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Tylenol? Morphine? Nah, Mountain Dew.

Kelsey was in the hospital last weeked with viral meningitis. One of the problems on Sunday was that if she sat up at all, she immmediately got a severe headache/neckache. They said it was probably caused by leaking spinal fluid as a result of the spinal tap. The normal solution is a blood patch, which involves sticking another needle in her back (check back a couple of posts for a description).

But before they did that, the anesthesiologist wanted to try something else: caffeine. Apparently, this wonder drug sometimes eases the heaches so they don’t have to do a blood patch.

So Sunday night, the nurse comes strolling in and plunks down three Mountain Dews in front of Kelsey, saying, “Drink one, drink two, drink three.” Kelsey, I’m sure, stared at her in horror. My lovely wife, you see, while not averse to caffeine, doesn’t drink it at night because it keeps her awake.

Also, and more to the point, while the large majority of the American public would say, “Yeah, hook me up! I’ll drink six if you want!”, drinking three Mountain Dews to this dear patient would be (almost) like injecting cocaine straight into her bloodstream. Loads of sugar and calories, disgusting taste, tons of caffeine — all the elements are there for hours of fun.

This is a patient who always drinks diet if she is drinking soda. And that’s not very often. Mountain Dew does not appear on her radar screen as an option. So she resisted the doctor’s prescription. She asked for the diet version, which they said they would get, but did not produce until too late.

After much complaint, the incapacitated patient bravely managed to choke down two of the three drinks, all the while doubting their efficacy.

But you know what? They worked, much to Kelsey’s chagrin. They made the headache a little better. Of course, then she needed a sleeping pill to get to sleep. And they still had to do the blood patch the next day, but hey, now you know that the next time you’re in need of relief, you can skip the traditional pain meds and go straight to the miracle cure: caffeine.



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