Reader experiences: More readers respond

I am pleased to announce that my mouth no longer contains any wisdom teeth. I also just misspelled wisdom as widoom three times in a row, so the codeine is definitely working it's wonders on my brain. I better stop typing while I'm ahead, so here are a couple of stories that people have sent in for you to read. Thank you, people! Check out the first installment. Here we go:

Steve wrote in to say, "I think it's fair to say that they're [SSRIs] the best thing that's ever happened to me." Well, I've got to share the love for my antidepressant of choice, venlafaxine (a. k. a. Effexor), which is actually an SNRI (it affects norepinephrine as well as serotonin). Before, I was chronically depressed, rock-bottom self-esteem, apathetic, anxious, the whole shebang. Now -- well, I feel like things are going to turn out all right. Ordinary, everyday
hopefulness. Gooooo drugs!

- ap

P. S. Ironically, one of Effexor's most dangerous side effects is suicidal ideation -- which is why it's most definitely NOT recommended for kids and teens.


Your blog is sweet! Ok well I've had the privilege to experience a multitude of drug experiences but here's one from last night which involved our friend DXM (dextromethorphan HCL).

Ok so I was experiencing these very nasty coughing fits and decided it was worth it to bicycle in the rain to the grocery store before it closed to get some syrup. Being an impoverished university student I opted for the generic brand which contained 15 DXM/5mL plus some disgusting cherry flavors (read the labels kiddies, brand names are for suckers).

I drank approx 80 mL (240 mg DXM, much more than the recommended dosage) and the bad news was that it did absolutely nothing for my cough. However, I was treated to a wonderful state of opiated-semi-psychedelic-drunkenness, which was further complemented with some high-quality cannabis. This state lasted many hours and when I went to bed I was treated with some groovy shapes and funky colors behind the eyes, and a feeling I was leaving my body. Super-fun! Just don't tell your friends or they'll think you're huffing gas on the side too!

- Luke


Since you ask, I am reminded of one time I was in the hospital for kidney stones, which ended up being one of the longest sedative drug-binges of my life. It began as what I hoped was a quick visit for some hydrocodone to dull the relentless visceral groin pain, but ended up in a 3 day hospital stay and a lithotripsy. What follows is the truly amazing list of substances I was on, and my personal opinion of them.

In the ER, while hoping for Vicodin, they instead gave me an NSAID; I think it was dolobid, but I can't remember. I mentioned getting stomach upset from ibuprofen, so they gave it to me IV. That worked pretty well for a while, but left me a tad too alert to be entertained by hospital TV.

Once admitted, I asked for some better pain killers, and they decided to give me Dilaudid (hydromorphone). I doubt they gave me more than 1mg, but even that, I realized almost immediately, was much too much. Pretty soon the side effects were competing with kidney stone pain to see which could make me more miserable. As the drug hit in a matter of seconds, I first felt a wave of euphoria, but this was quickly followed by uncomfortable flushing and profuse sweating, with severe nausea. I should have lain down and stopped moving, but I was stubborn and talking to a friend, and so soon found myself vomiting into a trashcan. It was at this point that I asked for something for the nausea.

They gave me Zofran (ondansetron), a rather expensive drug that can only be given every 8 hours, apparently. It worked pretty well - for about 4 hours. After that time, I was left to fend off the opiate nausea myself. It was around this time that I really wanted some cannabis. Make whatever dumb stoner jokes you want, but nothing that I've tried or heard of works as well, or faster, at treating nausea that cannabinoids. It's way cheaper than Zofran, too. Given my hospitalized state however, it was not to be.

After the Dilaudid fiasco, they switched me to a 1mg/hour self-administered morphine pump. This worked out alright, but not great. It didn't control the pain as well as dilaudid, and performed worse and worse over time, not surprisingly. The nausea left me feeling useless and immobile, but fortunately I never vomited again.

The next day, I had my lithotripsy, and being a neuroscience major, I couldn't resist talking to the anesthesiologist about his pharmacological arsenal. As it turns out, the list of drug's he'd use was quite impressive:

chloral hydrate - for initial sedation. I'm not convinced about this one; I thought he mentioned it, but I'm not sure.

midazolam (Versed) - benzodiazepine for initial sedation, as well as retrograde amnesia. It worked very well in its latter role.

fentanyl - opioid for pain. I imagine it served its purpose effectively.

sevoflurane - one of the newer halogenated ethers. Be grateful they're not still using halothane, like I do on my rats.

Some other muscle relaxants he didn't name. The urologist probably used some local anesthetics for the procedure as well. He may have mentioned nitrous oxide as well, but I can't remember.

Despite the high risk of such a cocktail, I made it through ok, although I can't remember anything after lying down on the operating table until I was rolling towards recovery. I woke confused, thinking I was a child again, being pushed in a shopping cart down a grocery
store aisle. Aren't hallucinations fun?

The real bummer was that I hadn't had a bowel movement in three days, due to opioids and Zofran. This problem plagued me for a couple days after coming home as well. Still, I much prefer my suffering to that experienced by people in the past who had to have kidney stones surgically removed with no anesthesia but strong liquor!

- Aaron

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1 chemically inspired comments:

Toaster Sunshine said...

The thing that I sometimes have a hard time imagining is how someone could consent to surgery before anesthesia knowing full well that they'd have a bloody hangover the next day in addition to their surgical wound.