Before I begin I just want to say that I have several friends that take Ambien and are helped by it. Having said that I would also like to say that Ambien is NOT my friend.
The allure of a good night's sleep far outweighed any fear of taking something I've never taken before. And I don't just mean Ambien. I have never taken a sleeping pill in my life. I've taken pain medication, sedatives, and any number of pills for diabetes, but not sleeping pills. I had heard of Ambien because of friends and I knew that few people suffered from side effects. So I decided to just go for it. Not only did I have side effects from it, I had one of the rarest side effects.
About 30 minutes after taking the Ambien, I could feel my body begin to relax. I also realized that my stepmom was already sound asleep. That in itself is a miracle since the poor, sweet woman was sleeping in a recliner. And I'm not talking about a big, comfortable one either. This was your standard hospital issue, lumpy, vinyl covered recliner.
I felt like I might finally be able to relax and possibly sleep through the night. Before I could drift off, my mind suddenly started moving quite quickly and wouldn't calm down. As silly and funny as it sounds, my mind was convinced that it was faxing people. Go ahead, laugh. Trust me, I know how crazy it sounds. How do I know? Because there was a small voice in my head the entire night that kept reminding me that only crazy people have these thoughts. So while part of me was madly trying to fax everyone I've ever known, another part of me was scared that I'd finally lost my mind.
I was so concerned that I opened my eyes and was about to call out to my stepmom. Before her name could leave my lips, my eye was caught by a flash of colour on the ceiling. When I looked up there were literally hundreds of coloured squids writhing around on the ceiling. Needless to say I was frightened. Part of me believed they were real and that they were there to harm me. And that little voice kept up its drone of insanity and being committed.
I spent the rest of the night trying to be as still as I could. I became convinced that if I made no noise and didn't move then they wouldn't know I was there. Only then would I be safe. The nurses came and went but I never responded to them. They knew that I wasn't asleep but kept saying I would fall asleep soon and that I shouldn't worry. I couldn't call out to my stepmom because I just knew that if they knew she was there they would hurt her too.
The story is funny now. In fact, I've amused everyone from my family to my surgeon and his staff with the story. But at the time it was terrifying. I didn't mention it to anyone at the hospital and I didn't tell my stepmom until we had been home a few days. I was still convinced that I was crazy and would be committed.
After weeks of recovery and more of the anesthesia working its way out of my body, my mind has finally been able to associate the hallucinations to the Ambien and stop attributing it to my own lack of sanity. Due to the aches and pains, I'm still having a bit of trouble sleeping. Because I know that I can't heal without good sleep, I finally gave in and picked up some Tylenol PM. I'm very happy to report that the squids and faxing have not returned. Now we can all rest easy.
Sweet dreams! :)