I had this twitch in my upper lip. Or more precisely in the area between my upper lip and the nostrils scientists call “Repository B for Wrinkles.” I was not making this twitch up to get free Botox from my doctor. In fact, due to a few incidents from the past, calling my doctor was not an option.
There was that time I felt a dent in the side of my head and phoned the doctor’s office convinced I had a fatal tumor. I was crying and hysterical, but managed to write the appointment time into my calendar. Which is when I noticed I had a hair appointment in thirty minutes. I went, because my roots had been depressing me for a week. Naturally, I mentioned the dent to my stylist of ten years. She said it had always been there. “Most people do not have perfectly shaped heads,” she said.
I had simply not noticed the shape of my skull until menopause was kind enough to thin my hair for me.
The other incident was an after midnight 911 call. I was sure I was having a heart attack. With a giant brick pushing relentlessly against my chest, I Googled the symptoms. I ran to tell my husband, who briefly stopped snoring to tell me it was just heartburn. The paramedic thought so too, but he put me in the ambulance and zoomed me through the night to the hospital so a doctor could confirm the diagnosis.
These and many more episodes are why I was a bit shy about revealing the twitch. Instead, I launched my own investigation. My first thought was that a 25 year lip gloss addiction had finally caught up with me. I rejected this idea because the gloss I’m currently using is both organic and vegan.
My next idea was that I had some horrid, fatal disease. I count this as progress. It was not, after all, my first thought. And, after a brief terror-stricken hour, I firmly dismissed the terminal disease idea from my slightly dented head.
Further personal research into the twitch uncovered another possible culprit. I recently became a vegetarian. Could the ironic truth be that just as my mouth began to enjoy the taste of soy, my body rejected it? Life could not be that cruel.
Finally, I remembered the calming herb I’d been taking to help me sleep. I’d done extensive research on this remedy that everyone from Dr. Weil to Mayo Clinic said was safe and effective. It had worked like a charm for six blissful months. But now I recalled that one of the side effects of this particular herb was that, in some people, “for unknown reasons” its calming abilities could suddenly reverse.
Twitching, I reasoned, is the opposite of calm. I stopped taking the herb and stopped twitching. Case closed, and I didn’t even have to call 911.