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Friday, November 6, 2009

The Ambien Chronicles

Insomnia has plagued me since childhood. In grade school, I remember lying awake all night, only to be exhausted the following day at school. It may have waxed and waned a bit since childhood, but suffice it to say I’m still an insomniac today. I’ve tried many different sleep remedies, but the one I always seem to go back to is Ambien. Before Ambien, no other sleep aid had allowed me such a peaceful and sound night sleep…or so I thought.

The following is (unfortunately) a true account of one of many Ambien experiences:


At first I brushed it off, thinking to myself that I didn’t remember talking on the phone the night before. So why was my phone in the bed? Oh well, I thought. It was time to get ready for work. Wait, what was that on my teeth? It was pasty and tasted like peanut butter. That’s when I saw the open jar of peanut butter sitting solely on my nightstand. Upon inspecting it I found a telltale imprint of finger marks where I had obviously helped myself to a couple of “handfuls” during the night.

I was puzzled by my peanut butter findings but didn’t have a lot of time to think about it because I had to leave for work. I walked in the hospital feeling extra chipper and rested. I couldn’t believe how soundly I had slept the night before. I passed people in the hallway, even stopping to say hi to the people I didn’t like. I had gotten a full eight hours of sleep and I felt like a new woman.

I turned the corner and saw my boss, John. “Hello!” I said. “It’s such a nice day outside.” With a puzzled look he asked if I could come speak with him in his office. “Absotootly!” I replied.
We sat down in John’s office and he remained silent for a moment. I could tell he was trying to think of what to say. He finally mustered, “Is there anything you want to explain to me?”

“About what?” I asked.

He then proceeded to dial his voicemail on speakerphone. What I heard next sounded an awful lot like me.

“Hey, it’s Lori. It’s about eleven thirty at night and I just remembered that earlier today you had a message to call the lady in accounts receivable. I forgot to tell you about it so I figured I better call you at home.”

I was mortified. I had absolutely no recollection of calling him and certainly not leaving a message. I tried to explain but he shushed me and said, “Wait, that’s not all. Next is the part where you thought you hung up the phone.”

I shrunk into my seat as I listened to a loud rustling and what sounded like the phone being dropped on the floor. Then, “What? That’s weird…why am I nekked with my socks on?”

John pressed seven to delete the message. “It pretty much ends after that,” he said. There was a long pause while I tried to think of something to say. He went on, “So if you could refrain from calling my house at midnight with non-urgent work messages that would be good.”

“Yes sir, I’ll do that. I think I’ll go ahead and delete your home number from my phone too, just in case.”

“Good idea,” he said. “Now get to work.”

We never talked about it again. Realizing what a great boss I had for not firing or berating me, I swore off Ambien…but it didn’t last. I eventually needed sleep and sleep wouldn’t come. However, I became smarter about it, only taking it AFTER I was in the bed. It was smooth sailing for a while. No midnight snacks or embarrassing phone calls made for at least two or three months, but the rest is a story for next time. Until then, ladies and gentleman…