One of the side benefits of being hit head-on by a street train in Prague is that ICU wipes out one’s caffeine addiction by inducing withdrawal and complete abstinence. Its a huge bummer.

I asked the nurses for Ibuprofen for a headache and she smiled.  I asked why and she said “Well, we will never know if the headache is from the accident or from the withdrawal.  After all, you are an American.”  When I pressed her, she said that Americans in ICU have headaches because their bodies were addicted to caffeine and there is none in the fluids bag.  When I suggested that they add some to my fluids bag she disagreed. Unreasonable!

I was addicted to the stuff. And the calm I now feel having been off caffeinated coffee for two weeks is a strange feeling. I feel like an octopus in a warm sea – all gelatinous and flowing and calm – easier to rest but slower to put on socks.

On the way to the back of the garden I noticed this butterfly yesterday.  I stared at it.  I looked at the combination of yellow and blue on its wings and I wondered why this was the first butterfly had seen in my garden.  Then it occurred to me that this was just the post-caffeine-addiction butterfly, and so it was the first one actually seen…and not the first one.

What is life like when we stop self-medicating? How do we slow down or speed up or pay attention or process grief or sense danger or even hear God when we are “clean” of socially acceptable addictions like caffeine and work?  It will be interesting to see.





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