Friday, July 4, 2014


Red wine and sleeping pills help me get back to your arms

So Rosie and I are, like, total athletes now, right? The thing about being a total athlete is that you'll get injured once in a while, and there are constant strains and niggles in your body. I hurt my lower back pretty badly the other week, leaving me barely able to walk for a couple of days, and fairly uncomfortable for a few more. I dined royally on a feast of Nurofen Plus, regular ibuprofen from an American jar of 500 pills, Belfast paracetamol, and Difene and anti-inflammatory gels of varying strengths - provided by family members who'd been prescribed them for prior ailments. Not too shabby without seeking a single word of medical expertise. My back got better and I didn't need any time off work. My stomach turned to acid, my mouth to manky ulcers and my mood to mouldy. 
We realised, Rosie and I, that our knack for finding cheap and strong painkillers meant that we're both taking tablets on a daily basis for what are often really just dehydration or tension headaches, and tired muscles. We're quite good at recognising when something might just be beginning to be a problem, Rosie and I. It may leave us desperately short of good stories to tell, one day. But things have been tough lately, and if we emerge with only a brief phase of mild dependence on painkillers then we're doing alright.
We didn't flush all the pills, we're far too cheap for that. We just moved them out of our immediate eyelines, and agreed to keep a note of what we've been taking. Rosie made the necessary arrangements and told me where they were.
I wanted something this evening, after five miles in the park aggravated my back slightly. Rosie was in Sligo overnight for work, because she has a grown-up job that makes her go places. I might have asked if she thought I should take anything, because she is my sounding board for everything, even things she couldn't possibly know the answer to. I might just  have joked about falling off the wagon after five days clean. I found the ibuprofen in a box on a high kitchen shelf, and with it a pen and a sheet of paper for each of us, ruled into columns for what we took and the date. "Rosie!" said hers, "What have you taken?"
"Andrew!" said mine, for we share a fondness for the carefully deployed exclamation mark, "I hope you feel better soon!" I did. And I missed her - my wife who finds the right note of humour in the stresses of this life, who makes things exactly as much of a deal as they need to be.