Crying Wolf

Best to avoid this one. Don’t come crying to me if you don’t.

I don’t write this blog for you. That is, unless you are one of the people that I normally talk to or send email to. Those are the people I write the blog for. And I’m not writing it for them, I’m writing it so they can take a deep breath and deal with me when they want to, they don’t have to have me invading their inboxes with either sappy long winding anthems about how lovely and lucky I am or hateful missives about how cursed I am. I write it to fulfill my pathetic need for attention without imposing any of that on my loved ones. This is my blog, if you come here, you’re gonna get what you came for.

I’m writing at 1 in the morning. I’m doing this despite the hideous headache and the taste and feel of vomit in my back teeth. See, I made the mistake of eating Tai food at 7:45 tonight.

It may not seem like much, but that’s because it hasn’t been added to the laundry list of other things I have done wrong. I spent a couple of years smoking. I spent a couple of years eating more calories than I burned, and I’ve stored those calories by expanding my fat cells.

Huh. I guess it’s not so much a “laundry list” as it is, y’know, basically what everyone else in America has done. Except for the part where I actually quit smoking and spent two thousand two hundred dollars and countless hours in a gym trying to lose the weight, only to wake up one morning fatter than when I started. And then, I made the mistake of ordering and eating a standard portion of Tai food. Yeah, I smoked for a coupla years, I gained some weight, and then I ate dinner. Not everyone suffers much from having done these things, in fact it could be argued that most people treat their bodeis way worse than this, but, y’see, I’m fucking *delicate*.

I have made this mistake before. In fact, last night, when I hadn’t eaten dinner until about 10:00, I got a turkey sandwich and ate it. I knew I was running a risk, and sure enough, by about one in the morning, I was *actually vomitting*.

Yeah, see, I have GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. You might think you have it as well, but since it effects about 7 million Americans I doubt you’re right. The acid in my stomach kicks up in to my throat when I lie down, if there is too much of it. It’s like the cap that is supposed to sit on the top of my stomach is lose, and acid spills up unless I am sitting *all the fucking way up*. And food goes with it. Into my throat, back up into my mouth, bathing my esophegus and vocal cords in acid.

GERD isn’t just heartburn. GERD is when the sphincter to your esophagus doesn’t work to the point where your life is altered. Like, let’s say, it’s one in the morning, you got no sleep the night before because you were up all night vomitting, and now you have to sit upright in a chair with a pounding headache and vomit in your teeth, which you can’t brush out because you’re so naseous that putting a tooth brush in your mouth will make you vomit more.

And more good news. It’s ruins your ability to have any kind of stamina as a singer or a performer. I have been able to do plays largely because I am obsessive about controlling my voice. I’ve stopped going to clubs, I never listen to live music any more because I can’t risk trying to speak over the crowd. I went to a party two nights ago and had to leave at eleven because I had *lost my voice*. I’m a musician who can’t go see other bands perform, I’m a professional singer who loses my voice at the drop of a hat, I’m a guy who is essentially useless except as a party clown who has to leave every party the second the decibel level gets up to the point of “fun”.

I’m extremely careful, and my wife is stridently diligent. It’s a wonderful existence, looking at the clock, thinking “can I eat this potato chip, it is past 8 PM” and looking up and noticing that look of concern on her face. The concern is because I wake her up *VOMITTING* in the middle of the night, but after a lifetime of being the fat kid, it’s hard not to respond with hurt feelings when someone reminds you not to eat.

So, I’m careful. I quit smoking because my doctor told me it was making the reflux worse. (I’ve since found out that the weight I gained after I quit *definitely* made it worse and that the smoking had nothing really to do with it, but at least this way I’ll get cancer of the throat instead of the lungs. I’m sure there are lots of roles that call for one of those South Park Ned neck buzzers.

Y’know. Roles. For my acting career.)

I’m careful, I don’t eat after nine. I even find myself panicked about it, begging everyone to *get dinner now*, because I know if I don’t eat until later I’ll be puking all night. I know that pizza will make me sick no matter what, so any time there is pizza I try to eat before or wait until after. Or, y’know, have a couple of bites and then stay up all night vomitting.

There isn’t a single item, all day, that doesn’t get the once over before it gets eaten. Like a neurotic thick glassed-asthmar ridden nebish, I plan for the end of day meals first thing in the morning, figuring out when I can eat so that I’m not left at 8 PM, still hungry and waiting for a delivery boy or water to boil. 8 PM is too late for me. If I start digesting at 9:30, I’ll be vomitting by one.

That’s the other special wrinkle. I’m not sure if I’ve yet mentioned that I vomit when the reflux hits, but, yeah, I puke. Never in one flash sitting, the way you might when you are actually poisoned. It usually takes three visits to the puker, about every forty five minutes. I puke out whatever is in my throat, go lie down, wait for it to fill up again, puke that out, start over. Three is the average, which, right, do the math, is about two and a half hours. Starting at about one in the morning.

So, I’ve learned. It’s a capricious ailment, there is no way to control it. If your Tai food comes at 7:30 and you’re done eating by 8:10, you might be fine, but there’s probably enough fat in it to drive your acid production through the roof. So, if you’re like me, you have some choices to make. If you are disoriented and exhausted from the rounds of puking you did the night before, you will keep gagging on your vomit, occasionally throwing up into a tee-shirt or something by the bed and convince yourself that *that* should be enough, you can sleep now, only to have it repeat on you the second you slide down off your six stacked pillows.

So, you’ve got a decision to make. Are you going to go to the bathroom and spend half an hour making yourself puke up everything in your system, or are you going to find some place to sit all the way up? Because those are your only options. I’ve spent night after night with a finger half way down my throat, praying that I could get all the food out of my body in enough time to have five hours of sleep. And I’ve woken up, gagging, laying sideways on a couch that I thought I would stay awake on.

But, don’t think that, just because I’m vomitting all night, that I’m gonna sleep in tomorrow. Tomorrow might be the day. Opportunity will knock on my door some morning, and I don’t dare be in bed when it happens. I’ve sent out headshots, I’ve layed the seeds, I’ve put my best foot forward with a shine on my shoes and a melody in my heart and I don’t dare sleep in for fear of missing it when my big break comes along. Tomorrow will almost definitely be like all the other days, days where success is measured by headshots mailed and phone calls placed and quarter notes written rather than anything coming to any kind of actual fruition. But there is a tiny chance that tomorrow will be different, and that the difference might be better. And, when a contract is mailed to me or a phone call comes my way, or those quarter notes become a song, you, my faithful blog slogger, will be the first to know. There is almost no chance that tomorrow will be better, but that tiny sliver of doubt is the only thing I have, and if I sleep through it, I will never forgive myself.

For now, I sit up, in my chair, sipping water to remind my peristalsis that it should be heading ass-wards and pray for sleep.