As y’all know, when I was diagnosed with epilepsy in March 2006, I read up on the condition–because I’m all about the research. As soon as I learned that too much caffeine aggravates the condition and the symptoms, I quit drinking Cokes. It huuuuuurt. I quit cold turkey, too. Sorta. I finished the Cokes we had on-hand, and after that, no more Cokes. Until I had my colonoscopy in March 2007, and I got a little hooked on ginger ale. It is caffeine free, and it was the only thing that settled my stomach after being on that wretched Half-Litely crap and emptying every nook and cranny of my intestines. Eventually, I stopped again, because Dr. Awesome said no high-fructose corn syrup. But then I discovered natural sodas (thanks, essay!) that are made with pure cane sugar and no caffeine, and well… I’m addicted to black cherry natural soda.
I have digressed in lengthy measure. Ok. When I was on caffeine, I needed a good hour to wake up with my first Coke or two. But ever since I gave up caffeine, it takes me approximately thirty seconds to wake up in the morning (unless I take my meds really late–no matter what, I can’t get out of bed if I haven’t taken my epilepsy meds at least eight hours earlier). The difference (after the withdrawal headaches) is enormous. I wake up, I pee, I come out of the bedroom to start my day.
And then there’s my hubby. He drinks at least one mug of coffee before he can even consider waking. It’s just better for me to not speak to him until he’s gotten past the first mug (or two). He goes half a day without caffeine and has enormous headaches and becomes Mr. Crankypants.
Well. I figured that since this is deeply embedded in his brain (as Cokes were in mine) from the time he was living at home and his dad was making his sludge-strong coffee for him, it would take some kind of drug rehab to get him to quit. Coffee’s great, of course, but decaf would be so much better for our marriage (read: he won’t be so grumpy in the mornings), right?
So I started slow. I told him to give caffeine-free Coca-Cola a try. I figured if he was bringing Coca-Cola (the nectar of life) into the house, at least if it was caffeine free, I could have it sparingly (the HFCS is not something I’ll have often as it is). He turned up his nose at first, because he apparently made the egregious mistake of drinking one of his mom’s caffeine-free diet sodas when he was younger (ugh, diet!) and has therefore always associated caffeine-free with nasty aftertasty cola. I finally convinced him that since it’s still horrible for him, due to the HFCS, he could give it a try. He, of course, told me I was right, and caffeine-free Coke tastes just like fully leaded Coke.
And any day after that on which he woke up exhausted and moody, I hinted (ok, strongly hinted) that he should consider moving to decaf coffee, because then it might not be such an ordeal to wake up in the mornings. After a bunch of “eh”s, he finally told me I could try weaning him off the caffeinated coffee.
But the kicker is this: he can’t know it’s happening. I am not to let him know when he’s on decaf coffee. He needs the placebo effect of thinking he’s having caffeine every morning. That will work fine until he goes back to work, at which point I’ll need to tell him so he’ll know that he has to bring his own magic coffee or drink from the decaf pot at work.
I started this week, the weaning. I make him six cups of coffee every day. Six tablespoons of ground coffee. I started with five caf / one decaf for a few days. Then four caf / two decaf… It will go on from there until he’s fully decaf. Every day I quiz him. “So, how do you feel today? Have you been tired today? Do you have a headache? How was your coffee?” He knows why I’m asking, but he doesn’t know where on the caffeinated spectrum his coffee lies, and he won’t, because he rarely reads my blog. ;-)
I’ll update you after he’s been decaf for a while and tell you if there was an effect… I suspect there will be.