Hangover: A Source of Inspiration by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Now that the holiday season has passed, some people’s thoughts turn to the effects of drinking too much on New Year’s Eve. Did you know that a hangover isn’t necessarily related to consuming a lot of booze? According to dictionary.com, a hangover can also be defined as “any aftermath of or lingering effect from a distressing experience.”

For six years, I cared for my late husband who was totally blind and partially paralyzed by two strokes. People who have never been family caregivers don’t understand the trauma involved in such a role. Bill could do little for himself. I had to dress him, take him to the bathroom, and even help with his computer from time to time. With children, you know they’ll eventually grow up and become independent, but when your spouse is no longer able to do for himself, your family caregiving obligations will only stop when he dies.

It has been three years since Bill’s passing. Because he could do little for himself, I couldn’t be away from home for more than a couple of hours at the most. Even now, on occasion, when I leave the house and am not home in a couple of hours, I become anxious and have to tell myself that Bill is in a better place where he can go to the bathroom, change the channel on the satellite radio, and find another book to read, all on his own. He’s not waiting for me to come home and empty the urinal or get him out of bed so he can sit outside and listen to the Colorado Rockies being creamed by almost every team in the league.

I occasionally have trouble getting to sleep at night. I nod off and am jerked awake by a feeling of anxiety or restlessness. I tell myself that Bill is not calling me to get up and empty the urinal, that I can go to sleep and not be interrupted. I eventually do and usually sleep through the night.

I have developed sciatica in my right hip, probably as a result of lifting Bill from the bed to the wheelchair to the recliner to the commode, etc. It occasionally flares up after I’ve been exercising and becomes more prevalent during cold and humid conditions. Adville and ice packs are my best friends.

This type of hangover is not something that a Bloody Mary will cure. It will probably stay with me for the rest of my life. The good news is that it’s not as bad as a hangover you get from excessive imbibing.


The above was inspired by an activity we did recently during a Range Writers meeting. Now, it’s your turn. I’m pasting below definitions of “hangover” from various sources. See if any of them apply to you, and feel free to share your insight in the comment field.


–   the disagreeable physical aftereffects of drunkenness, such as a headache or stomach disorder, usually felt several hours after cessation of drinking. (Americanism 1890-1895)

  • –  something remaining behind from a former period or state of affairs
  • –  any aftermath of or lingering effect from a distressing experience (dictionary.com)
  • –  continuing or remaining in effect, as a hang-over fire
  • –  something that remains from what is past, as a surviving trait or custom
  • –  The effect of a period of dissipation after the exhilaration has worn off. (Slang U.S.)

from the Big Fat Dictionary at the library


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15 thoughts on “Hangover: A Source of Inspiration by Abbie Johnson Taylor

  1. Reading the definitions of hangover reminded me of post traumatic stress disorder, perhaps hangover is a form of that too. If it’s after drinking alcohol heavily, the stress is to the brain, and perhaps the stomach and heart. I had never thought of hangover in the context your right about. Interesting post, Abbie.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A honest way to look at hangovers. Trauma has a lifespan of its own and is different for each person. Some may ‘get over’ it, others never. Understanding helps greatly. Thanks for the post. Doris

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thoughtful and heartfelt post, Abbie. There is that old and tried/maybe even tired saying that it j’ust takes time’ to get over the kind of hangover you’re experiencing. I agree the timespan will be different for people, and probably complete change may only happen after some major shift in daily lifestyle. I’m sure your efforts were extremely appreciated and I hope your hip problems will be resolved soon. My current ‘hangover’ might be that i’m spending a lot of happy grandchild minding time that a couple of years ago was devoted to writing. I’m pretty sure my hangover (lack of new writing progress/ writing time) will abate in a bit!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Abbie, I’m proud to know someone with a heart as big as yours. I know you loved Bill very much, but that was a big task to take on. To care for anyone is hard, but you were still getting to know each other. Cher’ley

    Liked by 1 person

  5. More than 12 years after Mom’s death from ALS, I still have a hangover. Tough times, although I wasn’t the primary caregiver, I just came up from NC every few weeks to help out my sister with caring for Mom. I can relate to your column — moving mom from the bed to her recliner and wheelchair, out to the living room, to the bathroom (wiping her). One day Jody wanted to go to the mall and asked me to look after mom without her around. No problem, I said. She’d given Mom a laxative, and my sister had no sooner left than Mom started having to go. My back screamed as I got her into the wheelchair to the bathroom and onto the toilet seat. I’d no sooner get her back to her bedroom than she’d have to go again. This time I failed to get there in time… she soiled herself. I felt so bad for her. I cleaned her up and she had to go again. At least she had an adult diaper this time. Those were hard, hard times. I saw the look of wonder on her face as she died, so I know her soul is flying free in Heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hadn’t realized “hang-over” could be left over from a distressing experience. I imagine we all have experienced those. The passing of my pets is distressing, but I find beauty in continual sharing about their lives through stories and presentations. So, though the hangover might be distressing, the cure is beautiful! Thanks for an insightful and beautiful post, Abbie!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. One of the definitions fits a traumatic event that stays with me to this day. My then wife was gravely ill after surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. Without going into all the details, her respiration became so labored that, before they could even usher me out of the room, they had to intubate and sedate her. It was one of the most emotionally jarring things I’ve ever witnessed. I didn’t realize how much it affected me until, months later, she and I were watching a movie together in which a patient crashed and they had to intubate the person. Before I even realized it, I was curled up in the fetal position sobbing on the couch . I still change the channel if I’m ever watching a show in which that happens.

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  8. I really feel for you, Abbie, and can’t even imagine what you went through and still are going through. I personally haven’t gone through something like that but I have two people in my life who are. My ex-husband is in Missouri caring for his mother who suffers from brain cancer. He too carries her from the bed to the sofa in the living room and back to bed at night. I visited them last year and it was an extremely sad sight to behold. She’s unable to talk, however, my ex-husband seems to know exactly what she needs. My mom is currently dealing with my stepfather’s vascular dementia which is steadily worsening. He accuses her of all kinds of things from stealing his tools in the garage to talking to people in the middle of the night on the phone (she swears she’s not doing either). She can’t leave him home alone as he may wander away. Right now, my stepdad’s kids and my mom are trying to figure out the best scenario for him, whether it’s 24-hour care in a hospice or a retirement community. All I can do is be there for her to listen to her when she needs to talk or express her frustration.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I haven’t suffered from an alcohol induced hangover for many, many years. Anxiety induced hangovers are another story. I have experienced those a few times over the years. That feeling of dread that creeps up on you even long after the source of the anxiety is gone. I have found that over time those feeling occur less and less. I know that Bill appreciated all your love and care. In time you will learn to relax and get out more.

    Liked by 1 person

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