notice there are suddenly more people in the room, and they are exchanging meaningful glances. I'm not surprised, I AM pretty interesting. They ask me questions and I answer, fully engaged in my favorite topic-me. They seem to be getting prepared for something, maybe my x-ray! Does it really take all these orderlies to carry me to the x-ray....wait a minute.

Wait one god damned minute. I get it.

"Oh NO!" I laugh nervously. "No no, I know what you're thinking. I was depressed and...HA! No, not me. I would never..." They don't seem convinced. I try to charm them. "No, I'm DRUNK AND STUPID, not suicidal. Same difference, amirite? Look at me! I'm a total weirdo with a bat tattoo. Don't I look like someone who would at least know how to do it right? I mean, EVERYONE knows it's "down the road not across the street!"

No? Not funny? Awesome. I'm about to be put on a 5150, also known as a psych hold. Now I'M getting grumpy...and sober.

Just then, my heroes arrived, flustered and frantically shaking their heads.

"No! She's just clumsy and wasted, not suicidal!" They had been listening to my bad jokes and verbal flailing and realized without intervention, I was getting locked up. They managed to convince the doctors, for which I'm eternally grateful for...because they weren't buying what *I* was selling.

I'm getting sick of telling this story so to wrap it up, they believed my friends, but never gave me an x-ray, and instead of stitches they put two staples in it. A few days later, the fascia that I had made Shannon yank on worked its way out of the incision, so I went back to the clinic and said "I'm no doctor, but shouldn't this be on the inside instead of the outside?" and the doctor said, "Well, that would mean reopening the incision." and I said, "....uh....okay....should we do that?" and he basically said he didn't feel like it so we didn't.

The white stuff is fascia. Gross, I know
This means that the fascia, which is now attached to both my tendon AND my skin (which healed over it) pulls the scar into a weird belly button shape, and when I move my wrist back and forth it opens and closes the "arm hole" like a gross little arm mouth.

So, the glass. Because I can no longer be trusted with a standard wine glass made of adult glass, I was gifted a plastic glass, which I use every time I drink wine at home. When I'm in public or at a party, depending on the setting, I either bring the glass of shame or I risk it with their glasses and those in the know keep an eye on me just in case.

The scar totally disgusting and gives most people the willies. That makes me kind of love it. It looks like a belly button, which makes me mostly hate it. If you want to see it, just ask. If you want, you can draw a face around it with a sharpie and make it talk. I do sometimes. It makes me feel better about the whole thing.