Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Preparing for Bend It Like Beckham with brunch

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends and family - miss you and love you guys!

It's been a challenging month for me. In preparation for surgery #10 on October 16 - that's right, Surgery NUMBER FREAKIN' TEN, my Pain Specialist and I decided that it was time to wean off of the Gabapentin, the drug that is effective in reducing my pain, but has temporarily lowered my IQ by 50 points. He suggested a rapid wean as Gabapentin's half life (the time it remains in your body) is quite short. So, you know, get 'er done. I'll save you the messy details, but let's just say that there was twitching, multiple panic attacks, tears, and horrible itchiness. It was like the worst hangover of my life, but persisting for an entire week. I was adamant that I wanted to keep my schedule as regular as possible, waking up early, getting dressed like a regular person, and heading to work every day. I think that maintaining a consistent schedule kept me sane during that awful time.  I held it together while I was at work, then collapsed on my couch at 4:00 and madly scratched the bottoms of my feet while uttering judgmental comments to the contestants on the Food Network's "Donut Showdown" ("Too much yeast you idiot!") Good times. I've since begun a new painkiller and although my dose is not therapeutic yet, the pain relief is improving, and I'm smart again. I can problem solve, produce complex sentences, and follow 2 step commands. I got my smarts back!

One might think that after 9 knee surgeries, surgery would become a routine procedure for me. It's not. With each surgery, my anxiety and fears increase. Thankfully, #10 is not a major operation. The plan is to remove the scar tissue that is preventing my knee from bending past 90 degrees and then bend my knee until my ankle hits my ass. You know, a little "Bend It Like Beckham." They've warned me that there will be pain post surgery. NO SHIT! Anyway, when I begin to think about going under anesthetic, waking up confused, in pain, and pleading for more drugs, "The pain is a 10/10!" (Aside: save your 10 for when you really need it. No one believes you if you claim 10/10 pain too frequently), it evokes sheer panic. I just have to focus on getting through this, knowing that with some hard work my range of motion will return, and my left knee can continue to get stronger. Right? I am cautiously optimistic.

In the meantime, I'm back to pre-surgery bulking. My scrawny little frame took a bit of a beating during the Gabapentin wean, and I know that I will likely lose at least 5 pounds after "Bend It Like Beckham," so I'm currently eating and drinking everything in sight...cue BRUNCH.

I thought I knew "Brunch" prior to moving here. But I was wrong. I had no idea. Here on island, brunch is an experience of pure, unapologetic gluttony, immediately followed by regret, shame, and a terrible hangover. Brunch is comprised of 4 distinct phases. Let me explain:

1) Phase 1: Pre-brunch planning and brunch strategy

It is important to select your brunch attire accordingly. Some people choose to fancy up quite a bit for brunch and others take the more casual route - that's not important. What is important, my friends, is the fit of your clothing. Ensure that you choose something loose with ample give. The biggest mistake one can make is donning a tight sexy dress, only to discover 3 courses in that you look to be 3 months along. Also, avoid long flowy sleeves. Strappy dresses are best. You don't want billowy fabric dipping in the cocktail sauce.

The perfect brunch attire: loose and sleeveless
 Brunch strategy, on the other hand, involves preplanning how to the get the most bang for your buck, and consume as much decadent food in 3 hours as humanely possible. Some suggestions include: 1) Avoid the bread and other inexpensive fillers that you can easily eat at home, 2) Load up on seafood and pricey cuts of meat, and  3) At the dessert bar, avoid things that you could easily make yourself like cookies and brownies. Choose the creme brûlées and tiramisu. Strategy is key. Brunch smartly.

Look away from the bread!

2) Phase 2: My life is soooo awesome

Around 1pm, as you are simultaneously consuming champagne, rum punch, and sangria, a warm fuzzy glow overtakes your body. You look around the table at the friends that have joined you for such a joyous event. You LOVE these people. This is the BEST day ever. You moved to a tropical island and your life is soooo awesome. You are truly living the dream. This is when the person seated next to you with whom you've only ever shared work files hugs you tightly and proclaims, "I love you!" You return from the sushi bar with a new friend and introduce her, "This is Stephanie, the amazing person who handed me wasabi!" Phase 2 is characterized by being enveloped by the warm protective bubble that shields you from the rest of the scary scary world. You have no recollection of horrible world events, troubles at home, or even the fact that you have to go to work tomorrow. Tomorrow? Is there really a tomorrow? Live in the moment! Bottom's up! You have officially achieved the ultimate (legal) high.

We are awesome. Obviously. 

Look! My new friend is holding my crutch!

3) Phase 3: SHIT!

Now phase 3 can attack as early as 5pm, in which case, you still stand a chance of survival. If phase 3 hits, however, around 9pm or later, you are screwed. I repeat, SCREWED.

It's all about the decision that you make once brunch is complete. If the adulting part of your brain hasn't been completely drowned in alcohol, you will make the responsible choice to go home and hydrate. If, on the other hand, all sense of responsibility has been washed away with bubbles, you will make the fatal error to continue your shenanigans at the beach bar, Royal Palms. If this is the case, the warm and fuzzy comfort of Phase 2 will continue to overtake your body...until it doesn't.

Once phase 3 hits, you begin to feel regret, "Oh my God. It's Sunday. I am drunk. I have to work tomorrow! What was I thinking?" You madly guzzle water and rub your extended bloated belly. You examine your reflection in the mirror. You wipe the mascara that is dripping down your face and note that you resemble a Picasso - one eye here, one eye there- your face has literally fallen off. You retreat to a dark room and ponder how you could have been so damn irresponsible. How could something that feels so right be so wrong? You are so freakin' thirsty.

Phase 4: My is life is NOT awesome

This phase occurs once you awaken from passing out  post brunch slumber. It could be midnight. It could be 6am. It all depends on whether or not you took part in post brunch beach shenanigans. Waking up on Monday morning with a furry tongue, alcohol seeping from your pores, and vague memories of what you may or may not have said or participated in is a horrifying way to start your work week. You immediately reach for your phone and groan in despair as you realize you've been tagged in 32 pictures that display your Picasso-ish brunch face to the world. You feel shame. You feel regret. Think of the waste! Think of the starving children! How many glasses of bubbles did you drink? You have no idea. It was bottomless! You consumed infinity glasses of champagne! No wonder you feel so terrible.  You solemnly swear at that moment that you will never do brunch again. Until you do.

I drank this many. 

Cheers friends!

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