My first experience with alcohol, or getting drunk I should say, is by no means exciting or dramatic, but considering the fact that I weigh as much as the average seven-year-old, the story can at least be described as interesting.
It was New Year’s Eve and I was 18 years old. My best friend and cousin, Becca, was on winter break from Pitt, and we were trying to spend as much time together as possible since we wouldn’t see each other again until after the spring semester. We decided that we were going to spend New Year’s Eve together, and attempt to get me shwasted for the first time in my life. Normally, Becca would go out and party with her other friends on New Year’s, and I would spend the night shoveling ungodly amounts of pork-fried rice into my tiny stomach with my family.
You see, my disease makes drinking, or participating in any illegal or frowned upon activity, a complicated matter. I rely on other people to take care of me, mainly my parents. So if I were going to stay out and drink, I would eventually have to call one of them to come get me, not to mention one of them would have to help me go to the bathroom and get into bed. Basically, it would be impossible to hide my drunkenness from them. Some of you might be thinking, so what, my parents know I drink and they don’t care? My parents are not your parents, and they have a justified reason to not want me drinking; it’s really unsafe.
I, however, had reached a point in my life on that New Year’s Eve where I did not really care how dangerous drinking might be for someone of my condition. It seemed silly for me to go through life constantly making cautious decisions to avoid getting in trouble or hurting my body. You only have one life to live, mind as well make the most of it.
But please don’t get the impression that I was approaching this night by throwing all caution to the wind. I firmly believed that if I acted smart and responsible about drinking, everything would be absolutely fine. There was a small voice in the back of my head saying, “Remember, you are far from indestructible, and it would be just plain stupid to throw away a great life for one night of fun.” I had no idea how much alcohol my liver could handle, and I wasn’t about to test its limits.
We decided it would probably be easiest to enact Operation Get Shane Drunk at Becca’s house, and that I would just sleep there to avoid confronting my parents while I was slizzard. The only shitty part about this plan is that sleeping over at other people’s houses is kind of not very comfortable for me. Unless my brother is with me, I usually sleep in my chair so that I don’t need to call anyone during the night to roll me from side to side. My chair is comfortable to sit in, as for sleeping… not so much. It does have a recline feature, but it is far from desired. Also, I can’t really go to the bathroom at other people’s houses, again unless my brother is there who knows how to do all that fun stuff. I wish I had considered all this before we decided to spend the night at her house.
Becca and I stopped by our grandfather’s house before we went to her house, because some of our extended family was in the area and they were having a New Year’s party. Around 10pm we said goodbye and told everyone that Becca was having a couple people over to her house, which wasn’t a complete lie; one of our other friends did join us for the festivities. As we left the party, my dad and our uncles came outside with us and reminded us to be smart about whatever we chose to do that night. I was surprised by the apparent fact that my dad was cool with me getting drunk as long as I wasn’t stupid.
An adult who shall remain anonymous bought us a box of Franzia, which might be the classiest adult beverage of all time. We weren’t trying to impress anyone.
When we got to Becca’s house, the movie 300 was on TV, so we played a game where every time we felt intimidated by a character in the movie, we took a drink. Becca had to help me tip the cup to my mouth because the awkwardly shaped wine glass did not work well in my awkwardly shaped hands. After I finished my first full glass, I didn’t feel any effects of the alcohol and we started discussing the possibility that my SMA made me some kind of super-human alcohol tank. Then I had another glass.
All of a sudden I was drunk. It was awesome. I felt so light and my muscles didn’t feel as tight as they usually do. Our other friend showed up. He and Becca continued downing glasses of the delicious Franzia, while I practiced driving in straight lines around the room, which was impossible. We laughed a lot, mostly at me, and all in all it was a great time.
However, we didn’t quite plan the whole night out as much as we should have. Around 3am, Becca and the other kid we invited were absolutely smashed. They both wandered off to different parts of the house and passed out. I realized I was now alone downstairs, not drunk enough to pass out, and with only my phone to keep me occupied. I tried to sleep, but like I said, my chair is not very comfortable. Also, when I do sleep in my chair, I am usually very close to other people that I can wake up if my head gets stuck or I become way to uncomfortable. Becca was two staircases above me and our other friend was nowhere to be found. (I later found out he had passed out in the guest bedroom, which was right next to the room I was in, so I could have gotten him if I needed to.) Anyway, at the time I felt totally alone and didn’t want to fall asleep for fear I’d wake up in pain and be unable to get someone’s help.
I literally sat there and played games on my phone until it died. That was around 4:30am. After that, I just sat there and tried to relax until somebody woke up. Not fun.
To my surprise and delight, Becca and her mom both got up around 7am. Becca came downstairs to get a drink because she was feeling really sick. I explained that I had yet to fall asleep and even though I acted like it was all good, her mom heard me talking and suggested they run me home so I could sleep. I say “they” because Becca had to drive my accessible van, and her mom had to follow us to bring Becca back home. Needless to say we were all grumpy, and in retrospect Becca probably wasn’t in the best condition to be driving me home. On the way home Becca and I started joking about the previous night. I found a video on my phone that I had forgotten about; it was just of me, sitting in my chair, with my head bobbing in all directions and a huge smile on my face. We laughed really hard.
I got home and woke up my dad, who was surprised by how early I was home. He didn’t ask questions, but I told him about my night and he laughed a little. I went to bed. My memory foam never felt so good.
Overall, that New Year’s Eve was fun, but could have been a lot better if we had planned ahead.