Thursday, May 05, 2005


I’ve had a pretty nasty cough the past few days so I went to the doctor yesterday and he gave me a prescription for antibiotics. I was kind of in a hurry to get home so when they asked me if I wanted to have a consultation with the Pharmacist I said no because he was talking to some old lady who looked like she had a lot to talk about. When I got home and took a look at the box I wished I hadn’t been so hasty. There are five separate warning stickers on this prescription. FIVE. But that is not the most alarming part – it is what the stickers say that freaked me out.

The first sticker says, “Medication may impair your ability to drive or operate heavy machinery. USE CARE until you become familiar with effects.” What the hell? This is an antibiotic that is going render me incapable of driving my car? What’s in this stuff? I guess I’m going to have to drop out of that backhoe race this weekend.

The next sticker says, “The medicine may cause BLURRED VISION.” I t really does have blurred vision in all caps. Just in case your vision is already blurry I guess. The third sticker says “SWALLOW WHOLE DO NOT CRUSH OR CHEW.” Again, what the hell? Do these people really expect me to put this crap into my body after posting a warning like that? No, no, no, I think not.

The final two stickers read “May cause DIZZINESS” and features a very dizzy looking eye and “MAY CAUSE HEADACHE” and features the silhouette of a bald man with tiny little lighting blots zapping the top of his head. (Methinks perhaps it is the jolts of electricity giving that guy a headache.) After reading ALL of those warning labels I was really surprised there was not a sixth reading “DON’T USE WITH ALCOHOL” and featuring a little man throwing up or something. Nothing. I even read the printout the pharmacy sends home with you in case you are stupid like me and go home without finding out about what the heck you’re sticking in your mouth. All it said was “Limit alcoholic beverages.” That’s it? Limit it to how many? Four sounds like a nice even number to me. Needless to say, I chose to limit the number of pills I took to ZERO instead.

This morning I called Longs to talk to the pharmacist and she assured me that everything would be okay and that those are just warnings for the extreme side-effects. I questioned her as to why the warnings sounded more like something you’d find on a bottle of pain killers than antibiotics. Antibiotics usually just say, “MAY CAUSE DIAREHEA.” She told me that these new fangled antibiotics are REALLY strong so there can be some unusual side effects. I wanted to tell her, “Look dude, I’m not that big of a person and I don’t often take antibiotics, so I REALLY don’t think I need to be taking some super-charged rhinoceros pills” but I didn’t. I just went ahead and took the damn thing. This was at 9:00 in the morning.

Not long after taking the medicine I did notice a little lightheadedness and felt a little loopy, but no more so than I do everyday so I didn’t give it a second thought. Overall I didn’t seem to have any problems.

Today is Cinco de Mayo so some of the girls I work with suggested we have a potluck. (I think they just really like having potlucks and will pretty much use any excuse). So I show up with my pico de gallo and dig into the massive plates of food. One dish in particular that I like and have had many times before is a shrimp salad thing with jalapeños and tequila. After wolfing down my grub and visiting for awhile I started back to my office when all of a sudden I noticed a grumbling sound in my bowels. Then, out of the blue, I was gripped with one of the most painful abdominal cramps I have ever felt. It felt like someone stuck a knife in my gut and was twisting it around just for fun. I headed straight for the bathroom.

I won’t tell you about what happened IN the bathroom, but I will tell you it wasn’t pretty. When I was talking to Chuck about it later I told him it was kind of like a roller coaster ride, where ya just hang on tightly while you go screaming through the loop-de-lo. If you’ve ever seen Dumb & Dumber you know what I’m talking about. When I finally exited the restroom I was VERY happy to not find someone standing outside the door waiting to go in.

I felt a little shaky but I thought the worst of it had passed, so I went back to work. It wasn’t long before the cramping began again. It was all I could do to not scream out in pain as my insides twisted into knots. It would come in waves and then pass just like birthing contractions and I actually found my self using Lamaze breathing techniques to deal with the pain. After about an hour and a half and a couple more speedy dashes to the bathroom, I decided to go home. Work is not the place to be when you are making a dash for the bathroom and face the possibility of finding it occupied.

After I got home the cramping continued but became less frequent and less intense. By four o’clock they had stopped altogether. I spoke to my mother on the phone for awhile trying to determine what caused the violent attack. At first we thought it was the medication but then as we discussed it further we finally determined it was probably the shrimp. If it was the pills, I probably would continue to be sick, but since the problem had subsided we reasoned that it sounded more like a reaction to the shrimp. My mother has had similar experiences.

So, there you have it folks. That is why I was unable to blog about the news today. I had bigger concerns to worry about. And I have decided to try the medication again tomorrow. If it happens again I’ll know for sure what the problem is.

Please God, don’t let it happen again.