Let me tell you the story of when I was high as a kite while in my friend’s wedding.
It wasn’t on purpose, mind you. Not like we all smoked a big bag of dope before the ceremony.
Although tequila shots were had by some. Not me — I can’t drink alcohol.
But I was on a pill called tramadol for the first time and it had an…inconvenient effect on me.
You see, a week before said wedding I started having severe spasms of pain in my right side, presumably caused by my gastric pacemaker. It happens every so often, and usually my acupuncturist makes it go away. But, because the GP Gods had an extra special sense of humor that week, my acupuncturist happened to be out of town.
So I frantically called my doctor saying, “I have to be able to stand upright, in heels, and have a radiant ‘so happy for you smile’ plastered on my face all day for the pictures HELP!!!”
He prescribes a pain pill called tramadol, and says I can take one pill every four to six hours. If that doesn’t do the trick, I can take two — but be careful, because it can have a mildly narcotic effect.
You see where this is going.
So the day before the wedding I take two pills just to make sure nothing bad would happen, and I was a little fuzzy, but the pain was much more bearable.
So I wake up the day of the wedding in a house where I’m staying with the bride and the other bridesmaids, and decide…f%#$ it. I want to have fun dancing and not worry about the pain. So I take two again.
Funny thing, though, about my illness. I have gastroparesis, which means that I digest things differently on any given day. I also hadn’t eaten anything in about two days because it made the pain worse, and I was trying my best to be a helpful bridesmaid instead of a burden. Meaning I was taking these pills on a completely empty stomach.
So about an hour after I take the two pills, I’m searching for my Bengay patch and can’t find it. Then I realize that I’ve been staring at the same patch on the carpet for about five minutes. And I think….well, that’s not good. And I suddenly feel like there is a veil between me and the rest of the world that I can’t reach through to focus on any given thing.
My mom calls me. She’s driving to the ceremony but needs directions. “Uh, you just go— the beach is like, it’s Lot 34 I think? and the one road…”
“Leah, what is wrong with you?”
“I’m not, it’s the one road — I’m high Mommy, I’m so high.”
Laughter screeches out of the other end of the phone. “Took two, did we?”
“…how do I make it stop!?”
“You just gotta ride it out, sweetie,” she says.
So I walk up to one of my best friends, who was the maid of honor, and say “Kayla. I’m just letting you know…I’m really high right now.”
Now, Kayla just graduated nursing school and I had told her that I was taking these pills. This still didn’t stop her from looking at me incredulously and saying, “Why would you smoke right now?”
“No, Kayla, the pills!”
“Yeah just…make sure I don’t do anything stupid.”
Flash forward to the bride getting ready. An absurd amount of people were gathered in one room watching the bride and the bridesmaids get ready. A professional photographer was documenting the whole process. Another friend who was doing the bride’s makeup was delegating me with instructions on how to cover her back psoriasis. This was a three step process which was well beyond my powers of comprehension at this point.
“Katie,” I said, “I really can’t handle a job right now.”
Katie stares at me quizzically and I immediately feel the shame of being an incompetent bridesmaid. “I-I can do it. Totally. Just give me the makeup.”
“Girls, you should really get your dresses on!”
So we all gather in the side room where the door is slightly ajar (due to the curling iron snaking through the door into the nearby outlet). I grab my dress, pull it on, zip it up….and it falls right down to my waist.
Holy crap monkeys. After not eating for two days I must have dropped like twenty pounds and my doctor is gonna kill me and put me on a feeding tube and my dress won’t stay up and I’ll have to wear a trash bag in the photos but maybe I can use duct tape do we have any duct tape?!
It’s also important to note that, of the entire bridal party, I am the only one without a bonafide, medically-diagnosed anxiety condition. And I was the one having a full on panic attack.
One of the other bridesmaids touches my shoulder. “Leah, you’re wearing my dress.”
Oh. Ok. We’re good then.
At this point the mother of the groom bursts in to give us a time update, then leaves without shutting the door. The other bridesmaids shout for her to come back and close it, but I just roll my eyes and go “I’ll do it.”
My friends would later tell me that they all held their arms out and made a noise, similar to when you see a car crash about to happen.
Because I had completely forgotten that my friend’s strapless dress was still hanging around my waist, leaving me completely topless.
Once again, I must remind you there was a professional photographer in the other room. As I closed the door, I saw lights flashing. So I’m fairly certain that somewhere there is a professional photograph with my bare breasts photobombing in the background. Photoboobed.
I get the right dress on and help the bride put hers on. Now it’s time for the three step psoriasis-covering back makeup. But somehow I only have one makeup container in my hand now…guess that will have to do. I try to open it and I try to open it again and it won’t open what is happening?!
My friend turns the makeup container around. I was trying to open the hinge. After I still can’t manage to open the container, despite it now facing the correct way, she takes it from me and finishes the job herself.
The bride is dressed and lovely, and we were all emotional — whether it was the drugs or if I was just happy for my friend? The world may never know.
But suddenly I remembered. My escort down the aisle is the groom’s autistic brother. Didn’t worry me a bit when it was assigned, but now that I can’t even manage to open a makeup container correctly, I’m suddenly panicking that I’ll do something that will trigger him, like grab his arm too tightly, and his senses will overload, and he’ll have a fit in the middle of the wedding, and it will be all my fault.
Once again, helpful bridesmaid having a panic attack. But it turns out I needn’t have worried — my escort was drugged too. We made quite the pair.
Luckily the actual ceremony was outside and on the beach — so I didn’t have to navigate walking in heels down the aisle while stoned off my ass — and the ceremony went smoothly and beautifully. I felt exuberantly thrilled with my success. Many hugs were had and lovely (fully clothed) photographs were taken.
“I made it!” I thought. “I’m in the clear! Except for a few friends and a professional photographer or two, I didn’t horribly embarrass myself in front of an entire wedding party.”
That is, until the reception.
The DJ announced everyone in the bridal party as pairs, and we decided we’d all do cute poses when we entered. Not wanting to make it too difficult for my escort, we decided I’d do a cute little curtsy to him, and have him bow to me. We taught him how, and decided that if he didn’t actually do it when we were called, then it’d still look cute with me curtsying to him.
At this point I’ve mistakenly come to the conclusion that I have completely sobered up and will have no problems whatosever. I also forget that I now have rather high heels on.
Once again, you see where this is going.
They announce our names, the groom’s brother and I walk out, I go to curtsy…and fall all over myself. I don’t do a full face plant. I think that would have been far more graceful. My foot slides back, loses traction, and I wildly wobble about, futilely attempting to resist gravity’s diabolic pull. Limbs fly all over the place. My face contorts into bizarre shapes I thought only possible on a Pixel Paint program. I finally land on my feet and place my arms awkwardly on my waist in a cartoonish “I meant to do that” sort of matter.
Next to me, the groom’s brother bows perfectly.
I shake my head at myself. Haven’t I learned? Never underestimate a fellow spoonie.
And, in the case of a wedding, maybe stick with the lower dose next time.
About the Author:
Leah is a 24 years old suburb-of-Philly native. She has gastroparesis, dysautonomia, a feeding tube, and a battery operated stomach. She is the proprietor of this site, as well as the sassy Disney blog The Magical World Of, and a contributor to the new podcast Media Matters.