Saturday, April 30, 2005

All Drugs are Mind Altering Drugs

I couldn’t stand it anymore. The oak pollen (which I didn’t realize I was that allergic to) had been tortuting me. My eyes were red and dry for two days straight even though I hadn’t been staring at a computer screen quite as much as usual. My nose was running and I felt like I was coming down with the flu. So I broke down and asked the allergist for a few samples of Allegra to tame the rampant histamines in my body.

Antihistamines and I have a long history. I’ve had allergies all my life even though I didn’t find a doctor who was willing to acknowledge it until I was in college and I had outgrown many of my worst symptoms (or maybe it was just that I had stopped going camping). There was an over-the-counter medication called Actifed that I would take when I went camping. It contained pseudoephedrine and an antihistamine that wasn’t Benedryl. A small, white pill (about the size of a single Sudafed) that looked quite unassuming, I had to cut it in half. A full one would leave me completely zoned out yet unable to sleep. Time flowed backwards when I was on that stuff. Really. I remember seeing 9:45 pm on my watch once, only to look at it a few minutes later and find that it was 9:30 pm. Consuming caffeine with it allowed me to at least be aware of my surroundings, except that I became several parts of my surroundings. I would float in front of myself if I was sitting or float behind and in front of myself if I was walking. Aren't time dilations fun?

Benedryl makes me itch and twitch and, in high enough doses, throw up. Claratin also leaves me dizzy. Claranex is okay, but doesn’t work as well. Allegra is probably the most effective antihistamine I’ve taken with relatively low side effects, though for me, it stops working after about a week. Also, when I say relatively low side effects, that’s relative to other antihistamines.

Yesterday, when I felt an allergy attach coming on, I took out one of the Allegra 180 samples the allergist had given me (smaller doses don’t come in sample packets, dang it!). I drank 24 ounces of water to fend off dehydration and 12 ounces of Coke to prevent zone-out. And then I waited.

After about a half an hour, I started swaying unconsciously. The five or six trains of thought that normally travel through my brain and several of the check points they normally travel through on the way to my mouth shut down. Ask me a question and I’d give the first answer that came to mind, if one came at all. Humor was mostly lost and I was not particularly talkative. If I found something to do, I was extremely focused. In fact, when I drove to lunch yesterday, I think I did a better job of focusing on my driving and not being distracted by my passengers than usual (of all the days to volunteer to drive, I had to do it yesterday). But I think I frightened my passengers at lunch by not participating in the conversation (but I have nothing to say about gardening) and by staring straight ahead between bites of food. “I’m fine to drive, really.” “That’s what all the drunks say.”

Now that I have a HEPA filter in my apartment, I think that one Allegra will be my last for the season. Though I may be allergic to my desk at work. I’ll have to figure out how to remedy that. Because drugs – are bad.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't had any allergies in a long time, but I almost got a cold that was raging through my office a month ago. I was able to fend it off, though, so the two year streak continues!

4/30/2005 11:56 PM  
Blogger Christiana said...

Thankfully I don't have many allergies, because I suffer from those meds just like you do. About five or six times a year, I'll get them pretty bad for a few days, then gone for another couple months. I've long since decided to just suffer through them because nothing I've ever taken for them ever helped.

That said, my mom gets a lot of allergies pretty much all Summer, and she's discovered that some of the long-term meds that you take every day take a little while to work, but once they start, they did the trick.

It's amazing though, isn't it, how many different effects chemicals can have on our perceptions?

5/03/2005 9:38 PM  
Blogger Kevin Jackson said...

Well, this is interesting. I did a blog search for ephedra and caffeine and found your site. When I get some time I'll come back and find out where ephedra and caffeine appears and how it relates - if it even does. Take care - nice work.

10/03/2005 3:39 PM  

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