Sunday, June 26, 2011

Caffeine Affects Me (I Don't Drive Manual Transmission)

While the essay below is very slightly embellished, I wish it were a complete work of fiction for what you will soon see are obvious reasons; enjoy.

From the time I became aware of the effects of caffeine, I became somewhat addicted to it. In freshman year of college I had class attendance debates with some professors because I used to often leave in the middle of class to get another cup of coffee. In those days, I never had any adverse reactions to the quantity of caffeine that was coursing through my veins so I paid no attention to it but looking back, if I was leaving in the middle of classes to get some...yikes!

About a dozen or so years ago, this girl I was seeing decided that since she drove a manual transmission, I should also know how, and her mission was to teach me. I always had a curiosity for driving a stick shift so I went for it and boy oh boy, did I suck at it! Between stalling and god knows how much damage to the clutch I may have caused, I'm not sure where her persistence and patience came from.

I thought after a lengthy go of miserable failure that perhaps I might observe more carefully the process and in the meantime, quench my thirst with a refreshing Nestea Iced Tea (in a glass bottle of course). I was listening and inquiring about the various shifting techniques and the pattern of footwork between clutch, brake and accelerator -  I was also beginning to feel a bit emasculated by the process and suddenly, about half-way through my iced tea, my heart began beating fast; very fast, I felt lightheaded and my breathing became impaired.

I grabbed my chest and attempted to control my breathing and told my "driving instructor" that I wasn't sure what was going on but I thought I might lose consciousness and that my heart was racing way faster than I was ever able to get this car to go. Conveniently, we were blocks from the hospital so she decided to play it safe and got me to the ER in a snap, crackle to hell with my masculinity-just save my miserable life.

In these instances, the first thing the doctors do is determine if I had or was having a heart attack. A few wires, bleeps, and needles were used and at some point, I was told that I was not currently nor did I have a "cardiac event". I was then grilled about my daily diet and health/diet history which led to a few more billable labs before I was asked very specifically about my caffeine intake - past and present.

It was soon after that the doctor diagnosed the occurence as a result of caffeine intolerance and that I should be extremely cautions about my future caffeine intake and it was recommended I go for a series of outpatient tests to determine the extent of my intolerance. Mind you, this all happened without the "benefits" of castration!

All these years later, I am proud to say that I do still have my nads as well as a pretty good understaning of my caffeine intolerance. Oh, I still don't drive manual transmission.

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