Thursday, May 18, 2006

#270 - Stupid Xanax

[Over at The Inner Dad (my alter blog-ego), I described my recent heart problems and joked about how taking Xanax made me feel. Here, in an exclusive for the Woundup, I describe how I really feel:]

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how anyone could get addicted to this junk. I was reading up on Rush Limbaugh, for instance, and I discovered something. He spent an hour in jail last month for obtaining prescription drugs without an actual prescription (you know how snarky these cops can get about such things), and among the "stash" were 50 Xanax pills. My exact prescription amount!

For a moment or two I began to worry that I, too, might fall like the mighty Rush. Could it be that I would become a Xanax junkie and begin trolling doctors' offices looking for unattended prescription pads? Then I'd have to admit my addiction on national radio and spend, what, two or three days in jail (only rich people like Rush get away with an hour). This is no way to live.

Then I took a Xanax, which is supposed to alleviate anxiety symptoms. The doctor prescribed this on the off chance that my heart palpitations might be due to anxiety. I'm not entirely certain just what "anxiety" really means. I'm not under any more stress than usual, really, and the idea that I get overly nervous about any one thing or combination of things just doesn't click.

Anyway, I took the stupid pill. I'd decided to wait until about 6:00 that evening because it's a six hour dose, and I figured that once I got to sleep I'd be just fine. Then I sat and waited. First thing I noticed was that the palpitations continued their merry course all night long. They come and they go at their leisure, and when they found the Xanax patrolling my veins their first thought was, "Huh. Xanax. Always wondered what that looks like." Then they ignored the medicinal sentry and continued thumping around in my chest region.

Mentally I felt nothing. Not even that "you wanna set fire to the house? Go ahead" kind of feeling that I'd always heard accompanied drugs like Xanax. I might add here that if you give me a Darvocet, I'd spill my guts to whatever terrorist happened to be in the Dentist's office with me. So Xanax had, like, zero net effect.

Until I went to sleep.

I tossed and turned all silly night long, and had dreams of the sort that I used to think only happened to people who lived through the Sixties. I woke up at least five times that night. Consequently I wasn't feeling terribly well rested the next day for work. I decided to try the Xanax again the next day, just to give it a chance to redeem itself. I took one earlier in the afternoon, then another one just before bed. Once again I had a very restless night (if not quite as restless as the previous one), and finally decided that Xanax was a huge fraud.

I wondered again how someone like Rush Limbaugh - who arguably has a complete array of pharmaceuticals at his disposal, for a price - could possibly get hooked on this stuff. Then I read a little deeper in the article. Along with his 50 Xanax pills, he also scored 40 release-time morphine pills (release-time?? Good grief.), 90 OxyContin pills, and 1,733 hydrocodone pills. In other words, he had enough narcotics on him to stun a rhinoceros in mid-charge. No wonder he got hooked!

So now I feel better about things. Xanax may or may not be completely useless. I don't really worry about getting addicted. I'm going to save them for those episodes that seem to get really uncomfortable, rather than take them every time I feel them start, as the doctor suggested. My fifty pills may last me the better part of the year at that rate. And, of course, there's always the possibility that the cardiologist will find out just what the heck is wrong with me and fix it so I don't need the Xanax anymore.

By the way, another reason for not taking Xanax unless I really have to is that I tried to go all day and night yesterday without them. I still had a rough night. In fact, without the Xanax it was worse, really, which makes me wonder if I'm already having to go through some sort of withdrawal. Not unlike my caffeine withdrawals a couple of years ago.

So, I repeat: I don't see how anyone with half a brain-stem left could possibly get addicted to this stuff.

Stupid Xanax.

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