Monday, October 14, 2013


Nine days ago, on October 5th, I turned 28. It was a Saturday and I was in Michigan attending a friend's wedding, having a grand old time, dancing too much, laughing in the rain, and enjoying too many vodka sodas with lime. I had so much fun that I lost my voice, slept too little, and felt the onset of illness 24 hours later, when I was enjoying birthday desserts at my moms (she watched the dogs while I was in Michigan). Pretty much everyone I knew had suffered from a head cold in the past week or two, and it usually wouldn't concern me, but I had another trip planned for the upcoming weekend. Unfortunately, that little cold turned into a serious sinus infection rendering me all but useless for much of the week and forcing me to miss one of my childhood best friend's bachelorette weekends in Vegas (what was to be my one and only trip to Las Vegas in my lifetime. Now at least I'll be able to die happily saying I never set foot there.) To give you an example of just how useless my week was, here's what my living room looked like going into the weekend... 

Tucker's not impressed.

Which brings us to Saturday night. I was kind of feeling better, well enough to get to the store to pick up ingredients and make my mom's homemade chili. I showered, even put on a little make-up (the first time in a week), popped a Sudafed, and ventured to the grocery store around 5:30pm. By 8pm, I was enjoying a big bowl of chili and lounging in pj's, queuing up the first three episodes of The Blacklist (do you watch it? I love, I repeat, I love James Spader. Here's an older snapshot for those who don't "get it.") Eventually midnight rolls around and I decide to head to bed, taking another Sudafed, forgetting I took one of the 12-hour dosages just seven hours earlier. This might not seem like a big deal. But two hours later I knew something was wrong. My head was pounding, my heart felt like it was racing (it wasn't according to my heart rate), I was beyond energized, I was nauseous, my body was alternating between chills and sweats, I felt slightly lightheaded, and I was having weird delusional thoughts(/dreams?) any time I closed my eyes to try and sleep (something about my shipments to the Chinese being intercepted by the government... whaaaat?). Needless to say I realized what I did with the medication, and I was concerned. I started Googling side effects, and this definitely seemed on the extreme/OD side of things. By 2:30am I'm sitting in my bathroom calling an emergency health care hotline. The nurse on the line said that based on my symptoms, I should seek medical attention immediately. Umm ok... now I was really panicking. Next step? Do I call 911? No. I call Mom. She calmed me down a bit; said I sounded rational and fine and that it didn't seem like two pills seven hours apart should warrant too much concern but if I really needed to, I should just go to the hospital. Step three. Wake up my boyfriend. Who I then made sit and watch me in my crazed state for thirty or so minutes to make sure I didn't die or pass out (have you caught on yet that I'm a slight hypochondriac?) Eventually I was starting to feel a bit better and I sent him back to sleep. I set up Friday Night Lights on my laptop in the living room and hunkered down with my pups since it was now 3am or so and I was still wide awake. Eventually I slept three hours. Other than a few random all-nighters in my wild youth, I've never only slept three hours (I'm a 7-10 hrs girl–have been since I was born). Sunday was rough. I looked like shit. Felt like shit. And was still sick with a cold/sinus infection but threw away the Sudafed. Devil pills. Turns out the pills I had, the ones that are kept behind the pharmacy counter that you have to show your ID to purchase, is the stuff Breaking Bad type folks use to make meth. Short for methamphetamine. AKA definitely an upper. Why does no one tell you that? Have crazy side effects ever happened to any of you?
Sunday was a detox day. Get all the medication out of my system. Steamy bath. Lots of tea, water with lemon, and bland food. I watched some football then tried taking a nap midday. Enter crisis two. Shortly after I laid down, my dog Fiona, who was laying at the foot of the bed, seemed to lurch forward. I thought there was a bug or something she was trying to catch. The next thing I knew, her little furry body started twitching repeatedly. She laid on her side, and I got up to see her jaw was locked shut, she wasn't breathing, her legs seemed to not work, and her body was just twitching and spasming violently, repeatedly. I screamed for my boyfriend to come in the room. Having never seen a seizure before, I thought she was randomly having a stroke or her body was spontaneously giving out. I thought she was dying right in front of me. I was just petting her saying her name softly while yelling for him to call a vet; she seemed to be conscious and scared, her little eyes darting back and forth. Whether she was or not, I don't know. After a minute or two, she the spasms stopped and she laid there still, awake and alert. Danny rushed to get the car while I stayed with her. After another minute or so, I tried to help her get up, but she couldn't. And then her little legs seemed to give out again and she shook. I scooped her up and ran out the door, leaving my other dog Tucker panicked and alone. We rushed to the animal ER; she seemed fine in my lap in the car, except for releasing her anal glands and shedding a pound of fur all over me. Three hours later, her blood work came back normal. Now it's just a waiting game to see if and how often these seizures occur. If it becomes several a month, she'll have to be medicated daily for the rest of her life; she's only five. Breaks my heart.
And now it's Monday, almost midnight.

As you can see, so far 28 hasn't been off to a great start. But looking back at last year's birthday post and reading how wonderful and sparkly everything was when I turned 27, then remembering how quickly things turned to shit, it's made me realize I am not going to make anything of it. I am not taking it as a bad sign or writing off 28 just yet. Sure I have more and more random white? grey? strands plucking through my scalp every day; and I'm not 100% sold the eye cream I started using this past year is even working (those are definitely lines on my temples!), but work is great...

Heck, I leave for Europe on Friday! I've thought about Europe–Paris, in particular–every day since I returned home from my semester abroad six and a half years ago. Daydreaming, wishing, wondering when I would go back. And now it's happening. I can't believe it. And to be honest, with so much to do between now and then, I don't think it will seem real until I'm there. Danielle and I haven't even had time to plan anything. Anything at all! I think it will be a very "relax and take it all in" experience. We'll be working of course. But it will be relaxing and fun. And we'll drink boatloads of wine and eat warm fluffy bread and put butter on everything and wear all black and feel fabulous.
And I have two of my best friends getting married this year! I'll be a bridesmaid in both. I have the greatest niece and nephew in the world who get cuter by the day. And a wonderful, supportive family (who answers my calls at 2:30 am!), friends (who don't get mad when I miss their bachelorette party), and a not-so-new-to-my-Instagram-followers-but-new-to-you-hearing-about-him-on-the-blog, sweet-as-can-be boyfriend. You can thank all of them for the lovely florals sprinkled throughout this crazy post (my birthday gifts).

So here's to 28. And things only getting better.


  1. Wow Alaina. I am so sorry you've had to go through all of that. That's so scary! I've felt that "not you" "out of your head" experience with weird vertigo that I heard earlier this year. It's awful. But I'm so glad you're feeling better and have so many amazing people taking care of you. Continue to rest and feel better! I can't wait to hear about Europe!

  2. I truly love your blog posts! You're so bloomin real, it's refreshingly fab!
    Any hints or tips on London, just give me a nudge. I've lived here for 10 years :-)
    Have a really amazing time and bring lots of jumpers because it's pretty chilly here. And also some rain-proof shoes - it also rains quite a fair bit here. But it's also amazing, and historic and beautiful.
    Heidi (from NYLON Lifestyle)

  3. I love you Lainie. I'm so sorry you had such a rough week, but I am so thankful you're all doing better for the moment. You deserve a happy and beautiful 28, and I hope that's what you get. Miss you and the crew every single day!

  4. Well, it can only get better, right? Sorry to hear about Fiona - I often say I wish my Sprout could talk so he could tell me what's wrong. That's such a scary thing to deal with :(


  5. Starting 28 with a bang! I am glad that your pup seems to be okay, that would scare me to death if it happened to my basset hound.

    As for medicinal side effects, the only one I have ever had was Ambien. I have always suffered from insomnia but loved Ambien because unlike the over the counter stuff, you woke up refreshed and feeling great. I actually think that I was 28 too when this happened - my husband was on baby duty and I popped an Ambien and zonked out. The next morning he told me that I got up in the middle of the night, picked up the baby out of the crib (I had to be out of it to mess with a sleeping baby) and took him in the living room. I had no memory of this which was terrifying. That was my last Ambien.

    I hope that you are back to 100% for your big trip - how exciting!

  6. Yikes! What a terrible series of events. Never taking Sudafed, thanks for the warning! And your poor pup, I can only imagine how scary that must have been-I hope it turns out ok and that was just a one-time thing. Happy birthday, at least you got some beautiful florals! And I spied the bar cart-VERY exciting, I love it!!

  7. i have never taken sudafed but i have had horrible drug reactions. the worst one i was laying on my couch, not able to move and barely able to breathe for 5 hours with my phone across the room. i am so sorry about fiona! i hope everything is okay, let me know if you need anything. and i am very excited about your trip and also very happy the boy made his blog debut! he seems like a wonderful guy and i am glad to see you happy!

  8. Sorry to hear you had trouble with the medication. That's actually a really common set of side effects from medicine that contains a decongestant (sudafed, Mucinex D, etc...)

    I have the exact same symptoms anytime I take one of those medications. It's definitely unpleasant but I suffered from chronic sinus infections for years so I knew the side effects were coming. Next time your best course of action is probably to see a doctor and ask for a nose spray as an alternative. They tend to have less severe side effects and work just as well to un-stuff your nose and stop nasal swelling.

    Feel better and best of luck with the pup!


  9. Oh my gosh Alaina! I'm so glad you and Fiona are both feeling better. I had awful side effects from drugs after surgery last November and it can be so scary. I'll be sure not to take that kind of Sudafed!

    The series of events you've had would stress anyone out but I'm glad you're still looking on the bright side. With your awesome family, friends and job, I'm sure 28 will get better from here. And I can't wait to see all of your updates from Europe! Three more days. :)

  10. What type of food do you feed your pups? Seizures have been reported (and fatalities) with many dog food brands due to the ingredients. A great site to check the quality of your dog food is Certain "human" foods can lead to seizures as well - so I would stop feeding your pups table scraps.

    Also, with certain flea/tick and heartworm preventatives, seizures have been reported as well. Comfortis and Trifexis were common preventatives that I personally heard complaints of side effects. I work in the veterinary industry so I can tell you with confidence to check on these items before resulting to lifetime meds.

    Here's hoping your pup has a speedy recovery!

  11. Poor Fiona!!! Sounds like an awful turn of events, but overall I feel like 28 is going to be 10,000 times better than 27! Also, from personal experience I can guarantee that having a rough time only makes us more aware of the good in our life. It's a shitty way to be reminded, but oh well. PS - you are a fantastic awesome lady who is responsible for inspiring tons of ladies every day. You da bomb. One bad week isn't even a speed bump in the road of all the amazing things to come.


    PS - I want that bar cart.

    PSS - that boyfriend of yours is just too wonderful! :)

  12. That is so scary. This American Life did an in-depth story on this issue a few weeks back. Every since I've listened, I've been really cautious about what/when I take cold medicine. It's worth listening to!

  13. Yikes. Sorry to hear that 28 has been such a crazy ride so far! Here's to it getting better. :)

    If you're looking for an alternative treatment for your sinuses, try saline nasal spray or a neti pot. Both will help quite a bit!

  14. Thinking of Fiona! And the boy -- he sounds like a keeper ;)

  15. Awww your poor dog! I'm so sorry you're all going through that, it must be scary!

    Happy Belated Birthday!!! Seems like you have a great outlook for your 28th year!

  16. I hope things get better! So happy I stumbled upon your blog! I'm in love!!:)



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