Passed out, check. Woke up in a hospital, check. Got a catheter, check. Cussed out a nurse, check. Almost got arrested, check.
And I thought my weekend was unproductive.
This weekend was a weekend of firsts for me. First time it was confirmed to my mom that her underage daughter drinks. First time I went home with a hospital bill with the word “intoxicated” on it. First time I don’t remember going to the hospital.
I wasn’t at a frat party. I wasn’t boozing on a boat. I was just sipping mixed drinks with my cousin on campus corner. I’d never done a keg stand, and I hate the taste of beer. I’d never had so much to drink that I can’t remember the night before. I’d never had a drunk hook-up or even a drunk kiss for that matter.
Don’t ask me why Saturday night was different. On Saturday, my cousin Lindsey came to Norman to tailgate for the OU v. Florida State football game. She’s in her late 20s and lives in Dallas. Lindsey Facebook-messaged me and told me she’d be in Norman and asked if I wanted to meet up on game day.
Every home game, my entire group of friends leaves an hour before the gates open to get good seats. Since I didn’t have tickets to Saturday’s game, I was excited to actually have someone to hang out with. My cousin texted me at 11 on Saturday morning and told me to text her when I wanted to meet up at her tailgate. I slept in, showered, surfed the net, and cleaned my room first. When I finally left my apartment, it was 5 p.m. She and her friends had moved to a bar in campus corner and were sitting out on the patio.
Dressed in jeans and a “Beat Florida State” t-shirt, I squeezed by busy servers and drunk fans, making a beeline for the patio. I was worried someone would ask to see my ID, or worse, they wouldn’t even let minors like me in.
I walked onto the patio, feeling anxious. I didn’t know whom Lindsey would be sitting with and what they’d think of me, a college undergrad almost ten years younger than they were. I also had never hung out one-on-one with Lindsey before. I knew she drank, but my mom’s side of the family is very conservative and it felt weird to think about drinking in front of her.
I scanned the patio and spotted Lindsey sitting with a group of friends. A couple of her friends at the table noticed me walking toward them, but Lindsey didn’t look up until I was standing beside her, pulling out the chair next to her. There were two guys sitting across from her. Neither was particularly attractive, but they were friendly, and kept asking to dissect “my love life.” They joked that one day they would have a radio show and I could be their first caller. Their faces would be on the cover of Time in 2018. Obviously everyone around me was feeling good sipping their drinks, while I sat and laughed at their jokes and diverted questions about my lack of a love life.
After an hour of sitting on the patio talking with a bunch of strangers, I decided I wanted something to drink. A good mixed drink would taste cold, make the jokes seem a little bit funnier, and make me feel a little less out of place. What I really wanted was a Long Island Iced Tea.
I’ve only had a Long Island Iced Tea one other time in my life, and I loved it. Although it doesn’t actually have tea in it, the LIT tastes so much like it that I can’t tell the difference. It tastes like an iced tea with a kick to it, and I’d been craving one ever since last April. This weekend I finally got to have another one.
I told my cousin I was craving an LIT just as our server was walking up to ask how everyone was doing. It’s amazing how much the service improves when the waiter knows they can convince the table to buy another round. Lindsey told her friend to order the drink and our server, who hadn’t been the nicest girl, went to get it. They put the cup between Lindsey and me so I could sneak sips when the server wasn’t looking.
I’m always awkward when I’m doing something I’m not supposed to, and I was paranoid that the server was going to walk up while I was drinking it. To make sure I didn’t get caught, I took big, fast sips, pushing the cup back toward my cousin after each one. I didn’t have the chance to enjoy the drink before it was gone.
As things were winding down, I finished the rest of a drink that Lindsey handed me. We left the patio in search of some dinner. First, we walked over to Pepe Delgado’s, but the line was too long so then we decided on Fat Sandwich Company. Fat Sandwich was packed too because campus corner was filling up from everyone who was leaving the game. We found a table and some chairs in front of the restaurant, so I stayed to save it with a couple others while everyone else waited in line. It didn’t occur to me that I was hungry or that I needed to eat, I just felt buzzed and happy. I wasn’t about to eat Fat Sandwich Company anyway.
Donnie, a guy who had sat with us on the patio, kept encouraging me to drink because I “still wasn’t drunk yet.” After a couple more drinks, I texted my friend David to come get me because I was finally drunk and ready to go home. The last text I sent him was sometime around 8 p.m. Not even two hours later, I was waking up in the hospital.
The rest of the night is kind of hazy. I don’t remember David picking me up in campus corner. I don’t remember getting into the car with him or pulling into my apartment complex. David said I got quiet in the car, and by the time he pulled up in front of the apartment I was dead weight.
He couldn’t help me get out of the car alone, so he called my old roommate Ashley to help him. Ashley lives in the apartment above me, and we’ve seen each other drunk before so she knew what to expect. When Ashley came downstairs and saw how bad I was, she rushed into my apartment to get my roommate, Vanessa.
“Vanessa, Audrey’s drunk,” Ashley said. “We need your help.”
“VANESSA! NOWWWWWWW!” Ashley screamed.
Vanessa threw on her jeans and ran down the stairs.
According to my friends, Vanessa slapped my face repeatedly and splashed water on my face but they couldn’t keep me awake. My close friends and I have drunk before, but it’s not something we do every weekend. None of us had ever passed out, or been with someone who’d passed out, so I really freaked them out.
I kept slipping in and out of consciousness. My eyes would flutter open for a few seconds, I’d give them an empty and blank stare, and then I’d shut my eyes again. They wanted to take me upstairs and put me to bed, but I was limp and they couldn’t get a reaction out of me.
At least three people would’ve had to carry me up, because I was in no position to walk. I couldn’t even wrap my arms around their waists and hobble. These were all reasons to take me to the hospital, but my neighbor Courtney was the deciding factor.
Courtney is an angel-child who lives on the floor above me. She never drinks, she doesn’t cuss, and she’s nice to everyone. When she saw me, she started crying. Courtney’s reaction finalized the decision for David, Vanessa, and Ashley. They loaded me into the car and drove me to the Emergency Room.
During the whole drive Vanessa held a barf bag and screamed at me to wake up.
“Audrey, I’m never letting you drink again! You hear me? AUDREY! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!”
No one was allowed to come back with me for the first hour we were at the hospital, and when they could they were only allowed to come in two at a time. By the end of the night, eight of my friends were in the hospital waiting to see me.
I don’t remember being in the hospital except when I was getting ready to leave.
When I drink, it’s as if a power switch for cursing flips on. The F word becomes every other word, and I can’t control it.
Once I started to wake up in the hospital, I found out I had a catheter. In my drunken state of mind, I remembered something my dad said when I had surgery my freshman year of high school.
“Don’t worry. I won’t let you get a catheter. No daughter of mine is getting a catheter.”
Those words were said to calm me after my surgery because my dad knew how frightened I was of the needles, IVs, and catheters. But Saturday night, this was all I could focus on while lying in the hospital bed. I yelled at the nurse and doctors because they gave me a catheter. I genuinely embarrassed my friends, irately cursing at my doctor and nurse. I told the nurse I would cut her f—ing balls off and the told the doctor my dad was going to sue his ass.
I remember being mad about the catheter and speaking my mind, but I had no idea that I said what I did. It was like I had no control over what came out of my mouth. With all of my cursing and screaming, I managed to piss off a doctor who said if I didn’t stop he’d have me arrested. I just remember Vanessa grabbing my face and telling me to shut up.
Despite everything, the nurse said my blood alcohol level was not at a dangerous level whatsoever. She joked that she’d been drunker than I was, and she’d be pissed if she were me and her friends had brought her to the hospital.
The worst part of the experience is knowing how much I scared everyone around me. Hearing David describe how Vanessa screamed at me on the way to the hospital scares me. I feel awful for what my friends went through that night.
I was in the heat, dehydrated, hungry, and drinking heavily. All bad combinations. I was stupid, and I won’t be drinking again for a long time.
Saturday’s events proved that there will be times I make bad decisions, offend professionals, or embarrass myself, but through all of those times I’m lucky to have a great group of friends I can expect to hold my barf bag, take care of me, or just tell me to shut up.