Monday 2 February 2015

Thought Picnic: Miss a pill, dream a drill

Fear costing dear
There was a time I feared for going on pills, a prescription that went on interminably until some new discovery in medicine and pharmacology meant that either the dosage was reduced or for a determined period time, usage brought a cure.
It was this fear that precipitated a serious threat to my life when I for a time ignored the tiredness and seemingly failing health that suggested I had cancer until at diagnosis, I had only 5 weeks left if I did not respond to the aggressive treatment that my doctor said could cure the problem.
Managing drug therapy
When my chemotherapy taken every three weeks was increased from two, to four, to six and then to eight, I was told some had up to fourteen sessions. When after my seventh, I saw that a ninth session had been scheduled, I told my doctor, I was not mentally prepared from anything beyond the eighth. They stopped after the seventh, it was a reprieve.
Yet, after all that pain of cancer finally subsided, it took me another two months to come off the opioid medication. I was cutting the patch in half and keeping it on for longer because the side-effects of sudden removal were almost debilitating, it was horrible.
Planning ahead
Now, any time I go away, I always pack enough pills, just in case I have to be away longer than I initially planned. In fact, any journey has to be regulated to the amount of medication I can successfully take away without being considered a peddler of controlled substances.
The last weekend saw me in London socialising and I had every thought to fill my pill box before leaving home. It is usually the first thing I put in my bag, however, between the rush and the lapse in memory, I have halfway to London when I realised the pills were still at home. That meant two nights without my pills. Probably nothing too serious.
Back on top
Then again, my pills are ones where you try to do a catch-up of missed dosages, you just settle back into routine as soon as possible. Besides, this should not happen too frequently or the visitation of something difficult to handle might materialise.
So, on getting home, I took my pills at the usual time and rolled into bed under my warmed-up electric blanket, setting the alarm for 6:30AM because it was going to be one of my unusually early days to work.
Effects that endure
When, I first went on these pills almost 5 years ago, yes, 5 years in May, I was told of a number of side-effects I will have – vivid dreams, feeling stoned, insomnia, possible depression – for a while, I refused to read the leaflet lest I be overcome with a sense of hypochondria and any other mental indisposition that will make me utterly uncomfortable.
I had many of the first for the first few weeks, one dream I remember was being the gatekeeper to heaven and hell – Read about that here. I had to search the Internet to get an understanding of what it meant to be stoned, just as I once did to understand what it meant to have a hangover. I was stoned every night for years, but because I took my pills at 23:00, I was already in bed with a light head in the clouds.
For sleeplessness, they offered more pills, I declined, in fact that was the reason I moved my pill time from 20:00 to 23:00, I was not going to have drug-induced sleep, it was fearful enough being on four different drugs after I left hospital with varying levels of drowsiness side-effects, at one time, I thought I will never wake up.
For the depression, which I was neither sure I had or not, I went for therapy, because I knew that having suffered catastrophic loss of health, wealth, status and material things, I needed to talk with someone and better talk with professionals.
A nightmare story
After a few hours’ sleep, I woke up from an event, an old school friend and I, from as far back as my secondary school days – that is over three decades ago; met up and were walking back to some place, probably where we both lived.
From what I can recall, on our way out, there was no incident, but some construction activity had begun when we were returned. There was some heavy-duty activity going on and it looked like one of the workmen was swing a hammer to break concrete slabs.
I was a bit apprehensive, I did not think we could get through the site when my friend decided to make a run for it and as he passed the workman, he disappeared. It was not a hammer he was wielding, but a hoe-like scythe, a kind of horrific tool that can only be manufactured in the mind of a dream, but has no practical use or purpose.
This is the reason why I never watch horror films, I have the capacity to think up horror without encouragement.
Waking up
My friend had been scythed, amputated from the torso taking off the right leg, then the workman picked him up and flung him out of the way where I ran up to tend to him.
He did not die, nor did he bleed profusely, and he did not go into shock. He vividly saw what happened to him as I also replayed what could have happened in my mind as we waited for the ambulance. An awfully terrible sight and the return of vivid dreams, a reminder that I should never go off the regime of my pills except when medically advised to.
My mind was already overloaded with the consequences of that event, I woke up soon after, knowing fully well that, it was one of those dreams I will never forget, etched into my consciousness and the making of another bizarre story.

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