Monday, April 9, 2012

Possible Side Effects

I have gallstones, which sucks.

It's not a constant problem, but an intermittent one that is easily the most painful thing I've ever experienced. And that's saying something, considering I've had kidney stones, three epidurals, three c-sections and spent more than one hundred and fifty hours in labor.

Yes. 1-5-0.

While I wait to be approved for surgery, I have painkillers to manage the attacks. The painkillers do their job and take away the pain. But they leave me with some unwelcome side effects.

You probably know most of the side effects that come with high doses of acetaminophen: drowsiness, disorientation, dizziness. I know these. I've had them before.

The lesser known side effects, however, include insomnia, paranoia and hallucinations.

I did not know these. I've never had them before. But I have them now.

If you combine these three effects with the fact that my attacks generally happen around one in the morning, you get me, lying in bed in the middle of the night, wide-eyed and terrified of things that will never, ever happen.

What kind of terrifying things? Well, since I am a mother, naturally, my worst fears come in the form of my children being harmed. When I'm paranoid and delusional, those fears are amplified. Over the past two weeks, in my waking nightmares, I've watched:

- My two year old fall from a seventh story balcony.
- My three year old attacked by an alligator (I manage to save him and get eaten myself).
- My five year old slowly digested by a boa constrictor.
- Gunshot wounds
- Three year old fall off a roller coaster and get run over on the tracks.
- World War III break out in my neighborhood, and we have to run for our lives after my husband is summarily executed while holding my youngest son.
- Five year old's arm and leg caught in an elevator door, but the elevator refuses to stop, amputating him and forcing us to ride up twenty floors, allowing him to bleed out entirely.
- A dozen different horrific car accidents, variations include: decapitation, severance of limbs, burned corpses and (my favorite) a log sliding off the back of one of those logger's trucks, crushing my husband and two of my children in its path.

My body doesn't recognize that these things are only happening in my mind, though on some level, I can intellectually realize that they are fake. My muscles react as if they are real, though. I clench everything, my heart races, I sweat profusely and my breathing is as ragged as if were running a half marathon (even in my worst nightmares, I'm not running a marathon).

Needless to say, I am looking forward to the surgery, for more than one reason.


  1. WOW. That is...horrific. Apparently a similar thing happens with certain types of anti-malarials. One of the guys I worked with in Brewery Land spent a couple of years doing 2 weeks in India, 2 weeks at home. And the anti-malarials that the company doctor had prescribed caused him to hallucinate on a daily basis that he was murdering his entire family. O.o I'd probably have just drunk a lot of gin and tonics instead!!

    Hope you get cleared for surgery soon, for many many reasons.

  2. Wow, I thought 1-5-0 was the scariest thing, and then I scrolled down.

    It sucks that you are experiencing this. I really hope you get cleared for surgery soon. If nothing else, I feel better about my nightmares - that I'm not the only one totally trapped in horrific thoughts that make me feel insane at night.

  3. Oh holy smokes. Those are horrible. My MIL had gallstones and said it was one of the most painful things she's ever been through. I've had Kidney stones and can't imagine anything being more painful than that. However, knowing that you've had them too, and this is more painful, I'm terrified of getting gallstones. I hope you can get into surgery soon.

  4. That's really horrible. Poor you! I hope you don't have to wait too long for surgery :(

  5. Oh no! That is awful. And I'm not just talking about the 150 hours in labor - I'm so sorry to hear this! I will be sending well wishes your way for your surgery and a speedy recovery.