Sleep Aid!

When it comes to sleep aids  you just have to find the one that’s right for you  as they say in the laxative ads.

I was scared to death of Ambien.

Who hasn’t heard stories of the trans-Atlantic flier dutifully popping an Ambien at the gate? Who then immediately goes  so weak at the knees he has to be dragged aboard like a duffel bag?

I fear all situations where my mind gets hijacked.

What a pain I was in my teen years:

  • Wouldn’t drink.

  • Prom date filched a bottle of champagne for the night. I made him pour it in the dirt.

  • Tried partying with the big kids in college but couldn’t keep up (“What’s happening to me? I can see right through my hand! Look out! The North Star is headed straight for us! Duck!” )

I well  remember this one weekend at Dartmouth. We had been drinking since literally 10am and now, at 8pm, I was in a frat house basement where some ‘bro’ was ladling chili into soup bowls as big around as a school clock. By then we had been through the deadly milk punch at 10, the whiskey sours at 1 and now here were these foamy quart cups of beer. The walls were pulsating as the Stones sang Satisfaction.

I had kicked off my shoes and leaned back on the banquet, balancing a cup of suds on my stomach. When I sat forward again to dangle one leg prettily over the edge as I imagined it, a sensation of warmth spread up my body.  “Ah!” I thought in a haze of well-being. “This sure beats writing a paper on the  Transcendentalists!”  Then I looked down to see that I had plunged  one whole foot into my chili. I lurched over to a mirror and tried to find the rotating pinwheels of my eyes.

Sigh. No wonder I mated for life at 19. I was no good at all at these singles scenes.

But back to the sleep aid that I knew I needed:  Trazodone was out; the few times I tried Trazodone I was dopey for a good  24 hours afterward. So I did what I often do when I have a pressing question: I went to my friend Lou of the Body Work Education Project who had been my Anatomy teacher back in massage therapy school. Her advice? Go with the Ambien. It burns clean, she says, meaning you feel like your same peppy self in the morning.

I wrote an email to my primary care doc and six hours later the pharmacy called to say I could pick up my scrip. Success!

There’s more to say, natch – isn’t there always with the Irish? –  but I only got three hours of sleep last night so I’m drooling onto the keyboard here. Tell ya the rest tomorra!


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