Anger Burger

I’m Still Alive

Posted by Sunday on Jun 7, 2012 at 9:22 am

I am technically still alive, though there was a moment there, when I was tearing my clothes off in the middle of the night due to a sudden and intense hot flash that I remembered the Miami naked face-eater and thought in terror, Oh no! I’m going to eat Mike’s face!

Later, the illness progressed into bronchial spasms, and I was at the end of my rope. I could not stop coughing. The coughing was so intense I’d just be gagging and coughing and gagging and coughing, tears streaming down my face. I have to tell you, I don’t think I’ve been sick like this ever. Late last year my mom had a brush with pneumonia and still has a nebulizer and albuterol, so I found myself with at-home treatment without having to leave the house. Without it, I would have been at the urgent care clinic and out several hundred dollars.

At some point someone asked “Why aren’t you taking Robitussin?”  Now, most over-the-counter cold remedies are bullshit. They are usually just combinations of drugs like Tylenol and a decongestant, which is great if you want to take meds and not think about it, but I have a specific combination of things I know work for me. I am a devoted believer of guaifenesin, which in the US is sold under the brand name Mucinex. Guaifenesin has almost no side-effects, and functions only to thin all mucosal secretions on the body. This means that coughing is easier, that nasal congestion is less thick, and if you’re into this sort of thing, vaginal secretions are thinner and theoretically can make impregnation easier. Let’s ignore that last part.  Anyway, most of these combination cold drugs have a small amount of guaifenesin in them, and I want to take a full dose, but that is impossible if I’ve already taken a partial that was bundled with a bunch of other meds. Does this make sense? Forgive me, it’s been a long week. Well, week and a half.  So yeah: a long week.

Anyway, Robitussin. Dextramethorphan, specifically. I don’t know why I wasn’t taking it, I suppose I assumed it was too side-effect-y or something and in my sick state ignored it. I remedied that, started taking some and behold! It totally knocked the bronchial spasms down by at least 50%, certainly enough to earn me a few solid hours of uninterrupted sleep, something I hadn’t had in days.  On Tuesday I felt well enough to return to work, and midway through the day started in on a minor coughing fit again.  I took a dose of Robitussin and felt better.

Until about three hours later, when I started to freak the fuck out.

So basically, I had an allergic reaction. These allergic reactions don’t have to happen the first time you take the drug, they can happen any time, and in my case, this was I think the 6th or 7th dose I’d taken over the about three days. The reaction presented as a sudden sensitivity, so I began to have all the symptoms of someone who had overdosed or taken 10x as much Robitussin as I had. And if you know anything about drug use, you know that people intentionally overdose Robitussin to get high. My eyes dilated, I had combination hotflash/chills that felt like effervescent bubbles up and down my body, my perception of everything became hyperaware and distant at the same time. I was panicking internally, but for some reason playing it totally cool, like nothing at all was wrong. My co-workers were unaware that I was having a medical event. Eventually I began to feel that my throat and cheeks were tight, and called my mom. I honestly wondered: should I call an ambulance? Was I about to go into anaphylactic shock? We decided I wasn’t, but I still had to ride this hilariously awful Robofry high to the end. The intensity of the reaction began to lessen after about 30 minutes, though the physical sensations became what I can only describe as “gross”. My teeth felt rubbery, my throat and mouth both numb and tight at the same time. Skin was desensitized and dusty-feeling. By the time I felt okay to go home¹ I was wiped.

So let that be a lesson to you. Don’t try to feel better.

¹ Mike was not in town and I didn’t want to go home to an empty house if I was going to need medical attention, so staying at work seemed preferable.

June 7th, 2012 | Drama!

11 Responses to I’m Still Alive

  1. Rick says:

    Woah. I had that same experience once after taking a double dose of nyquil. I passed out before I called an ambulance, and woke up with a sticky pillow- I drooled all over it- 16 hours later.

    Be careful with the dextromothorpan. That shit’ll knock you down quick.

  2. Kay Gee says:

    666 cold preparation – beware! Tis the devil’s decongestant!

  3. Rhonda says:

    I hate when the “cure” has more effects than the original problem.

  4. Elsa says:

    Oh, BLERG, that’s awful. I hate that buzzing, tensing cough-remedy high — almost as much as I hate the period of doubt, when you slump there with the bottle in your hand, wondering which is worse, the symptoms or the side effects.

    Here’s hoping you’ll be on the mend soon. At least you managed to get a few hours’ sleep, which is more precious than gold when you’ve been coughing so long.

  5. Danabee says:

    Robitussin! Nyquil! TheraFlu! Horrible, terrible, very bad shit. Racing heart, short of breath, weird and wiggy for three days. Worst Hangovers Ever, without the fun that is supposed to precede thrm. Better to just be sick. Don’t know if my reactions were in spite of or due to my long ago, bliberally drug sprinkled wonder years or what.
    But ditto on the mucinex!

  6. Ami says:

    Wow, you went through some crazy shit! Am impressed you managed to hold it together while at work. I hope you start to feel better soon. I think we had the same thing, you have been describing what I have been feeling like since last Friday. Every morning I wake up thinking. ” today is the day I shake this” only to come back completely exhausted after taking the dogs out for their morning potty jaunt.
    I did turn to Mucinex after the local NP recommended it, and I did start to see an improvent. Is it my imagination or do the bugs seem stronger and harder to get rid of? Too many scripts for Z-paks when amoxil will cure you just as well only takes longer.
    Haven’t been back to work yet, but as I work in the food industry I would rather be cautious and make sure there is no chance I am contagious. Coughing all over someone’s bacon and eggs is not conducive to a pleasant dining experience.

  7. angie says:

    Feel better soon!

  8. meg says:

    Ick. That’s incredibly shitty. Actually, I’ve never had an allergic reaction to any medication, but I can’t drink more than one alcoholic beverage in a night without having a hangover. Perhaps this is due to the fact that when I was a kid and had horrifying coughing sicknesses almost every year, my parents made a homemade cough medicine for me containing, among other things, whiskey. This is what happens when a doctor won’t prescribe cough meds containing codeine.

  9. Are you still ‘still alive’?

  10. Arthur says:

    666 cold preparation: deliverance from the debil’s dribble.

  11. Rick says:

    It’s been 12 days, now. Are you still alive?

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