Chocolate Side Effects
Most medicines have side effects that affect people in different ways. They may make you sleep or give you insomnia; you may feel fatigued or full of energy. Some side effects make you feel lousy, but not taking them can be worse. When doctors prescribe mediine, they consider the effects of taking it versus the results of not taking it and make their decisions accordingly. Sometimes they make good decisions, but sometimes they make mistakes.
Randy was developing a lot of health problems from diabetes, which he developed when he was ten. He knew insulin was hard on his body, but that not taking it would take his life. Like many people, he trusted that his doctors were making decisions in his best interest. So when he complained of irregular heartbeat and his doctor prescribed a medicine that worked, he took it without question.
We found out six months later that the benefits of this medicine did not outweigh the risks. It was known to cause severe organ damage, and the Physician's Desk Reference cautioned doctors to begin dosage with the patient hospitalized for at least two weeks and to monitor them closely after release. None of this occurred with Randy. The doctor wrote a prescription with 6 refills and sent him on his way. He called his doctor complaining of a cough, and the doctor called in a prescription. A few weeks later, he felt worse, and the doctor called in another prescription. By the time we took him to the emergency room, his lungs were so damaged that no lobe was unaffected, and his systems rapidly failed from lack of oxygen to the parts of his body.
Medicine is not a bad thing. It can improve health, destroy disease and make you feel better, but it has to be used with caution. Ask the doctor about side effects when the medicine is prescribed, and ask the pharmacist when you fill the prescription. Buy an informational book about medicine or check one out from the library. Look up information online and ask other people who have taken the medicine how it affected them; you won't necessarily be affected the same, but it gives you an idea of what to look for. Keep in mind that no matter how informed you are, side effects of many medications don't show up until years after they are introduced. New medications often have side affects that go unnoticed during trials, and a few years later you hear on the news that medicine you're taking has been found to cause a side effect no one knew about.
That happened to me a few months after I lost Randy. Our 20th wedding anniversary was coming, and I was having Thanksgiving dinner with his family. I couldn't sleep, and the doctor had prescribed nerve pills and sleeping pills. My grandchildren were often at my house, so I hadn't been taking them, but the night before Thanksgiving I knew I'd never get through the next day without some sleep, so I took one of each. And I slept. I slept so deeply that I had only a vague rememberance of my daughter coming into the room and saying, "Mom, are you okay? I heard a noise. . .Mom, what have you done to yourself?"
Apparently one of the side effects that was not listed on my sleeping pill because no one knew about it yet was sleep eating. I had found some dark chocolate somewhere, and not just a small piece. My hands and face were covered with it and it was all over my pajamas and comforter. I don't know for sure, but by the time my daughter stopped laughing hard enough to get a washcloth, I think it was in my hair, too.
When Melanie returned from the bathroom with the wet washcloth, she had another fit of laughter when she said, "Mom?" and I opened my eyes, looked at my hand and started licking the chocolate off it. "Amber!" she yelled, "get in here, you've go to see this!" My daughters stood beside my bed doubled over with laughter, then Amber said, "Where's the camera?" They looked around on my desk and dresser, but didn't see it. Thank God they didn't notice the camcorder at the foot of the bed. Melanie came back to the bed and wiped the chocolate away the best she could.
When I woke up in the morning I was still tired, but felt more rested than I had in months. I walked into the living room where Melanie was sitting and told her, "I had the weirdest dream last night." Her mouth twitched as she asked, "Was it about chocolate?"
Oh, crap. It wasn't a dream. The girls filled me in on the details. Over Thanksgiving dinner they shared the details with the family. It was okay, we all needed a good laugh. Laughter is the best remedy for recovering from the side effects of life. Though it's not a cure, it can help you feel better.
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