“Reason for your visit to the ER tonight?”
“Umm, I’m having a bad trip. I ate part of a pot cookie.” Dear God the humiliation. The nurse lowered her head and squinted at me over her glasses. “And I have cancer!” I blurted out.
“Please take a seat over there,” she said pointing.
I sat down in the waiting room, which on a Friday night was hopping like a club. My dad, who had accompanied me, took a seat next to me. If I remember correctly I think he was reading The New Yorker, which he’d brought with him from home.
Feeling paranoid from the weed, I decided I needed to “lay low,” so I slithered down in my chair, the lowest I could go. My dad peered down at me out of the corner of his eyes; no doubt he was counting the minutes until my partner arrived to take over babysitting. I tried sneaking a peak at the others sitting around me; they looked like a pretty rough crowd.
“Dear God, Goddess and Universe: I’m having a bad trip and I’m surrounded by sketchiness. Can you please help? Thank you.”
My partner arrived, greeting my dad as if nothing the least bit strange was transpiring. My dad wished me luck – like I was about to write an exam – then left. Soon after I was sitting with my partner at a nurse’s desk as she took my vitals. I explained that I had been eating the cookie, (baked by a well-meaning friend), in an effort to soothe my anxiety enough so that I could eat a proper dinner. Since my recent cancer diagnosis I was having great difficulty eating and had already lost seven pounds.
“I had one bite and it tasted awful, like poison. But nothing happened so I took another bite.” The nurse looked at me, as if to say, “don’t you know anything?”
“Then I was in the bathroom for a long time, re-arranging things and looking at my pores.” I’m pretty sure the nurse was silently judging me at this point.
I continued, “and I felt good, but then I started freaking out…” I trailed off.
As if by magic, I was suddenly presented with a cardboard bowl and I barfed up some banana. I tried throwing up daintily – I mean despite this horror I was still a lady.
The decision was made that I would “ride out my bad trip,” on a stretcher in the waiting room, positioned a bit off to the side. I lay down feeling at once very safe and very exposed. I babbled to my partner, clutching him at times as if I were in grave danger.
“Am I seeing what I think I’m seeing?” I asked him. The waiting room had suddenly become an episode of Law & Order, with two belligerent women handcuffed to their respective stretchers; police officers standing nearby. I wondered if the women were high on drugs too. “My God,” I lamented to myself, “look at the depths to which I’ve sunk. I’m on drugs and hanging out with criminals.”
Several hours later, no longer tripping and back at home cuddled up with my dog Leroy, I reflected on one of life’s most important rules:
When eating edibles, especially homemade edibles, refrain from acting like The Cookie Monster.
Take one bite and wait. Check your pores, re-arrange stuff, do whatever you want, but do NOT take a second bite right away.
Wait and then wait some more.