Posted by: Kate | May 4, 2009


Well, that wasn’t quite how I expected our just-the-two-of-us weekend to go.  It was wonderful, truly – I feel closer to Willem because of it, we got to see each of our favorite bands perform live in a really nice venue, we ate well and spent hours wandering a bookstore without a single thought for anything but our own personal interests and stayed in a very posh hotel.


There was that four-hour interlude in the Emergency Department of Brigham & Women’s Hospital, in which I had two different IVs and donated five vials of blood.  That wasn’t in the plan.

See, Opeth, not my band. I’m OK with them, but wasn’t prepared to rock out for them. I don’t know the music well, and I have this almost-embarrassing tendency to giggle when they get particularly growly and death-metalish. So, at dinner, I made the very conscious decision to have a few drinks, in an effort to be able to relax and enjoy.

Dinner at Beerworks, good stuff. Our hotel was about half a block from there, another half-block to Fenway and the House of Blues for both concerts, all very convenient. Nice place, wish we’d stayed longer. Or, just the whole night.

Anyway, two beers with dinner – which is about two months’ worth of alcohol for me under normal circumstances. We get to the HoB, and there are THREE bars on the ground floor. Oh, good. So we walked in and immediately got another drink – Willem stayed with beer, but I switched to mixed drinks.

I was OK up to that point, but after that drink – or perhaps the next – my judgment evaporated. I ended up having six mixed drinks at the HoB, plus the two beers from dinner, all between 6:00p and about 11:00p.

Bad, bad, bad.

About an hour into the Opeth part of the show, I very suddenly hit a wall (figuratively – though it wouldn’t have shocked me had I started walking into things) and needed to get outside and in a less-loud spot. I went out one of the side doors, and sat on the curb on Landsdowne Street for an hour. Willem was able to finish the concert, and every once in a while would come over and peek out the door at me. Fine, no problem.

At some point – midnight? maybe? – I realized I was going to throw up, and was actually a little relieved. Empty things out, make it so that I could just go back and sleep it off, great, right? So I did, right there on Landsdowne – in fact, to be precise, within INCHES of Opeth’s tour bus, which apparently makes me extraordinarily metal.

Embarrassing, a bit, but I don’t think anyone was watching – certainly no one came over or said anything – and after that I thought, “OK, I should start to feel better soon.” And I did, for a little while – long enough for Willem to come out of the concert and for us to walk (OK, stumble and giggle – he kept up with me beer-for-drink, so he wasn’t as bad but was also not near sober) back to the hotel.

Once there, I started feeling bad again, and made a beeline for the bathroom. After about three hours of sustained vomiting – when it went past the point of (sorry, TMI) throwing up bile and was just pathetic dry-heaves and whimpering – I finally called Willem in and asked, “At what point do I go to the hospital?”
And we decided that, the moment when you have to ask about the hospital is the point when you have to go.

So, 911, EMT’s, off to Brigham & Women’s. Spent four hours there, during which they hung three bags of saline/electrolytes and labeled me as officially “toxic” and wrote “alcohol poisoning” on my discharge paperwork.

There’s something to frame and hang on the wall.

We got back to the hotel and slept until about noon, and I honestly wasn’t feeling all that bad yesterday – a little sore, a lot tired, but no big deal. We had lunch with friends, wandered Barnes & Noble for a few hours, then went back and took a semi-nap in the car (because it was raining; we’d planned to nap on the Common instead) until it was time for dinner. Then went to the Blue October show, which was great, and the crowd was enough more subdued that we didn’t just die on impact.

The best part? About two drinks in at the House of Blues – up to four for the night for me – I actually got pulled aside by a bouncer who told me that I seemed like I was stumbling and had had too much to drink, and he wanted to take my drinks-allowed wristband. And Willem and I immediately went into defensive-teenager mode and got all serious and sober(ish) and, “Oh, no, look, we’re in our 30s, we have two kids, we haven’t been out on a date in years, we’re just overindulging a bit. But our hotel is within walking distance, we won’t be driving anywhere, and I’m really just sort of playing this all up for my husband anyway… I’m not that bad.”

And he looked me dead in the eye, thought for a moment, and said, “OK, then, have a good night.”

That really, really should have served as a sign to STOP RIGHT THERE. When a professional has shared an assessment that suggests you have had too much, that’s the time to stop. But no, I had to tap into the inhibitionless/judgmentless portion of my brain and think, “No way, man, I’m still gonna drink.” Dumbass.

So, so embarrassing. They were great at the hospital, very respectful and nice to me, no lecturing or anything. But seriously, I am far, far too old for those sorts of antics.  I have two very large bruises on the back of my left hand – dehydration makes for challenging IV insertion – and various sore spots from head to toe.  Worse today than yesterday, which is fine because I don’t think I need to leave the house today.  But still.  I’m feeling well and truly punished for my own idiocy.

We’ve already shared much of the story with Emily, in the hopes that, at nine, she views it as a cautionary tale and not an opportunity for one-up-man-ship. She was suitably impressed, but seems appropriately turned off by the whole idea right now.  Somehow I doubt that lesson will carry her all the way through to adulthood…



  1. Would it be too adolescent-ish to say, “I feel you on this”? At least you did it at age 30 and therefore are less likely to do it again. I did it (multiple times) between the ages of 18 and – I’m sad to say – 27. It’s part of the reason that my drinking days are over- two drinks in now and I start to feel queasy. Hey, it’s a good story, right?!?! Hope the aches go away by tomorrow….

  2. Oh dear, it must be that time of year. Mike and I hung out with a couple friends a few weeks ago on a Friday evening, for mojitos and dinner. I’m not sure at what point I just started doing straight shots of rum, but I ended the night puking my guts out in poor Jason’s kitchen sink, and then sleeping on his couch instead of going home with my husband.

    Your tags are right on the money – we’re too old for this shit. It’s kind of horrible to say, but I have a certain respect for alcoholics now – to drink like this for years and years on end…

  3. Would it be bad of me to say I giggled my way through this post?

    Only because I have BTDT, not in a few years, but yeah we are too old for this shit.

    Glad you feel better!

  4. Oh I so know that feeling! I peeked in all day yesterday waiting for an update on how the weekend went. I hope you feel better soon. The last tim eI did that sort of thing 3 of us split a bottle of Tequilla and 6 oranges, I felt like crap for 5 days!

  5. So glad you had a great time… well, up to the moment you ended up in the ER, but just in general. Maybe we’ll run into each other at some other metal show, and I’ll buy you a drink. : )

    Good thing you got yourself checked out. Really good thing you had a good time first.

  6. Oh Kate, you forgot “beer before liquor, never been sicker”! In a big way, apparently. My first big drinking episode in college (before that I’d had perhaps one Seven & Seven on Christmas Eve at Grandma’s) nearly landed me in the hospital; I know Public Safety was called in. One for the scrapbook. Onward.

  7. Oh, no! That totally sucks.

    I totally deserved to end up in the hospital after my girls night out in Boston in March. It was complete luck that none of us got sick…I drank my yearly recommended allowance of alcohol w/in about 7 hours that evening. When nursing my hangover the next day “I’m too old for this shit” was my mantra.

  8. In the immortal words of Pickles the Drummer from the band Deathklok on Metalocalypse, “That is the most metal thing I ever heard in my whole life. High five.”

    The thing is, yeah we may be too old for that shit, but dammit it’s still fun! –Well, up to the part where you were worshipping the porcelain god Ralph and being poked & prodded in the ER.

    Just remember the little nursery rhyme we learned in college: Liquor before beer, a good buzz is near. Beer before liquor, never been sicker.

  9. That’s the second time in 2 days that I’ve heard reference to that cartoon, which is significant only because I had never heard of it before in my life.

    And the beer-before-liquor thing never applied in college; beer tends to make me much sicker than any hard stuff. Well, in certain quantities, anyway.

  10. I know there have been a couple of times when I probably should have gone to the hospital and did not – resulting in a 3 day hangover.

    And for the record – My limit is 1 drink now. Anymore and I’m an accident waiting to happen.

    Did you enjoy the House of Blues?

  11. I have to say, I’ve seen permanent damage after that sort of night (especially on a second go-round in two days! Eep!). Please, please, I know you’re smarter than that…especially on meds…:(

    Hope you’re feeling better now. My house rule was always one drink, one full glass of water. Kept me in the bathroom a lot, but the hangovers weren’t so bad!

  12. Glad you’re feeling better. The last time I got trashed was my 30th birthday. I woke up the next morning and swore never again.

  13. I’m sorry that I giggled in sympathy. But see, you did do an adult thing in going to the ER. That just would never have occurred to me.

    If it makes you feel any better, at my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, The Uncles [Mom’s brothers] were quite hungover from the night before from tequila shots.

  14. Oh my!

    I had a similar experience in December. I spent the entire next day in bed, and threw up twice, once at around noon, and the second at 4:30. I remember wailing to my husband, “This is so embarrassing!!” Ick, ick, ick.

  15. NEVER, i repeat , NEVER, mix your drinks! Trust me on this . . yeh I prolly wouldn’t have gone to hospital either. Just drunk lots of water and felt like poo for a day.

  16. Ouch. OUCH. I probably came *thisclose* to alcohol poisoning a few Halloweens ago at a potluck night – and ended up barfing out the window of the car as the husband drove us home. With trenchant comments re: how dumb it was to drink alcohol flying between my kids in the back seat (because, in addition, I won the “Best Parenting” award that night as well).
    Yeah. I KNOW.

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