On the rocks

Jonna Jerome

Have you ever contemplated how much time it would actually take to do everything you are supposed to do to stay healthy? I find little things like taking care of my family or working get in the way. Why am I thinking about this now? Because I’m in the doctor’s office for my annual physical, sweating through the questions and swearing I eat enough vegetables and go to physical therapy regularly. Medical appointments make me tense. I hate taking tests I can’t study for – such as blood pressure levels, heart rate, vision acuity, and lab work.

Overall, I’m in better shape than I thought. Yet, it only took one more small suggestion to tip the scales for me. As my doctor made her exit, she paused and said I needed to hydrate. I balked at this for reasons too embarrassing to elaborate on. Suffice it to say, if I drank the daily recommended amount of water – and attempted to do everything else I’m supposed to do in order to stay healthy, you’d never see me again.

“I drink,” I replied. “What do you drink?” the doctor asked from the doorway. “Are you limiting caffeine and alcohol?” My mind raced through a typical day. I realized, and admitted, what I drank most was iced lattes. She naturally came back with “You should drink water.” I considered this. “The lattes have ice in them.” The door closed.

I made my way out, feeling drained as I had to get up early for this appointment in the first place, as well as get someone to cover carpool for me. I’d have to reciprocate. On my way to my car, I spotted a new coffee haven shining like a beacon in the night not half a block from the medical office. I slunk over there, feeling guilty, but this did not stop me from entering. I ordered my usual…with extra ice.

The rest of the day was fraught with annoying but necessary errands, phone calls, a sick cat, and a fender bender. The last on the list involved only me and a wall. It unfolded like this:

My insurance company called to tell me (in between the long periods of time I was left on hold), that they still had not received a release form I filed multiple times beginning four months ago. Each time we engage in this same conversation, I am given a different email, address, or fax number to send it to. In the meantime, they won’t talk to me about my kids’ outstanding claims! Apparently, any child 12 or older now has to give their parents permission to speak about their activity. I finally told them to send my son the monthly premium invoice, and good luck getting paid.

This made me grumpy and put me behind in the medication regimen for our cat. According to the vet, he has a fungal infection, a bacterial infection, and possibly a liver problem. The fact that he’s 18 pounds makes it interesting when trying to wrap him in a towel like a burrito to accomplish the dosing. My adult son and I have to do this as a team. I somehow managed to hit my head in the process and the cat immediately vomited the medicine back up. I broke out the ice again for a very different application.

After that fun detour from telephone wars, I started prepping dinner. I then realized I was out of two items that should be stocked in any pantry. I couldn’t finish the task at hand without them. I raced to the grocery store. Everything was fine until I returned home and went to open the garage doors. The automatic door opener refused to cooperate. I tried the old hand-held still in the glove box, but that didn’t work either. I finally left the car in the alley and went into the yard via the back gate. I was rushing by this time because I had left seafood on the counter. Hopefully, the cat was too nauseous to notice. Nevertheless, seafood does not last long and I’d be forced to cook something else if I didn’t get a move on. Likely it would require other ingredients that I didn’t have.

I opened the side door to the garage and used the wall unit to lift the door, then drove the car in. That’s when I clipped my bumper on the side of the garage. That horrible, grinding sound filled my ears. In my defense, my husband’s 1965 mustang occupies the prime parking spot, and my narrow space is trickier to navigate. It’s a weak excuse but that’s all I’ve got.

Now I was faced with having to tell my husband I banged up both my car and the side of the garage, which will likely entail calling another insurance company. Pure torture. The insurance company, not my husband. What, you might ask, does this have to do with ice or drinking more water?

I brought in the groceries then dutifully went to the cabinet for a water glass. I hesitated when I spied cocktail glasses on the higher shelf. My hand wavered. I rarely opt for this kind of beverage outside a special occasion or at least a Friday. Yet, as I broke the news to my husband, I also asked if he could make me a drink to go in that fancy glass. Before I took a sip, I added one last embellishment. What the hell, now it has ice in it.

I don’t have a lot of vices. Coffee is really the biggest…and brings me joy as well as a bit of energy. As far as I’m concerned, I’m hydrating. The cocktail is rare…but you can bet if it helps, from now on it will be on the rocks.

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