After-Church Hangovers: Why I Don’t Get Out Much…

Chronic Pain Patient

Whoever wrote the book on bad hangovers has never experienced the “day after” for a chronic pain patient who spent three hours with her church friends last night. Of course, I’ve never experienced a morning after drinking. I don’t drink, I’ve never been drunk, the only alcoholic beverage I’ve sampled is a sip of wine wetting my lips. I get WILD.

There’s nothing more frustrating than waking up at 10 a.m. to a day that was supposed to be productive. Filled with more friends. Filled with chocolate and maybe some potato chips. Splurging.

This morning, I woke up with a headache. It was head splitting. I sat up in bed and, instantly, I struggled to catch a breath. My body has a hard time adjusting to me suddenly changing positions. My heart races and makes me dizzy, sending my body into overdrive. I had a fever. Likely my thyroid being its moronic self.

My body overreaches to everything. Like a middle school girl who was just told her hair looks “fine” instead of hearing the words “fabulous.” Rage.

My muscles feel like they’re splitting too. I lay back down. Today is going to be a “stay in bed” day. A “start off your day with a mini Netflix binge” day. A “get homework done in the least amount of time” day. A “feel useless for your existence” day.

It’s not like I had done that much last night. I decided to go to church. The thing I miss more than anything. More than eating normally. More than exercise. More than my weekly hot fudge sundaes.

As worship started last night, it was louder and more rowdy than usual. The enthusiasm of the worshippers around me made me smile but made my head fill with pressure. With each clap of the congregation, I grew nauseous and felt faint. Let’s just say worship moves me. A lot. In good and bad ways.

Last week, during Easter service, I sang my heart out. I even clapped my hands normally, not just faking like usual. It’s not that I want to sing quietly or restrain from clapping, it’s because I must. I know my body can only take so much exertion. Last week, I didn’t care if it’d make me sicker than a dog who got into the family’s chocolate Easter bunnies. So I clapped. I sang. I hooted and hollered. He is risen. He is risen indeed.

A couple hours later and I was in PJ’s in bed with three heating pads and an icepack on my forehead. Ouch. It was worth it. If Jesus can have His back torn off by iron hooked whips and carry a splintered weathered cross on his bloodied body. If He could die in the most horrendous way possible so that my sorry butt can be with Him forever. Surely, I can endure a couple days of number 6 pain. Sometimes, I’m just a pansy.

But today, when waking up after church service last night, I was reminded of my fragility. I reached for my phone and hopped on Instagram. I was bombarded with pictures of my friends hiking. Out with family. Getting ice cream with their closest friends. I gritted my teeth. Bitterness filled my soul like water filling a sink. I had to pull the drain. Fast. I put my phone down and rolled over to stare at the ceiling and utter my morning prayers. As I mentally ran through my prayer list, my mind kept getting distracted by what I wasn’t doing: enjoying my weekend.

Meds. I had forgotten to take them. I rolled back over and reached for my morning doses, arranged conveniently on my night table. Yes, I know this isn’t England. No, I won’t stop calling it a night table.

I sat up again and swung my feet over the edge of the mattress, grazing the floor with the soles of my feet. *Sigh* Sometimes I indulge in self-pity like I used to my weekly hot fudge sundaes. A hunched figure of sorry self.

After taking my pills and tinctures, I laid back down and reached for my phone again. I was supposed to have a game day with some friends in three hours. Not happening. I sent out a group text saying “Hey, it’s Flaky McFlake here to cancel plans. Again. You can rely on me to be unreliable.” *Sigh. Bigger this time*

My prayers. Right. I hadn’t finished them. Instead, I dwelt on the fact that my friends will probably never understand why I don’t wander outside of these walls more often. The answer to every invitation must be “maybe,” or “I wish,” or “not this time.” I don’t expect them to understand, but I also don’t want them to think I’m brushing them off. Never. I want to be with them more than anything. More than I want my weekly hot fudge sundaes.

My friends are amazing. Even after months of me being MIA, they greet me with shouts and hugs when I enter a room after a long absence. They talk with me and catch up, even though I haven’t been a part of the collective group for a long time.

I know human behavioristics. I know there’s this thing called group experience, wherein, a group of people share life events together, and feel emotionally collected because of a shared life. The longer a person is out of the group, the more experiences they miss. The more experiences they miss, the more their place in the group starts to close. I’m afraid of my place closing. More on that another time.

All these various complaints go to say one thing: I don’t get out much, because getting out means pain and hours, sometimes days, of recovery. I can’t risk such a long bounce back while I’m finishing school. I can’t even risk a friend coming over for a couple of hours in the middle of the week. Because I will miss my naptime and drain faster than an Asus computer battery. I’m like a preschooler who goes to college. A baby who reads textbooks. An Oompa Loompa who can’t hold his end of the candy bar.

“Rest” is my continued prerogative. “Rest” is the word continuously uttered to me by the kind voice which is my Father. God. But also my earthly father. Along with his constant inquiries as to whether I’ve gained weight. No dad. Not yet. Thanks for asking, though.

Not yet. I can’t hang out with my friends. Yet. I can’t go back to work. Yet. I can’t go to church regularly. Yet. What can I do? I can stay here, spend time with Jesus, and spend time learning the many, many lessons He’s teaching me.

So, I don’t get out much. Not yet.

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