Citation: Olivia Monteith. "Absolutely No Effect: An Experience with Diazepam (Valium) (exp10864)". Erowid.org. Mar 24, 2006. erowid.org/exp/10864
I was 21 at the time, and I was taking no other drugs, with the exception of aspirin, Tylenol, and Advil, all of which had so little if any affect that I had given up on them, and I drank only socially, lightly and infrequently.
I went to the opthamologist about a spot in my vision and they sent me by ambulance to the hospital for a CT scan and to see several neurologists and other specialists, and even pulled a doctor out of a surgery to look into the back of my eye. All this time, no one would tell me anything, so I was pretty keyed up and scared.
As it turned out, there was an abnormal amount of pressure that was evident from looking at the discs at the back of my eyes, particularly the left one, and they feared that it might be an advanced brain tumor. In addition to the spotted vioion, I was experiencing clumsiness, severe migraines, dizziness, nausea, confusion and all other classic symptoms of a brain tumor, but I didn't know it and I was, by now, not really in a mental state to make the deductions or really wonder about all the other symptoms until I saw the growing spot. I don't know why the spot was the only thing that made me go see a doctor, I can only chalk it up to my thought processes being altered by the pressure in my skull, which really may have some bearing on the non affect of the valium.
I do not nor have I ever taken drugs for recreational purposes, and I have been wary and resistant to the use of many prescription drugs all my life at that time because addiction is a strong trait in my family.
The CT scan showed nothing, so the next step the doctors wanted to take was a lumbar puncture to test my spinal fluid for disease or disorder as well as the amount of pressure it could be causing inside my skull. I was extremely nervous and scared, understandably, considering that I had gone in thinking I would just get glasses, and ended up going by ambulance to a hospital, to see six different specialists, the final one irritated and bloody from being pulled out in a surgery. He looked into my eyes and suddenly became much less annoyed. He asked me a few questions, did a few tests on the reflexes and strength on both sides of my body, and then spoke quietly with the other doctors, and still, no one would tell me anything. By the time they said 'Spinal tap,' I had understandably had more than enough and I panicked.
They wanted to do the spinal tap that night, but I was so anxious and uncooperative, they gave me a bottle with four Valium in it and told me to take two, go to bed, and then take the other two and be at the hospital by seven the next morning.
When I arrived, I couldn't feel any affect of the valium, and I had slept poorly the night before, when I slept at all. They gave me two more valium, and left for an hour. When they came back I was still anxious and on the verge of making a run for it. After some consultation among the three remaining doctors, they gave me two more and left for another hour. By now I had taken eight beginning at about 10:30 the night before with no noticable affect. By about 10:30 on the morning in question, with little or no affect, the doctors, with much trepidation gave me two more, and watched me closely for the next hour. I don't know why they didn't try another drug rather than continually give me something that was not working, except maybe they felt this was safer or because it was an Army hospital and I have a low opinion of them.
By 11:30, with the ten valium over a period of thirteen hours showing little if any affect, they said that they would simply just have to do the procedure without anything else to help me relax. They said that it is easier and more ideal if the patient is relaxed, but lucid when the procedure is done.I had never taken Valium before and I have not tried it since.
They used what I believe to be an epidural to numb me below the mid-back, which did not entirely work either, before beginning the procedure. They did tell me that I was taking valium, but they either forgot or chose not to inform me of most of the other things they were doing in preparation, so I can only guess that it was a spinal block or epidural, which was also the first and last I had ever had experience with, so I can't even speculate based on other experiences.
To illustrate why I have such a low opinion of Army hospitals, the neurologist asked my husband to assist in the procedure. There was no nurse or intern, just this one doctor and my husband,who was a PTC in the Army, and his Feild of training was computerised artillary, not medical, though several doctors were involved in my case before the diagnosis was made and seemed to be very interested in it.
The diagnosos was Pseudotumor Cerebri, a condition in which spinal fluid for one reason or another, usually one no one can determine, is excessive and builds up inside the skull producing all the symptoms of a brain tumor. It was speculated that the extraordinary amount of pressure caused by the problem being rather advanced before I sought treatment might have some bearing on why the valium did not work. I am not too certain of this since I have a history of some sort of resistance to many anastetics, pain relievers, muscle relaxers, ect that doctors would prescribe for me, or administer before dental work or medical procedures, yet I would have extreme and atypical reactions to many weak or over the counter products like antihistamines and most cold/flu medications. This history predates the discovery of the PTC, but I will admit that I may have had PTC for far longer without the symptoms becoming a major problem for years, but serious enough to affect the way drugs and chemical work on my system. I have had several other possible explanations from various doctors and dentists, but nothing that has been conclusively proven.
My own theory on the matter is that I recently discovered that I am ADD, as are both of my children. While reading any information I can find about the condition and the medications and non-medicinal therapies used to treat it, I found several accounts of people with ADD and ADHD having atypical or non-exsistant responses to several kinds of drugs, possibly due to their body and brain chemistry, and once I even read a theory that they respond less to anastetics in normal doses because of an inordinate number of nerves crowded into small spaces, that they have more nerves or that their nerves are more sensitive than most people.
I might also add as an example, that with my son and I, Benedryl has the uncommon affect of making us extremeley hyperactive and alert, while we are normally very quiet people, and he is usually not a very active child.
Other genetic and mediocal conditions that are present and might have bearing would be diagnosed manic depression, allergies that caused anaphylactic attacks and appeared almost out of no where when I was eight, two concussions, three very minor spinal injuries, the aformentioned family history of addiction as well as OCD, depression, anxiety disorders,at least two cases of severe autism, nervous disorders, Alzhiemers, and extremely sensitive senses that often drove a person to distraction, and when my son was born, it was discovered he had PKU (Transient, thank God) which is genetic. Our genes are fairly well screwed. ny part or all of this may have an affect on how my (and many in my family) react to drugs and chemicals.
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