No way to live…

I’ve been tired, and irritable, and struggling to concentrate all day today. I’d usually write it off to one of the six different projects sitting on my desk in some condition of “not done yet,” but that’s mostly situation normal. Hardly cause for the two spontaneous nose bleeds that left me with chunks of tissue jammed up not nose so I could get on with whatever it was that I was doing while stanching the flow hands free.

Other than conditions as described, I don’t feel bad. My blood pressure isn’t out of whack. All appears to be as well as you could expect.

It wasn’t until I got home this evening that I realized that I was carrying around the probable culprit of at least some of my ills on my back. It seems in the mad rush to try getting some of those unfinished projects nudged towards the finished stack, I neglected to maintain a regular level of coffee intake. I can’t begin to tell you the last time I came home with a perfectly full thermos at the end of the day. Usually I’m finishing up the last of it while pulling into the driveway.

I’m just going to assume that today’s low state of affairs was triggered entirely by the shameful lack of caffein in my system and commit myself to doing better tomorrow… Because going through the day wholly uncaffeinated is no way to live.

So apparently it’s not a stroke…

Not long after lunch this afternoon my left eye twitched once and then felt like someone was jamming an ice pick into the socket. My first thought, after the initial WTF, was “Wow, this is how it’s going to end for me… Stroking out at my desk after being utterly overwhelmed by stupid.”

Thirty seconds pass and the pain lets up enough to be mostly a roaring headache situated just behind my left eye… annoying but not debilitating. Since there was no face drooping and no obvious slurring, I went on about my business.

It wasn’t until around 2:00, when I reached for a long empty mug of coffee that reality dawned. I wasn’t about to stroke out at all. I was unintentionally coming down from a years long caffeine high and my brain was rebelling against it. I couldn’t tell you the last time I got so busy that I didn’t reach for a refill until almost the end of the day. It could easily be half a decade or more. After all but mainlining three cups, the pain in the ol’ brain box settled out from a dull roar to nothing at all by the end of tour.

Consider it lesson learned. Now that I know the unfortunate results of under caffeinating, I’ll never, ever let it happen again.

From the Mailbag: Energy Shot

The Question: How about you take on buying “energy shots” to make it through the day versus getting enough sleep to make it through the day?

The Answer: I wish this is one I could take on with some authority, but I don’t have any actual firsthand experience with these newfangled energy drinks. In the finest traditions of blogs everywhere, though, I’m not going to let my lack of expertise or experience stand in the way of issuing a definitive opinion on the matter.

The closest I’ve come to trying an energy drink was an unfortunate episode when a bartender handed me a drink made with Red Bull. As I recall, it tasted almost exactly like red cough syrup. That’s a flavor I don’t find particular appealing in an adult beverage and as I recall, most of it was left sitting on the bar.

While I can’t speak with any competence on Red Bull or 5-Hour Energy, I do have a certain familiarity with coffee – civilization’s original energy drink. I’d be hard pressed to function without its steady rush into my system throughout the day. At the moment, I’d say I average somewhere in the vicinity of a pot a day. Some days it’s a little more, some a little less. When it gets to be a lot less, then the blinding headaches start so that doesn’t happen very often.

I’m sure there’s plenty of virtue in getting a “full night’s sleep”, whatever that is. Personally, if I spend more than about six hours in bed I can’t quite shake the feeling that I’m wasting too much time just laying around being more or less unconscious. In fact I’m pretty annoyed that sleep demands even that fifth of my day, when there always seems like something more productive or at least more interesting that I could do with that time.

Maybe it’s the wimp’s way out, but I suspect that right combination of stimulants and sleep are probably intensely personal. What works for me probably won’t work for someone else. How else could I explain people who seem to spend their whole weekend in bed (other than calling them out as incredible slackers, of course)? As it stands, I’ve got maybe 35 good years left on this rock and I don’t intend to spend a third of them abed.