Nexium, that little “Purple Pill,” for me has been a godsend, the lower-case god being the advances in medical science particularly via AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. I’ve been taking it for more than a decade and it’s changed my life. I eat with wild abandon, much to my family doctor’s dismay. But this story has a beginning and I should start there.
I inherited my weak, sour stomach honestly. Both my parents suffered from chronic heart-burn back when a spoon of bicarbonate soda was the best remedy. My dad’s belches were legendary. They often registered on local seismic monitors and cause wide-spread panic of pending earthquakes. Mom could contract a fiery case of indigestion from a simple glass of tap water, probably caused by the chlorine content. Once I outgrew my adolescent iron stomach, I didn’t stand a chance. I entered a miserable period of my life where everything I ate…everything…gave me heartburn.
Then came new wonder drugs. One was Prevacid. I tried it. The lucky side effect lottery dealt me diarrhea. I changed to Nexium which, as I mentioned, have been happily taking for years. The only problem is, I am sometimes too adventurous.
Case in point, Monday’s lunch. The work crew all landed at the local buffalo wings joint known as Cricket’s. This remarkable place serves the best wings in town and is run by a Japanese family. Go figure. I usually order the hot wings and they aren’t too terribly hot. No tears. No coughing. No choking. Just a sweet release on the bite, and bite-back on the back of the tongue. On this particular day, I ask for two of my eight wings to be habanero. “Mix a couple in and surprise me,” I said. Words in retrospect, I fully regret.
The “habs” were no problem going down. I may have beat back a tear, but with only two to work with, it was no problem. Lunch achieved. Back to work. Within an hour, however, I was rushing out of a riveting discussion about software version methodologies and practical applications of the same with Eclipse. Luckily, there is an odd, little restroom nearby that only contains one toilet and has a bolt on door. What happened was nothing that needed to be shared in the standard three-stall facility at the end of the hall. I survived and thought that was the end of it. (Sorry about the pun.)
It took no more than 30 minutes before the next wave hit. Luckily, the one-holer was available again. This allowed my cries of pain to be discrete as possible. The “habs” are not near as kind leaving as they are entering. The government-issued toilet paper was no match for the infernal spices applied by those evil Japanese wing proprietors. What stayed together began smoldering, smoking, and, had it not been for the water in the bowl, would have surely burst into flames. This had to be revenge for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There was no other explanation. It was the most dastardly, evil, diabolical retribution ever devised and somehow they got me to pay $7.78 for it, too. Those bastards!
I washed up, toweled off, combed my hair, and rejoined my work group. Keep in mind, having to comb your hair after a trip to the john is one way to know you had a really terrifying experience. Between the waves of nausea at this point, the idea that the Nexium had lulled me into a false sense of security began to enter my mind. God gave me that sour stomach to save me from things exactly like this…to save me from myself. I managed the remaining hour of the work day without incident and pushed my luck with our local traffic authorities on the drive home.
Here I am a week later to tell you in retrospect that the kindly Japanese people of Cricket’s are not out to avenge any past atrocities. My symptom was just the start of something larger and completely unrelated to the food. It was followed by a fever and things best left unmentioned in polite company.
Life Lesson #284: Nexium does not make me a god. It does not give me back my adolescent iron stomach. And if you’re going to eat Habenero wings, save room for ice cream. You’ll thank me later.