In the last post, I mentioned that I have a wee allergy to Ambien. The discovery of that allergy (or shall we say adverse reaction?) is an interesting story to share and so while I’ve got coffee I will commit said story to the Internet.
Let me take you back two years and one month. It was the week before my wedding and I was excited. So excited, in fact, that I couldn’t sleep. This was a problem because not only was I moving and about to be married, I was also in the middle of Finals Week at school. Needless to say, not a good time for insomnia.
A good friend, I shall not say who because I think revealing the identity of this person would be an embarrassment for them and I am not in the business of embarrassing people other than my spouse, gave me a few doses of Ambien to help.
I took one of the pills and crawled into bed. I was in the habit back in those days to talk to Wes right before I fell asleep so I called him and we chatted about our respective days. I did not notice the Ambien taking effect until after I hung up the phone. The effect I noticed was that suddenly, when I lifted the covers of my bed, there was a carnival under my blankets. A seedy carnival, the kind that music video directors often use to depict the death of innocence or something similarly dark. There were sad clowns with drippy makeup and broken toys and it was all quite drab and dusty. I probably should have known that wasn’t normal (what does it say about me that I didn’t?) but I pulled the sheets back down and fell asleep anyway and that was the end of that.
The next evening, I took another dose of Ambien (not because I wanted to hallucinate, I just didn’t realize that that was what I had been doing the night previous) and called Wes. The Ambien took effect much quicker the second night and in the middle of our conversation I exclaimed something to the effect of, “Oh, look! The field mice have thrown me a picnic! They have such good table-manners!”. I remember that in the corner of my room there was a meadow and a family of field mice who had laid out a blanket and were having a picnic right there in the middle of that meadow.
I don’t remember anything that happened in the subsequent conversation. Apparently it was enough to cause Wes to become alarmed and drive out to my apartment in the middle of the night (around midnight-ish?), wake up my room-mate, and call Poison Control. I had a lovely chat with the lady from Poison Control, probably centered around the field mice and their darling children, and she assured Wes that the hallucinating was just a side-effect of the Ambien and that I would be fine.
When I woke up the next morning I was very confused. My room-mate helped me piece together the very disjointed memories I had from the previous night and Wes filled in the rest of the blanks. I haven’t taken Ambien since then and as far as I know I haven’t hallucinated either. Since then, I’ve learned that Ambien has some very strange side-effects and that people have been known to buy cars while on it and wake up the next day wondering why there’s a new car in their garage.
I have to wonder what Freud would say about hallucinations. I wonder if he would consider them to be manifestations of the subconscious, much like dreams. If that’s the case, I must wonder what sad carnies and well-mannered field mice say about my subconscious.