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Just to Knock Myself Out
Alcohol - Beer/Wine & Zopidem
Citation:   Kirby C.. "Just to Knock Myself Out: An Experience with Alcohol - Beer/Wine & Zopidem (exp63840)". Oct 10, 2007.

2 glasses oral Alcohol - Beer/Wine (liquid)
  2 tablets oral Pharms - Zolpidem  
  30 tablets oral Pharms - Zolpidem  
    oral Pharms - Methylphenidate (daily)
I was annoyed with my wife because she was going to be working late (she was ‘on call’ at a hospital), and the dinner I was preparing would again be left to get cold. Between 5 and 7 that night, I finished a couple of Coors Lights, then decided I’d just go to bed. Just knock myself out and go to bed. I took the last two Ambien CR from my first prescription of CR (although I had been taking Ambien for two years), emptying the bottle, but being aware that my new monthly prescription of 30 was in another bottle on my nightstand. I lay on the bed and began to write in my journal, thinking I’d get to sleep soon.

The next thing I was conscious of was holding the open new bottle of Ambien CR. Blankness. Then I was lying on the bed, on my face, with my left cheek full of capsules that I just knew had to be the entire contents of the Ambien CR bottle. I thought to myself “You don’t want to do this”, but one of the capsules slid down my throat. Blankness. I saw the empty Ambien CR bottle in front of me and thought, “Oh, shit! I need a signal to someone.” So I jammed the empty bottle down on my left index, second finger and thumb until I couldn’t shake it off. Blankness. I jumped up off the bed and hurried downstairs holding my journal, which I dropped near the couch where my wife was sitting. I had a terrific urge to go for a motorcycle ride. Then it occurred to me, “I’ll kill myself on the motorcycle before I even get five miles down the highway.” Then it occurred to me that I didn’t care. I backed the motorcycle out of the garage badly, ran it into a parked trailer and dumped it over. I somehow righted it and tried to start it a few times. (I was later told I tried for 30 minutes to start it.) I remember giving up on starting it, and I remember my wife’s face below my left knee pulling the bike’s kickstand down so that I could get off the bike. Blankness.

Someone asked me what I liked to be called, and I told them an old nickname. Blankness. Someone pushed down on my left shoulder (I was on my face) and said “Get up”. I ignored them because they hadn’t called me by the name I’d given them. Sometime later, my personal doctor came in. I don’t know why, but I thought my entire old life was dead – that it was all gone and that I had done away with it and would never get it back. I asked him why he was there, wherever I was. He said it was kind of a favor to my wife, and what was the matter? I told him that it was all over – that my son hated me. He looked surprised, and he said: “But you’re always telling me all the things you’ve done together, how well he’s getting along, how much you love him.” I said “He hates me.” My doctor looked deeply at me, shook his head, and said “I don’t know what this is, but I think it might be some strange reaction between your Ambien and Concerta. Don’t worry. I’ll get you out of here tomorrow.” And he left.

I now noticed that I was in a room with a semi-conscious, urine-dribbling masturbater – but I fell asleep anyway. Blankness. My glasses were missing, and somebody was asking me to sign something. I said I wouldn’t sign anything until I had my glasses. Blankness. Dinner was announced, and someone urged me to eat. “I won’t eat until I have my glasses. I don’t know what sort of place this is and I want to be able to see my food!” It seemed forever, but my glasses were found in a locked locker in my room. I remember being treated as stupid because I should have known they were there. But I had no memory of the contents of the closet, or of anything beyond getting off the motorcycle the night before.

Another meal came, but my glasses were found. I took it over to a corner of the main room and began to slowly eat. My wife and son came in. I asked her why she was there, and why she had brought my son. She didn’t seem to understand the question. She said “You didn’t really try to kill yourself or you wouldn’t have called for help.” I assured her that I must have tried to kill myself because I had obviously swallowed an entire bottle of sleeping pills. The facts, I thought, speak for themselves. I had no patience for her or my son, nor did I know why they had come in to torment me.

I saw my name up on a board, and by it were the words “Take all Precautions”. The ward was locked. I avoided the near-gomer in the next bed and went to sleep, only to wake up about 1:00 p.m. to the sound of a labeling machine with an alarm on it, and a nurse practically screaming into a phone on a personal call. I tried for thirty minutes or so to get back to sleep, but when the near-gomer began to beat his meat in the next bed, it was all too much, and I went to the nurses station and asked for the Patient’s Rights booklet. I studied it and found out I was entitled to have at any time the presence of an attorney or other. I asked to make a call. The night supervisor refused to hook up the phone, saying that it was ward policy, and ward policy always trumped patients’ rights. I became insistent until a kind nurse intervened and said: “The original problem was you getting back to sleep – why don’t you move into the single bed across from the station for the rest of the night and we’ll put the labelling machine on hold. That way you can get some sleep.” I was so delighted at the kind nurse’s diplomacy, that I accepted.

At 5:45 a.m., the back of my hand was painfully punctured to draw some blood. And I was out at the telephone at 7:00 a.m. as it was hooked up. “Nurse Ratched” looked nervously at me, because she thought I was going to make a call to an office that was closed, in spite of the Patient’s Rights handbook stating that the Patient had the right to call the attorney or helper published on the back of the handbook at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It turns out that the published office is openly only during business hours, five days a week.

A half hour of calisthenics, and a 45-minute session of a “wishful thinking” board game kept me in mind of 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' where Randall Patrick McMurphy became angry at Hardin for not telling him that Nurse Ratched was in charge and had the say over who got to leave the asylum and who had to stay. “Play the game” I told myself, while wanting to puke. They'll never let you leave, otherwise. Just Play the game. At the same time (this was now Saturday – I had come into the ER on Thursday night) I was certain that I could get out, at the earliest, on Monday morning. But I was aware that after 72 hours, the hospital could keep me for another four days that could easily stretch into 30 or however many. I just hoped that the hospital didn’t find out my insurance might pay. I’d be in here forever, I thought, if they find out I’ve got good health care.

By this time, I was quite aware that, although I had obviously swallowed a bunch of Ambien, I had had no wish to commit suicide. Later on, I learned that I had drank at least another beer and a very large glass of wine, and some Amaretto that was around. The police picked me up in a neighbor’s yard and took me to the Emergency Room. They apparently forgot to tell the hospital who I was (they had spoken with my wife and never got back to her about taking me in), because the hospital proceeded to do every test known to man on me. CT brain scan, screens for every toxic or abused substance known. Also an activated charcoal gastric lavage (which is the only thing they didn’t exorbantly charge me for - $5,000 for a Behavioral Health unit room overnight, and over $15,000 total, including a series of $48 lab screenings which they charged up to $400 each for!)

My wife came to see me, and I no longer had the warped wonder at why she would be there. She was so pretty and loving, and I cried and smiled and held her hand and remembered that, at 57, we had been sweethearts since we were 16. So apparently, a day and a half after my mistake of taking two Ambien on a glass and a half of beer, I had recovered. (Not completely, the next day, my throat came down so sore that I could hardly talk.) I had no memory of a tube down my throat, nor any Emergency Room activity, nor anybody talking to me, nor anything, really. I was constantly surprised that the nurses and staff treated me as if I was continuously conscious and should remember everything that had happened. When, as far as I knew, I had been completely out the whole time. The Crisis Nurse who called my wife the first morning claimed that I had been “gaming” her, and that I wouldn’t tell her who I was, and she asked my wife if she ought to consider a divorce. These little bits and pieces keep filtering in, but I haven’t remembered anything that I didn’t know about the next morning.

A shrink came in late that afternoon and asked me what happened. I explained the above. He said, 'It's common. You're just one of those people who can't take Ambien.' 'What?', I said, 'I almost died and thought I deserved it.' 'It's common', he reiterated. 'Let's get you out of here.'

My experience? Ambien never again. That stuff’ll kill, and worse – it’ made me think I deserved to die.

Exp Year: 2007ExpID: 63840
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: Not Given
Published: Oct 10, 2007Views: 29,582
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Alcohol - Beer/Wine (199), Pharms - Zolpidem (143) : Hospital (36), Hangover / Days After (46), Overdose (29), Train Wrecks & Trip Disasters (7), Combinations (3)

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