Sunday, August 31, 2008

Aspartame dilemma.

I have tried to quit drinking my favorite drink.  Diet Dr. Pepper.  Now, my love of Dr. Pepper goes back to my childhood.  Dr. Pepper was the only soft drink my grandmother would drink.  She loved it.  Kept the fridge stocked with it when she could afford to.   My favorite though, is the diet version, but lately I've been reading some bad "reviews," if you will, on aspartame - the chemical that makes it taste so much like the original yet have no calories.
I can make you any drink on the Starbucks menu, yet I love Diet Dr. Pepper more.
I tried quitting the week before last, but after three days the craving was so intense I gave in.  I drank about 4 ounces, mixed it in with regular Dr. Pepper - which I had summoned from my husband during his latest grocery store run.  I have gone from drinking about 30 ounces a day to less than one, if that.  But not completely successful with the quitting thing. 

Diet Dr. Pepper isn't nicotine, or crack.  It's not even a social thing...I can drink anything, anytime.  It's a craving for ASPARTAME.  Bad stuff apparently.  I've had 3 doctors suggest that I have fibromyalgia.  I think I have aspartame disease.  Body aches all over, trouble sleeping, and there's a lot more if you drink too much of that stuff.
Let's hear from both sides of the issue.
What do you know about aspartame?  Do you drink diet sodas?  Ever tried to quit?  Know anything about the research?  Is this stuff really that horrible that the U.S. supposedly has a trust fund for all the medical lawsuits they expect to get because the FDA approved this chemical to feed to the masses?  It's in all sorts of foods now too.  Light yogurt?

Lemme hear from you.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I know you're out there somewhere.

Another sleepless but thoughtful night.  I've been meaning to come up here and write for some time now, but I have a very active child who dominates my time when I am not at work.  And when I am at work, my time is taken with sick folks or sleepy folks or folks who just need an ear either way.  Maybe that's what I need.  An ear.  Not literally - but someone to listen to all the rambling that is currently confined to the inner workings of my mind.
I've been dreaming a lot of my grandmother lately, most every night.  She has some sort of role in all my dreams, although now I cannot remember each of them.  Just her face looking at me, her eyes interacting with me, her hands in mine.  What troubles me is that I don't know what she wants.  Or is it what I want?  I said to my husband that'd I'd been dreaming of her a lot.  He had a ready explanation.  Well of course you do honey, you miss her.  I hope it is that simple.
Now don't get me wrong here.  I believe in God.  I believe in that happy place we are supposed to go if we live a good life and do right by others.  And if anyone I have ever known deserved to be in a place such as Heaven, it was my grandmother.
But what worries me is this.  What if she's stuck somewhere?  Somewhere in between?  What if she needs to tell me something?  Or is it just that I want to tell her something?  Are the dreams my mind's way of playing tricks on me, or some force larger than both of us attempting to soothe the soul's desire for another chance to meet again?
I wonder if this is the only life we live.
I wonder if I knew her before.  If I'll know her again, as someone else.  Will she come back around while I am here, or will I die and we both linger in some way off place in the distance?  Or do we just die and that's it?
I have had several relatives die since I have been alive.  People I loved.  And I wasn't there for any of their deaths.  Not one.  I was either just before or just after or completely far away hurting all the same.
A couple of weeks ago though, I was there with this little old lady in the emergency room.  Her son tried to get there in time but he couldn't make it.  She was alone except for all of us hospital staff standing around.  Normally my role is to comfort the family, deal with crowd control, help to process paperwork, call the funeral home.  All that stuff most people don't want to think about.
But this day my job was to put my hand on an old lady's shoulder, tell her it was okay to die, that we were with her and that she'd be alright.  It was sad.  Very sad.
I don't want to be alone when I die.  I have figured that much out.  Not that I'm thinking of dying.
Several days later I wondered - is what I told her true?  Was it going to be alright?  This is where some of you might say faith comes in.  Maybe that is what I lack, I'm not sure.
Then the dreams of my grandmother started again.  
I've decided that I'm going to take a different approach to this curiosity that plagues me.  I'm going to hire a psychic.  I've got to know if my grandmother is okay.  If when she died, and all the others I love died, if it really was alright.  Did they see the bright light and God's angels coming to get them?  Or is there just nothingness?
When all the people that I loved died, one by one, I squeezed my eyes shut, clenched my teeth and tried my best to shove off the feelings of sadness, anger, and regret.  But now I want to know.  
Maybe I'll never get any answers.  Maybe I'll pray to the dark silence in my house tonight.  Maybe I'll lose money and talk to a psychic.  Maybe I'll get some answers, maybe I won't.
But something's gotta give.  Even night owl's need their zzzzz's.