Side effects

When you finally aren’t subject to drug testing at work but don’t know what to do next

Technically, I am high.

I have never gotten high.

I’m not morally opposed to drugs. If you want to destroy yourself with heroin, go ahead. People destroy themselves with alcohol and that’s legal. Your body, your choice.

I think maybe it’s because I’ve never had the chance. That is, nobody has ever offered me any.

Except for that time in New York City, when I was 22 and a co-worker and I were walking to a club one night. A man in the corner looked at us – in our pink polos and khaki skirts – and said, “Smoke! Smoke!”

I was offended.

“DO I LOOK LIKE I SMOKE?” I asked my co-worker.

Turns out he was trying to sell, not trying to bum a ciggie.

I would like to try.

I would like to try getting high.

I would like to try getting high as long as it doesn’t involve needles. Or smoking. Or losing control of my actions.

Or if it would actually work and not just make me sick.

After a dental surgery, the doctor sent me home with 25 Vicodin tablets.

I took one right away because even though someone had just cut my gums open and done stuff in my mouth that required me to spit out blood, I was excited about the possibility of getting high. A new experience! An experience for which I had a prescription just in case I got tapped for random drug testing at work!

Twenty minutes later, I was throwing up everything in my stomach.

I didn’t touch vicodin again until years later when another doc prescribed it. I told him it made me throw up. He told me I needed to take it with food (information on the label that I had ignored because of course it didn’t apply to me and I had just had dental surgery so how was I supposed to chew?) and that my reaction meant I probably would not become addicted to it.

I tried it again.

It took away the pain but did not make me high.

(Also, it made me sleepy but wouldn’t let me sleep.)

So I still didn’t know what high was like.

I tried valerian. It’s supposed to help with hot flashes and is also supposed to help you sleep.

Didn’t work. I mean, I will never know if it works for the hot flashes because do hot flashes even matter if you can’t sleep?

Walgreen’s clerk: What’s the reason for the return?

Me: Well, valerian is supposed to help you sleep, but there’s the weird possible side effect that maybe two people in the whole universe might get that instead of making you sleep, it gives you insomnia and you’re wide awake at 1:00 a.m., wondering if you were a really bad person in your previous life and now you’re being punished. I am one of those two people.



Clerk: So I’m just going to select “other.”

Me: OK then.

A friend suggested I try melatonin to help me sleep.

I took one tablet and was up all night, ready to jump out of my skin.

I had always thought that was an odd expression and had wondered how it came about.

Now I know.

Now I know what it feels like to be ready to jump out of my skin.

I never want that feeling again.

If there is a weird side effect to be had, I will get it

If there is anything weird that can happen to someone – any bizarre, rare side effect, it will happen to me.

Lyrica, which cost $1,400 for a one-month supply – my co-pay was $140, made my hair fall out.

Topamax killed my appetite, which I liked, but also made the food I did eat taste awful and gave me double vision.

Blockers made me feel like my body was made of lead.

None of these stopped my migraines.

All I wanted was to be able to fall asleep at night and maybe not have hot flashes at 2 a.m.

A friend suggested CBD.

So I tried it.

The stuff I got at the CBD store didn’t do anything for me, I don’t think.

When I was visiting my mom in Colorado, I missed my chance to get some edibles with THC. Mostly, I suppose, because I was lazy and how do you ask your mom to borrow her car so you can buy pot?

Maybe I blew it. Maybe I needed something stronger than the Wisconsin CBD.

Maybe I need the Strong CBD.

So I bought some.

And have been trying it for the past ten days.

Every morning, Mr T asks me how I slept.

“I don’t know,” I’ve been telling him.

Because I still lie awake trying to sleep, but once I am asleep, it’s weird. I don’t even know how to describe it. I have memories of things happening in the immediate past but when I think deeply on them, I realize I might have been dreaming – that it didn’t really happen.

And even though it turns out that CBD helps many women who have bladder pain, it can sometimes cause bladder pain.

Guess which category I am in?


Awake, bladder discomfort, and bad dreams.

I think the universe is trying to tell me something.

5 thoughts on “Side effects

  1. A friend swears by raspberry leaf tea, but I have no clue.

    (Also, I do not know if the prior comment is the new Webb telescope that’s forwarding you messages from the universe but either way, I love it.)


  2. I react to phenylpropanolamine (used to be the active ingredient is Actifed) by becoming a raging glasshole. And when I was in the Navy, guess what the only decongestant Sick Bay had on ship was?


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