A bottle of tequila and a collection of shot glasses are on a table. The last shot glass is spilling over.

Let's Have a Drink!

Last updated: November 2022

I come from a culture where alcohol is very present in everything we do. If there is a birthday, baby shower or any type of gathering, alcohol is almost always around. My mom always told me, "I'd rather you drink at home in a safe environment rather than be out and embarrass yourself." So, when I became an adult, my first few drinks of alcohol were around my family until I learned how to control my intake.

I enjoyed drinking, but when NMO came along, I stopped

When I started going out with friends it always was a fun time when alcohol was involved. Somehow, I was a better dancer, singer, and better at everything honestly when I was drinking. After I was diagnosed with NMO, I was never told not to drink, and I never asked if I should stop. I just assumed that I shouldn’t continue drinking because I was “sick”. When I was diagnosed with NMO I stopped drinking for a while because I was going through so much emotionally and physically. But then 5 de Mayo came along, and I looked like the meme of the person leaving the office throwing the papers in the air on a Friday at 4:59 pm. I just didn’t care and want some sense of normalcy.

I enjoyed myself on Cinco de Mayo

I went for dinner and drinks at a local Mexican restaurant with two of my friends, Lisa, Yajaira and my brother Rob. I remember that night clearly. I ate shrimp tacos for dinner and fried ice cream for dessert. We shared a big margarita bowl and had plenty of tequila shots, the type of tequila shots I would do back in my college years; lick the salt off the back of your hand, take the tequila shot, and suck the lime. What a rush! I couldn’t tell you how many shots I took but, I was sitting down while all this was happening. I was feeling nice and tipsy by shot number who knows what. In other words, I was tipsy.

My mind felt clear, but my body was drunk

I remember going to the bathroom and walking like I was floating on clouds, but I was still very conscious of my surroundings. By the time we left, I had a free t-shirt, a sombrero on my head, and I singing mariachi songs. I held on to my brother as if we were getting married because my legs were giving out on me, and I could hardly stand up. My brother was confused because I looked and spoke normally, but my legs were drunk. At the moment it was so funny because I was super happy and and in control, but I could hardly walk. I couldn't understand what was going on with my body.

I had a hard time getting to the front door

My brother was visiting from out of town and didn’t know how to get to my house. But like I mentioned, I felt totally aware and was able to give him clear directions. We made it to my house without incident, but when it came time to get out of the car, that was another story. I could not get up and out the car. My brother finally helped me stand up, but my legs were so wobbly. I could not lock my knees to walk. I was basically dragged 50 feet from the car to the entrance of my door because my legs would not work.

It was quite the experience

My husband opened the door and took over from that point. I explained to him that I felt mentally fine, and I didn’t understand what happened. My husband basically laughed at me while taking care of me. What an experience! It was my first time getting drunk after I was diagnosed. After that I decide to listen to my momma and experiment with drinking alcohol in my house.

Testing the waters

From then on, I decided to test how I would react to different types of alcohol. For example, one day I would drink beer and see how my body reacted, another day hard liquor, another day wine, and so on. I learned that beer and watery drinks like margaritas make my bladder spasm more than normal, making my bladder incontinence worst. All types of wine make me swell up and none of my clothes fit. Hard liquor like rum, tequilas and whiskeys are ok to handle, as long as I take them as shots, spaced out from one another.

To this day I still have my drink once in a while, but I’m sure glad I was able to realize how alcoholic drinks affect me after being diagnosed with NMO.

Has the way you drink alcohol changed since your NMO diagnosis?

 

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