It was a Friday like this, about twenty years ago, when I was wrapping up finals, and I had a terrible cold. (If I don’t check myself, I’ll go and go and go, wear myself completely ragged and then get good and sick. It’s my thing.)
As a long time allergy sufferer, I didn’t have any trouble managing the unending snot that came with my cold, but I couldn’t handle the cough. Since I had to work with the public over the weekend, I scheduled a doctor’s appointment before my shift started.
My doctor confirmed my cold, said I was probably at the peak of it. He gave me a dozen tiny bottles of purple cough syrup. He said to take two every six hours, and to call back on Monday if I wasn’t feeling any better.
Once I got to work, I took two bottles and started my shift.
Everything was fine until I went to the bathroom.
I must have blacked-out in the bathroom. When I came to, my head was resting on the wall of the stall, I had actually dripped dry, no need to wipe, and people were asking where I was through my headset.
I pulled myself together and headed out into the store. I felt unbalanced. All of the lights in the store were very, very bright. I mean, I shaded my eyes because oh! the lights were so bright! Also, we had skylights, which I had never noticed before. So pretty skylights.
I decided I was not well. I didn’t actually need to say this to my boss, who took one look at me, and asked, “So you’re really sick, huh?” He drove me home in my car, someone else followed and took him back. When we were in the car, and I was barely conscious, I vaguely remember showing him the tiny bottles of cough syrup, and saying how I am very sensitive to medication.
I went home, blathering to my mother about how I had to sleep, how I saw the doctor, how this cough medicine just knocked me out.
I slept. I slept and slept and slept.
My mother came in off and on. Blurry hand on my face.
Thirteen hours later, I woke up. I felt fine. No cough.
My mother read aloud to me from the bottle, “Take 2 teaspoons every 6-8 hours, do not exceed…”
And that’s the time I overdosed on cough syrup. With Codeine.