When interviewing the survivors of suicide attempts, the majority of them say that the instant they step off that ledge or bridge or swallow that hand full of tablets, they have an instant regret. A sudden panic fills their bodies. They have done something stupid, and there is no turning back. Two nights ago I had that panic, that dread, that realization that I did something stupid that could probably kill me. No, I did not try to kill myself, but I could have – accidentally.
I take ten different prescription drugs in a day, at six different times during the day. Half of those have as their major side effect, drowsiness. A few are at full strength, three that need to be taken twice a day, and of those, two need to be taken away from each other. It becomes a dance.
One that I take, coreg, is the biggest culprit for the drowsiness. I had a routine for the past year for taking my meds so that they are evenly spaced. The coreg fell into the lunchtime set, and an hour after I take it, all I am looking for is a couch or bed to get a nap. I am pretty useless. If I know I have to drive I skip that dose. Luckily I have a job schedule that allows me to take a break and go take a nap after lunch.
My schedule will change in a few months where I need to be alert after lunch, so I reorganized my medication schedule. The first day of the new schedule really screwed with me big time. First off, the night before, I went to bed ridiculously late, got no sleep and got up early. I was drowsy all day.
I keep my meds for the day in one of those little portable sectioned out pill carriers. At night, I take my last dose, then I put out the next day’s set. The night I changed my meds schedule, I changed my routine. Big mistake. I was already fatigued, and my body was readjusting to the new med schedule, so I was really exhausted. That and the fact the for some reason I have been very tired the past week or so. I put my last meds into a ramekin because it was not time, and set out my new daily meds in the case. I went and took a shower and came back to take my last meds for the day. Drowsy, instead of taking the medication from the ramekin, I popped open the daily case and took my morning dose.
As the tablets hit the back of my throat and I swallowed the glass of water that sent those babies down to my stomach, I realized I just took my morning dose. Panic! Fear! Terror! What the hell did I just do? What did I take? Then I realized that one tablet that needs to be taken 12 hours apart I just took only four and a half hours apart. It’s a heart medication that is maximum dosage. I instantly stuck my finger down my throat but all I did was gag. Nothing came back up. More panic. I stood there trying to think if I need to go to the emergency room. Was I panicking for no reason? Was I going to pass out and die?
I pulled out my trusty Blackberry and googled the drug to see if taking an over dose was ok. The result – overdose can be fatal, get to the emergency room! Oy! But what was considered an over dose? The result – double the dose, get to the emergency room. But how far apart is considered an overdose? The result – taken less than four hours apart. Okay, calm down. Well, sort of. Was four and a half hours far apart enough?
I decided not to head to the emergency room and I went to bed and for a second night got no sleep. I was getting up every hour to make sure I was till alive. So was my wife. It was not a good feeling.
The saying goes that you learn from your mistakes. I sure have. I don’t think I will be double dosing anytime again. There should be a warning label other than not operating heavy machinery while taking certain meds that reads “Use caution taking this medication while taking this medication – dumb ass!”