Unless you haven’t got around to reading my tagline, I have issues with sleep. It avoids me like I have the plague (not yet proven), and quite frankly, I’m not often seeking it out either (sleep, nor the plague). I’m one of those people that is quite comfortable being alone. One of the best times to find myself alone is at 3:00 in the morning. Now that I’m living in a mountainous area of the country, I can stand out on the back porch and look out on all the darkened houses that are unfortunate enough to be below me and whisper quietly to myself: “Buncha Pussies. You can’t hang.”
One would think that living in this Hillbilly Mothership that it would be peaceful and quiet and getting sleep when it is needed would be a fairly easy task. It is. For everyone but me. Of course, I haven’t always lived here and in fact only recently came here. I’m all city-fied, you see. Having spent most of my life in Raleigh, NC, or as a Marine in Quantico, VA or there was also the few years I lived in the depths of Hell, I can only call myself a city boy. Sorry about that last one, I meant Lansing, Michigan. Point is, no matter where I go in the country, sleep isn’t there. I honestly believe that sleep lives in Morocco, simply because I haven’t been there and I can’t prove it.
A few years ago, some genius came up with a medication called Ambien. This stuff is the sleep medication OF THE GODS! In the last 20 years I have tried pretty much everything to get my sorry ass to sleep. Everything from blackout drunks to illegally harvesting melatonin from nearby farm animals. Ambien, however, was the answer I had been looking for.
A unique class of drug, it is unlike most other sleep medications because it is called a “hypnotic”. It’s unique because most of the over-the-counter sleep medications you can buy contain what is called “placebo”, or in the scientific community, “you-just-paid-eight-bucks-to-be-in-the-control-group-suckaaaaaa”. Ambien is the brand name for the chemical name “Zolpidem”, which, as far as I can tell means, “the magical compound that makes up the rainbow that comes out of a unicorn’s ass”. I honestly don’t care where it comes from, that shit is GOOD. So good, in fact, that it comes with its own set of warnings that are unique to itself. Ok, in all fairness, it doesn’t come with all of the following warnings, but I’m going to amend the manufacturers list.
- This medication is to be taken when your ass is already IN the bed – Only an experienced Ambien user should take this medication prior to this event. While it generally takes about 15 to 20 minutes to take effect, when it does kick in, it rolls through like a freight-train. Failing to heed this warning by an Ambien-noob can result in waking up 700 miles from home in a town you’ve never heard of with a new identity. . . that you stole.
- Turn off all electronic devices before taking this drug – Not doing so makes “drunk dialing” look like an innocent slip-of-the-tongue. Reported side effects of this are:
- Accidentally sending a “Fuck you” text to your entire contact list. We know it was only intended for your ex-wife, but you’re screwed now and no longer have any friends.
- Visual impairment – This stuff makes your laptop screen appear to be 3D and you will spend the next 6 hours in front of your laptop hypnotically trying to “grab” things on your computer screen. Particularly disturbing if you have a tendency to surf porn.
- Hour-and-a-half long conversations on the phone with your best friend, the likes of which, you will have absolutely no recollection of the next day. Also, your best friend will be looking at you funny for the next 15 years.
- Typing, even for someone who is normally good at it, is next to impossible. Emailing should never be attempted. Fortunately, most emails never get sent because the Ambien generally kicks in before the email is finished and the content usually looks something like: “Hey, Gina! Its bem a whyle an O jus wannet to lt yoo kmow tht evrytging iz goin grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr …..” You have fallen asleep with your finger on the “r” key and will wake up to a 173 page document filled with “rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr”.
- Walking is best left to the professionals – The effect this drug has on coordination is unlike alcohol in that it does not give the “stumbling drunk” appearance. It simply makes solid objects seem to vanish. Imagine seeing a perfectly sober individual walking down the street and walking head-on into a light pole like it wasn’t there while looking right at it. You will do this to the door, wall, dresser, significant other, insignificant other.
- DO NOT DRIVE! – This one probably doesn’t even need to be said, but for the same reason we have to put “DO NOT USE IN SHOWER” on a hairdryer, I’ll say it again. Not that you’ll necessarily be a bad driver, but all the oncoming traffic will look like it’s in 3D. That’s because it IS you Jackass, stop trying to grab the oncoming headlights! Oh, and that’s not your car.
- Do not take with alcohol – Should you decide to ignore this warning, make sure you have an attorney on retainer. Litigation in some form or another, is not a possibility, it is a guarantee. Mixing alcohol with Ambien will amplify the aforementioned warnings times-like-a-billion.
- Ambien causes the munchies, prepare early – The manufacturer recommends taking this medication on an empty stomach to achieve the desired effect. Once the effect has started to set in and you don’t have to worry about it anymore, all bets are off. Prepare your snack ahead of time because you’ll have to eat it in a damn hurry. Being slow on the draw will find you waking up in the recliner with half a sandwich resting on your shirt.
- Ambien can be highly addictive – I’m calling Shenanigans here. I have only one response to this. How do you KNOW? I started taking Ambien because I couldn’t sleep. If I stop taking Ambien, I can’t sleep again, but now you call it an addiction. How do you know it isn’t the same fucking insomnia I had BEFORE I started taking the stuff! Bullshit flag is waving high and proud on this one.
As you can see, this is some serious stuff, but don’t let all the warnings fool you. If you’re one of those people like me, who can’t sleep and absolutely nothing works, this is the answer. See your doctor and get a prescription right away. If he tries to give you Lunesta, bitch-slap him and call him a Twatwaffle. (Damn you, Noa. Damn you to HELL for ever putting that word in my head!) The other line they like to try is “We don’t like to prescribe this medication for more than 9 days”. An effective reply seems to be “I haven’t bludgeoned anyone with a brick in 8 days and I don’t like to go more than 9 days without that either”. That will either get you a 90 day supply with 5 refills at the end of each 90 days or some much needed institution time, in which case you’ll still be getting some serious meds.
I hope this helps my fellow insomniacs out there wherever you are. All I know is that you’re not in this town or I would have seen your light on. I’m here to let you know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, or in this case, we can shut the damn thing off so you can get some sleep.