Change #22: Decaffeinated Tea And The Rise of Bumbling Me

My stomach has been queasy for the last two weeks. I suspected it might be all the earl grey tea that I drink in order to stay awake throughout the day. I am seriously sleep deprived; I run on less than 6 hours of sleep per night. E.G., keeps me functioning at a high degree. Especially in the mornings.  I know. It’s a nasty little circle.

But I couldn’t stomach the pain any longer. (Quite literally.) I woke on Tuesday morning and decided that my challenge for that day would be to drink Strawberry and Rhubarb herbal tea as my first cup of tea, (I found it in my cupboard the night before, and wondered when exactly I bought it) and then I would switch to E.G. on my way to work.

I was quite concerned about the non-caffeinated part of this challenge. I require a high level of stimulant in order to function in the mornings, and this is the reason for the 5 AM E.G., followed promptly by a second dose around 7:30 AM. It guarantees I will be an alert, articulate, worker bee by the time I start my shift. Although, in the last few weeks, this worker bee has had belly pain.

Without caffeine, I am bumbling about rubbing my eyelids, looking around in a sleepy stupor, living perpetually in a moment of wondering: what’s going on?  I can be driving to work, standing in a lineup at the coffee shop, or simply getting groceries and I will have the dazed, deer in the headlights look. Nothing is easy. Everything I do is challenging. Tying my shoes. Impossible. Thank God for velcro.

Remarkably, Tuesday went well. I was bouncy, and smiling, popping my head annoyingly over co-worker’s workstations giving them funny faces. The first day pain free in weeks, and I felt newly energized. To be fair, that morning when I woke up I wondered whether I really needed as much E.G. as I drank. As soon as I woke, I felt refreshed.

I have become a person of routine. I do things, because I do them, and that’s what I do. The problem is that I have lost the ability to determine if I don’t need them. On Tuesday, I didn’t need E.G. at 5:00 AM.

On Wednesday morning, it was a whole different ball game. I woke and felt sluggish and tired. I forfeited E.G. again but this time, the outcome was as I originally anticipated. I was sleep walking with LBM in the AM, drove to Starbucks for the 7:30 AM E.G. and by the time I arrived at work, I slowly drifted my heels across the parking lot with the my work bag dragging behind me. When I got to work, I ran downstairs for another cup of E.G. before the start of my shift. There would be no error free days in my work life with this fog hovering in my brain.

Some days I may not need E.G. I just have it, because it’s what I do. And those should be the days that I forfeit. On other days, if I wake and I feel like I need another 6 hours of sleep – grab the big cup of E.G.


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