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For Medical Reasons, I Was Forbidden to Drink Coffee During Finals Week

“My doctor warned me that since I was a caffeine addict, some side effects would occur. He rattled them off like the quickly speaking voice in medical commercials.”

The Worst Week to Give Up Coffee

My doctor warned me that since I was a caffeine addict, some side effects would occur. He rattled them off like the quickly speaking voice in medical commercials.

By Mallory Arnold, Ohio University

When I first discovered coffee, I was a six-year-old rascal stealing mom’s drink off the counter.

I immediately thought it was repulsive and spit it back into the mug. Sorry, mom.

I was never one of those unfortunately stereotyped “basic bitches” who visited Starbucks every morning and basically payed rent at their favorite table. But freshman year of college took a toll on me, and I’m pretty sure I aged about five years all in one sitting.

I started drinking coffee when my friend offered to buy me a cup during an all-night study session. It was the most delicious amazing capi-mocha-latte-OK I don’t know what it was but it tasted like it was made by a magical leprechaun.

So began my routine of a cup in the morning, another one in the afternoon, and later at eight o’clock. I wouldn’t get through the day if I didn’t have my caffeine and would crash by ten. Coffee was my drug. I took it iced, whipped, shaken, stirred, dark, light, creamer, black or even in chocolate covered bean form.

Late into sophomore year, my body started to revolt against me. Quite literally, revolt. I could hear the little protests coming out of my ears.

What do we want?”


“When do we want it?”

“All day!”

I spent a day in the doctor’s office, and finally he gave me a terrible piece of news.

“No caffeine for a week. Do you drink coffee?”

As I debated lying, I felt sweat form in between my fingers. Since when does that ever happen? Never. Which is why I figured that the doc might actually be right and I needed to take a break.

"My doctor warned me that since I was a caffeine addict, some side effects would occur. He rattled them off like the quick-speaking voice in medical commercials."

I grouped my coffee withdraw in phases, simply to gauge a kind of timeline to where I could relive the moments when life was in shambles. It’s like watching your friends get yelled at by their parents. Hard to watch, but you can’t look away.

The first phase was denial. I refused to let a small caffeinated beverage control how my week was going to go. My doctor warned me that since I was a caffeine addict, some side effects would occur. He rattled them off like the quickly speaking voice in medical commercials.

“May cause painful bleeding, poisonous snakes and tax raise.”

When I began to get super lethargic throughout my first couple of days, I blamed it on the weather. Yes, I am so ignorant as to blame a few nimbus clouds for all my problems. I pushed myself to work harder than ever just to prove that I could, then crashed at about nine o’clock. And yes, I suppose I could have done that for seven days in a row, but there was a problem.

It was finals week.

Phase two was when I turned from a sleepy Furbie to an angry Gremlin. If you don’t know what those are, you’re too young. Go call your mom. She misses you, anyways.

I had the temperament of a crocodile with a fever and the personality of a monkey on a banana fast. Not nice. I began snapping at everyone and anything I could, even growling at a few squirrels who got too close for comfort.

Stupid, nosy, oversized rats…

My head was beginning to pound regularly, to the point where I had to speak extra loud to hear myself over the banging that was going on in my skull. It was like my brain banging a gong to remind me that it was time for a coffee break.

So of course, my patience was lacking. Or nonexistent. All the while I was trying to hunker down and study for my vomit-inducing exams coming up.

The worst point of phase two was when I was in class trying not to rip my hair out because of the intoxicatingly slow-speaking professor. It was like someone was holding down the lowest piano key note until it very slowly died out. Not to mention I was tired as hell. The combination was perfect for a little nap, like warm tea and a heated blanket.

But unfortunately, the teacher saw me snoozing and called me out for it.

“Bored in my class?”

“Yes, sir,” the little angry crocodile of a person that I was snapped back.

In phase three I became an insane psychopath, like a crazy ex-girlfriend who isn’t an ex-girlfriend.

My emotions were going haywire as I felt my body slowly shutting down and abandoning ship. For instance, I happened upon a video of puppy without two front legs, and bawled my eyes out for fifteen minutes.

OK, twenty.

I spent everyday in the library, chaining myself to a table and forcing myself to stare at my laptop screen for as long as I could. Smells of coffee wafted around as I heard loud echoes of students happily slurping away at their mochas.

One specific day, I was practically shoving my PBIO notes down my throat when I accidentally knocked over the cup of water I had placed out.

Oh, you can bet it was World War XYZ.

I immediately began to cry and clutch my damp notes, dribbled not only with water but now my own tears. Everything was ruined, life was over, everyone was staring, I gave up.

Meanwhile, my boyfriend cautiously got up to retrieve paper towels and cleaned up the mess while I sniffled into my sweatshirt sleeve, waiting for this hurricane I had induced to be over.

I wish I could say phase four was acceptance, but I don’t really remember. I was too busy sleeping, a lot. The end of finals week fizzled and while everyone went out to drink and celebrate, I plopped in bed and refused to come out unless someone dragged me by my heels.

I liked phase four the best.

Once I was technically “allowed” to drink coffee again, I was a little nervous. Yes, my week was hell, but as the weekend ended and Monday approached, I debated on giving up caffeine for good.

I was drinking a lot more water, which was healthier. I didn’t have random mood swings anymore, the way coffee sometimes gives you a high then a crashing low. My face actually thinned out, which is always nice. I won’t complain about that.

I felt like my sleep schedule was normal again, like I was allowed to be tired in the morning and it was acceptable to go to bed at an average time.

As I thought about all the positive things about giving it up, I contemplated why I even started drinking the stuff to begin with.

Then my phone beeped and in came a flood of emails about homework, texts about parties and tweets about 50 page papers.

I poured myself a big cup of coffee.

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