DPchallenge: 2 AM Photo

Sleep is always a challenge for me.  To achieve it, I take five (5) medications: Seroquel, clonazepam, lorazepam, zolpidem, and lithium.  Yes, I know there are six pills in the picture.  That is because of the two Seroquel.  For those who are new to my blog, I take all these poisons due to PTSD incurred courtesy of childhood abuse and a stint on the streets as a teenage runaway, complete with serial rapes.  You can read all about it here.

Nighttime Knockout Pills

Nighttime Knockout Pills

And as if all those pills weren’t enough, I use about half an ounce of some kind of liquor as an adjuvant (enhancer).  My favorite is Ouzo, as it leaves a lovely trace of anise on my palate, as my knockout pills waft me to sleep.  Thats one of the reasons I don’t practice medicine anymore: you just can’t field nighttime medical emergencies while hammered on six kinds of meds (I regard the Ouzo as one of them).



If something manages to wake me at night, an earthquake for instance, or the part of the ceiling directly above my bed falling down, or a painfully full bladder (thank God I do wake up for that), I stumble through whatever is necessary to remove myself from the annoyance.  I imagine I would look, to an innocent observer, rather like a hapless zombie that has feasted upon too many alcoholics, or perhaps upon me: too full of sedatives to even try to escape.

So imagine my annoyance when my Galaxy SIII, only slightly smaller than an iPad, rumbled to life at 2 AM, buzzing and tinkling its bell tone indicating an incoming text.

I must have been in the light part of my sleep cycle (otherwise it could have hit me in the head and I wouldn’t have turned a hair), because I awoke with a start that sent Noga, my Lhasa Apso, scurrying to the foot of the bed, as I sat bolt upright as if on springs.

Noga refuses to get out of bed on a rainy morning!

Noga the Lhasa Apso 

My first thought was it must be some mother who had fed her baby strawberry jello, and now its diaper was shockingly red.  Then I remembered: I am no longer in practice as a pediatrician, due to my mental illness and its Machiavellian treatments.  Then a more chilling thought occurred to me: what if something had happened to some family member, God forbid?  But that would entail a phone call from the appropriate authorities, not a text.

At last I wrenched myself far enough away from drugged stupor to actually look at the phone.  MMS, it said.  I touched the “view” button.

Oh fer cryin’ out loud.  This had to be from Floyd, my pervy neighbor.  Who else would send me a photo of his large and rampant, uh, you know….in the middle of the fricking night?  He must have been pickled.  Deleted the goddam thing and lay back down.

Then I sat up again.  I was thirsty.  All these drugs make my mouth dry.  I felt around for my bottle of Gerolsteiner that I usually keep by the bed.  I love Gerolsteiner:  it has lots of minerals in it, good for your body.  And it tastes good, too.  Shit, it wasn’t anywhere around.  I got out of bed and stumped into the dark kitchen.  Ah, there was the bottle: right next to the sink.  Why the hell did I leave it there?  Must have got distracted while brushing my teeth.  Ah well.  Here it was, anyway.

Gerolsteiner, yum

Gerolsteiner, yum!


I unscrewed the cap and took a deep chug.

Jeezus Christ and all his disciples, what the hell was this!?  Oh fuck, it was the Ouzo!  What was is doing next to the sink?? What am I gonna do now?  I musta just ingested a cup of it.  And on top of all these meds….should I make myself throw up?  That’s what I would tell someone else.  I hate to throw up.  I’ll do anything to avoid it.

Well shit, if I’m gonna die I may as well go back to bed.  But now I really need the Gerolsteiner, to quell the burning in my stomach.  I found a new bottle on the shelf and drank as much of it as I could, hoping to dilute the Ouzo enough so I wouldn’t die immediately of drug interactions.  Maybe gently in my sleep, to be found some days later when I didn’t answer my phone.  Morbid thoughts.  Damn phone.

I stumbled toward the bed, holding onto the furniture to keep from falling down.

Damn.  Now my bladder was grumbling and required immediate attention.  I looked outside.  Raining cats and dogs.  No effing way I was going to make my way to the outhouse in this storm, especially in my present compromised condition.  For you newbies, just to let you know, my plumbing situation is non-standard.  ‘Nuff said.

2012-10-25 09.13.51

I got out the pee jar, which I keep under the bed for such emergencies.  (No picture of the pee jar, sorry.  Too personal.)

Squatting over the pee jar, I let the excess water drain out with relief.  Shit, shit, and more shit!  Apparently I had not remembered to empty the pee jar since its last use, and now there was pee all over the floor.  Time to get the mop.  (No picture of this either.)

After cleaning up as much of the mess as I could in my present condition, I fell into bed and drifted into a semi-comatose state resembling sleep.  But not for long.  “Brrrr, bling!” went my phone.  I picked the damn thing up and threw it across the room.  It smashed into the closet door.  Good thing I bought the insurance.


Leave a comment


  1. what a night! hope they aren’t all like that! my cocktail of psych meds is cymbalta, seroquel, and lithium. sometimes trazodone. but lithium is not a sleeper, mood stabilizer actually. cymbalta is a daytime med, so also not a sleeper. pretty much just the seroquel, which i love and look forward to every single night. pretty sure i would not even hear my cell phone buzz or ring. hope you get some sleep after that night!

  2. paulscribbles

     /  March 18, 2013

    U need a bigger pee jar methinks. Great story.

    • Either that or a better brain! Glad you liked it, and thanks for the encouragement. I never know how far I can push the envelope before I just gross people out 😛

      • paulscribbles

         /  March 18, 2013

        No worries…and you can always get a bigger envelope too if needs be 😉

  3. Thanks, Kat! Me too. Whew!

  4. I’m begining to think there’s nothing wrong with me – I only take 300mgs of Seroquel! I can relate to the stumbling about not really knowing what I’m doing,though. My wife says I’m very heavy footed in the mornings…but I still manage to get her her meds (a coffee) before she gets out of bed!

    • 300 mg of Seroquel!!!! I’d be asleep for weeks with that. Lucky wife!

      • ok so seroquel may be the only med i take that makes me sleep, but i take 400mg each night. works pretty good, too. sometimes i throw in some trazodone if im really revved up or emotional. i loves sequoquel. it and lithium are my 2 fave meds 🙂 better living through chemistry 🙂

  5. Wow, kat! If I took 400 mg I would sleep for a month. I am really sensitive to most meds. One time my shrink said in aggravation (I was complaining about side effects of something or other) “Just LICK the pill, will you?!”

  6. um…300 trazedone plus lamictal. and still sleep like crap. (at night, sleep great during the day.) PTSD as well except my pup is a shih tzu. I will read your personal backstory.

    • Hmmmm, I’ve had problems with Trazedone. It didn’t seem to really do such a great job of sending me to dreamland, but instead made me feel antsy and anxious all the time, so they added Xanax to that, which made things worse. It really does take time to find one’s perfect “drug cocktail” and even then, things seem to change all on their own and it has to be tweaked now and then. You have a Shih Tzu! Sweet. I wish people could leave pictures in the comments.

  7. Almost peed myself over this post. You are a great writer, and I have enjoyed looking through this blog, and rather amazed at how much we have in common. Love, A Bipolar, Pediatric Dialysis Nurse with Sleep Disorder… )

    • Thank you! I’ve enjoyed your blog too. I bet we’d have plenty to talk about over a cup of coffee, plus or minus Ouzo…!

      • Never having tried that, I have something to look forward to after a manic or painful longlonglong night! What is it anyway? Sounds like that pasta, oh no, that’s Orzo…..I used to drink grain alcohol and OJ in college, anything like that?

  8. Uhhhh, no. Ouzo is the Greek version of the pan-Mediterranean fire-water laced with anise. I personally prefer the Middle Eastern version, Arak, which is less sweet (although Ouzo is not particularly sweet in comparison to, say, a liqueur) and more fiery. It tends to be in 40% alcohol range, very nice. I actually mix mine 3/4 Ouzo to 1/4 Absinthe, which gets it a bit closer to tasting like Arak. I have been drinking Ouzo at bedtime for so long that it’s one of those traditions my son and I reminisce about. He’s 28.

  9. The first time I got stoned I smoked the whole joint because my friend told me that you don’t get high the first time. I had to call my job at “Six Flags Over Ga” and tell them I was sick. I was freaking out and got in bed. My mother came home, and I told her I was too sick to go to work. She believed me and I got under the covers and that’s when things started to get interesting.

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