Captured Chaos Photography | I Gave Up Coffee And It Cost People Their Lives

I Gave Up Coffee And It Cost People Their Lives

January 10, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

coffee steam 2


Shawn Henfling has a health problem. OK, he has several health problems, and somehow giving up coffee seemed like a good idea.



I'm not what you'd call a healthy man, but I'm also not sick in the traditional sense. I don't look like Doc Holiday in “Tombstone” and I'm not bedridden and living in an assisted living community. I guess what I'm saying is that I don't expect to buy the farm in the next couple of days. However, the past couple of years haven't been kind to me. I say it's just age catching up to me, but the medical community calls it “high risk behavior” and “you're a walking heart attack” and “your blood is like maple syrup.” So, I guess I need to make a couple of minor changes.


I'm not really sure what everyone is making a fuss about. Lots of people have blood sugar that hovers above the normal range. The doctor told me those people are called “prediabetic.” I really have no idea how I managed that either. It's not like my idea of fruit was buying Dots or eating a box of Mike and Ikes. OK, so maybe it was.


My cholesterol would make a very impressive bowling score too. I'm convinced it's genetic. It cannot possibly have anything to do with my love of all things cheese and fried. It certainly has nothing to do with the $1 double cheeseburger habit I developed ten years ago. Seriously, I have no idea how this is happening.


I have some gastrointestinal issues that may need attention. I know I have diverticulosis, and I think I manage it pretty well. You would too if the symptoms manifested themselves by making you feel as though you'd been punched in the junk over and over again. There are also those times when the bathroom cannot wait. I joke that I've made the worms angry. Also, if I really have worms, I wish they'd do me a favor hand help me lose a few pounds.


January 1st I woke up and decided something had to go. With everything I've listed above you're probably thinking “duh...” I'm not completely deaf to the situation at hand. I took the bold step of quitting my caffeine habit. Go ahead. Say it. Most of my friends did. “What the very fuck Shawn?! Caffeine? Seriously?”


Yeah. Caffeine. Seriously. It's cool though. 8 days in and I don't miss it. Much. I guess. There was some logic behind it. I'm not the kind of guy that can make massive lifestyle changes all at once and the coffee really did have to go. I was good for at least a pot of coffee before work and a cup or two during my shift. Sometimes more, sometimes a little less.


I gave it up because I essentially stopped sleeping. Sleep is love to me. I'd rather sleep than do much of anything else. Couple that with my depression and it was kind of an explosive combination. Did I mention Restless Leg Syndrome? Yeah. Got that too. Sleep is kinda a big deal to me. I'd pretty much reached the end of my rope and figured giving up the caffeine couldn't hurt. Have you ever met a mentally ill sleep deprived man? I wouldn't suggest you seek one out.


Day 1: Headache doesn't even begin to explain what happened here. I don't think it was ALL caffeine withdrawal, but I can't imagine it helped. I haven't had a migraine like that since before college. Yes, that was a long time ago. Light and sound were devices of torture that would have made Gitmo interrogators weak kneed. It was not a good day.



Day 2: My Facebook status was: “I hate everyone.” I guess that's about all I needed to say.


Day 3 Status: “I see dead people.” At least I didn't hate them all I guess?


Day 4 Status: “I killed a guy with a Trident.” Not really, but don't check the woods out back.


Day 5.5 Sans Coffee: “An ISIS leader called and asked me to tone down the brutality. I'm making them look soft.” So, yeah... That didn't really happen but I felt like it was possible.


Day 6 Without Coffee: “Sorry this is late. The ground was frozen and the bodies were more difficult to dispose of than normal. #‎wheresmywoodchipper‬ Anyone need high quality mulch? It's got blood-meal in it.


Day 7 Of This Terrible Idea:Do you know anyone with an incinerator hot enough to completely burn human bodies? Asking for a friend.” It was completely hypothetical. Really.


Day 8 And This May Have Been An OK Idea:The headaches are gone. That's good. I can hear the voices better. On a side note, I'm coming for you. You know who you are. If you don't, you will soon. Toodles.” I don't really hear voices. At least, not many of them. A few. A couple?



After a little more than a week the experiment seems to be working. I'm sleeping better and I don't feel the need to kill everyone I see. Sleeping better by the way is subjective. I went for a sleep study once and was diagnosed with Restless Leg Syndrome. Since I “only” woke up 6 times per hour, it wasn't bad enough to medicate. I offered to wake my doctor up 6 times an hour and let him tell me how he felt in the morning and he declined. Go figure.


I do have goals to get healthier. I do. Once I can afford it, I'm buying a new bicycle and I'll be writing about how that goes. (If there is a bike manufacturer that wants to sponsor that, I will happily ride your product in exchange for reviews. I promise that even if I hate it I'll pretend to love it and write really good things. Really.) Did you know a good bike has gotten seriously expensive? It's awfully cheap to gain 30 pounds, but as soon as you want to make it go away you'd better be ready to pay.


So my first step to getting healthy wasn't so bad. Only a few people lost their lives and I prefer to think of them as martyrs for a great cause. The next step is that damned expensive bicycle. I imagine that will be just as eventful and entertaining as cutting out my strong black life and motivational coach, Joe.


That's it for now I guess. I'm typing this right now actually on day 10 and I miss the feel of my hot black confident slipping down my throat, but I can manage. I can see things paying off already too. Aside my an increase in quality sleep, I'm eating healthier too. Just this morning I had a bag of cherries for breakfast. Ok, it was the sugary goodness of Cherry Slices, but that counts as fruit right?


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