I am Not a Meth Addict.

13 Mar

Have you ever had one of those moments where you say something to someone, and, immediately after saying it, you realize that you have, inadvertently and unknowingly, said something terrible; something shocking; something your mother would smack your hand for and send you to your room, were you still ten and she still cooking your dinners.

I remember the moment like it was yesterday, though, in reality, it was more like five years ago. I was visiting the doctor for my 6-month checkup when expecting our third child. I sat in the examination room, just to the right of the built-in desk where a nurse sat, pencil in hand, ticking off the appropriate boxes as I answered her irritating questions. You know the kind: the ones that you dearly just want to answer, “YES! I SMOKE, I DRINK, I WALLOW IN THE MUD AND I NEVER BRUSH MY TEETH!” Or, if it’s a form from the elementary school and they ask if you’ll need a translator at your daughter’s parent/teacher conference you want to write in, “Yes, Finnish, please,” or some other such language that no one around you speaks just to be obnoxious and give them pause.

I have never done this. I’ve just imagined it.

Anyway, on this given day at the doctor’s, while imagining interesting answers but giving perfectly acceptable and boring ones, I was bold enough to interrupt the nurse’s rote questions with a little clarifying information. She had asked me, one question before, how much water I drank a day. My answer did not please her. She told me how many glasses I should actually be drinking (as if I didn’t know, being on child #3) and then she moved on, scowling, to the next question. I answered that one – something about whether I’m a druggie or not – and then, as she began the next I said, “Oh, I do do Crystal Lite every day.” (“do do”…I said it like that. Speaking isn’t nearly as polished as writing, is it?)

She stopped talking, her pencil hovering in mid-air, and turned her head to look at me. Her mouth, LITERALLY, dropped open. I had been looking straight ahead, giving her my answers without too much thought, but I quickly became aware of her staring. She’s sitting a foot and a half away and she’s STARING at me. I looked at her, confused.

She continued to stare.

I shifted uncomfortably in my seat.

She continued to stare.

I do not know how much time passed. Enough to make me wonder what on earth was wrong with her. Enough for me to flash back through what I said, considering and pondering, and to think, seriously, “Is she having an attack of some sort?”

I began to splutter something like, “You know, Cr…Crystal Lite…the water question.”

She continued to stare. I am not kidding.

I strove to understand her behavior; to explain my words. “Uhhhh……‘Crystal Lite’? You know…powdered drink mix? Kool Aid!” I almost shouted the word, hoping she could understand the sugary drink reference because, clearly, nothing else was working.

Still nothing. No flash of recognition. No raising of the drooping jaw.

“You asked about water…and I just wanted you to know….” My voice trailed off as she, silent up until this point, finally closed her gaping mouth and swallowed involuntarily.

Finally, “Powdered drink mix?” she managed to get out, doubt clear in her every syllable.

I nodded my head like a crazed mental patient, grasping at this straw of mutual understanding. “Yes! So I do have more water every day! I just forgot to tell you!”

She looked down at her paper, composing herself.

Oh, for a way to understand what was going though her brain. “I j-just thought,” I stammered, “you’d want to know…for…for your answers….”

“So you drink water with this ‘Crystal Lite’?” she was looking at me again, trying to understand, trying to do something I couldn’t figure out but maybe was cover up her impossible-to-explain behavior.

“Yes,” I said, nodding again. “More water than…than I said at first….”

“Okay, then,” she said, and, after presumably marking down my all-important clarification about how much water I drank a day, she moved on to the next question, all professional and normal, and wrote down the exact same answers I’d given the month before, and the month before that, and the month before that as well, ad nauseum.

It took me until my drive home half an hour later(ish) to figure out what her problem had been.

She thought I’d said I did Crystal Meth.

“I do do Crystal Meth,” her brain heard.

“I do do Crystal Lite,” my mouth said.

And she, God love her, sat there, mouth hanging open, wondering how on God’s green earth this woman sitting beside her carrying a baby and looking like a normal, non-meth-head could possibly have just dropped this bomb of information as casually as if saying she drank an extra glass of water a day.

Until it dawned on her that I WAS saying I drank an extra glass of water a day.

I mean, honestly, who hasn’t heard of Crystal Lite?

So that, my friends, is the supreme moment of misunderstanding that will never be topped in my world. I saw her around the doctor’s office a few other times after that. And always, every single time that I saw her, I felt guilty. Like I’d on-purpose answered her questions facetiously as I’d so often imagined doing.

Or, worse, like I was a meth addict.

I continue to answer such questions obnoxiously in my mind. But never once have I said, “I do do Crystal Lite”. Such a thing is far too incriminating to admit.

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19 Responses to “I am Not a Meth Addict.”

  1. gardenfreshtomatoes March 13, 2012 at 7:32 am #

    Pregnant Brain strikes again!
    I don’t care what the so-called experts say. It IS real…I said and did the most brain-dead things during all three of mine.
    That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. 😀

  2. Minnesota Prairie Roots March 13, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    This story is an absolute hoot. Your storytelling skills took me right into that doctor’s office. Thanks for starting my day off with a good laugh.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell March 13, 2012 at 11:27 am #

      I’m so glad to have brought a smile to your face! I hope I didn’t seem mean to the poor nurse…she was just doing her job and I suppose I took her out of her stupor, too, by my boring answers.

  3. Valerie Fletcher Adolph March 13, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    Lovely story, well told. How often have we been asked those repetitive questions and wanted to give a smart ass answer. Lovely to do it unintentionally.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell March 13, 2012 at 11:30 am #

      Hee hee! Yes, there was a strange juxtaposition there…me dreaming of naughty answers…and then the unintentional reality of one…ha! I guess I hadn’t looked at it exactly that way before – thanks for sharing your perspective!

  4. cravesadventure March 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    Funny how you can go from communicating to miscommunicating in 2 seconds flat – wow! I remember signing up for a bank account and literally shouting NO! when asked about dependents – guy probably thought I was cuckoo for cocoa puffs. Thanks for sharing & Happy Tuesday:)

    • Gretchen O'Donnell March 13, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

      🙂 Yes, there are so many issues we humans carry around with us! Happy day to you, too – maybe the adventures never be far away!

  5. bitsandbreadcrumbs March 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    Well, on the one hand I guess I can see how she could have misunderstood, but on the other hand you’d think she would have clarified more if she thought you were really confessing to “doing” crystal meth! But, a great story…just wish you’d sent her some Crystal Lite!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell March 13, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

      Yes, perhaps that would have been kind of me…but then, I suppose she might have been embarrassed, too! I will certainly never forget the look on her face…the absolute shock…I don’t think that she could even put together a coherent question to clarify anything, so shocked was she!

  6. hotlyspiced March 13, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

    Well, there’s not such thing as Crystal Lite here so everyone would naturally assume you were a preggie-druggie-mum! Great story! xx

    • Gretchen O'Donnell March 14, 2012 at 6:59 am #

      You know, that never even occurred to me! Crystal Lite is a sugar-free drink mix. I should add that fact in. I can assure you, however, that this nurse was not Australian, nor British, and I don’t even think she was Canadian. Maybe she just never watches TV? Which is actually probably a good thing!

  7. Katy March 14, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    What a fantastic story, Gretchen! Absolutely hilarious! Sounds like you were lucky to get out of that one unscathed!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell March 15, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

      Thanks, Katy! Yes, it was rather absurd – and can you imagine if she’d wanted to take a blood test? Good thing I look straight-laced. I’m sure that was why she was so shocked!

  8. Just A Smidgen March 15, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    Hilarious!! I think what made it funnier still for me was the way you wrote it up! Stammering and mumbling your response.. I could just picture you!! Crazy!! I love crystal lite and can’t imagine why she heard crystal meth.. hmmm.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell March 15, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

      Thanks, Smidge! It took me a long time to write it up the way I wanted it. Humor is hard to write! Yes…I think she was just not paying any more attention to what she wrote than I was to what I said…and she just didn’t hear me correctly at all! Crazy. Yes, I like Crystal lite, too, though they quit making my favorite kind a couple years ago, which was a bummer. it was tropical or soemthing…

  9. whatwereyathinkin November 5, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    hahaha! That reminds me of the time I went to the VA for testing.When I called to find out the results the lady told me on the phone that my blood lab work was fine but that I was definitely suffering from PTSD. But what I HEARD her say was I was suffering from STD! There were many sleepless nights and much confusion wondering why I had to see a psychiatrist about my STD. Which was the first thing I asked the good doctor when I met him.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 6, 2012 at 8:42 am #

      OH, my gosh, I’m totally laughing out loud! Thanks so much for your story!

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