This is the question Hamlet would have asked if he and his doctor had the same conversation my doctor and I had last week during my annual wellness visit. “Your triglycerides are slightly higher than normal,” she told me. “Although they’re getting into the pre-diabetic stage, they’re nothing to worry about yet. You just need to cut back on sugar. Do you drink soda?”
“Yes, I drink Dr. Pepper but only one can a day.”
“Well, that one can a day has too much sugar.”
“But I drink it for the caffeine, and I don’t care for coffee or tea.”
“Caffeine is good for you, but the sugar isn’t. Do you drink any juice?”
“Yes, one glass of orange juice with breakfast.”
“Many juices have too much sugar. Genetically, your body can’t handle it.”
“But I drink orange juice for the calcium.”
“Since you consume plenty of dairy products, you’re probably getting plenty of calcium.”
“What about protein shakes?” I asked. “Would they be a good substitute for orange juice?”
“Many of those have too much sugar,” she answered.
For once, I wished I wasn’t wearing a mask, so she could see my face. Needless to say, I left the clinic with a heavy heart.
Then, I got to thinking. For years, I’ve been consuming only one can of Dr. Pepper a day. Why now are my triglycerides slightly higher than normal? Granted, soda plus orange juice plus protein shakes plus the hot chocolate, ice cream, and brownies I forgot to mention might be a bit too much sugar. So, I can cut back on everything else, but I’ll never give up my daily Dr. Pepper caffeine fix. I’m a Pepper through and through.
To prove it, here’s a poem I wrote years ago that appears in my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. You can click the link below the poem to hear me read it.
Ode to Dr. Pepper
by Abbie Johnson Taylor
I like to swallow its cold carbonation,
feel it come back into my mouth in the form of a belch.
Oh, that feels so good!
I drink it in mid afternoon.
It helps me get through the day.
I sometimes consume it in the evening
when I’m sleepy, and it’s too early for bed.
In the good old days,
I drank a lot of it,
just what the doctor ordered.
Now, the doctor says it has too much sugar
so I limit my consumption to one or two cans a day.
What would I do without it?
Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.
Independently published with the help of DLD Books.
Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.
After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.
Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.
Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?