That Time I Od’d on Cough Syrup

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.


Cured me completely.

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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24 Responses to That Time I Od’d on Cough Syrup

  1. When in was in high school I once took NyQuil before going to school. This was back in the day when it was about 20% alcohol, so the rest of the day was . . . interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And people drink that shit for fun. (See also sizzurp and purple drank.) Actually had an aol-chat-friend, who had a fling with a close friend of mine, OD and die in a hotel by himself…because of robitussin. He’d drink cases of it. Have mind-splitting hallucinations. We’re talking Lovecraft-ian moments of monsters and alternate universes. Scary stuff…. yeah I over share. sorry. lol


  3. Jewels says:

    This would be scary if you hadn’t made it sound so funny, glad nothing worse happened to you…


  4. hoodyhoo says:

    Look at you, taking responsibility and shit! I would refer to this as “The Time the White Man’s Medicine Tried to Kill Me.”


  5. LindaGHill says:

    You’re lucky to be alive!


  6. meANXIETYme says:

    Glad you’re alive! Also, no more cough syrup, woman!
    I got addicted to cough drops that had the syrup in the center? That was crazy-pants. I still can’t take those because I worry I’ll get addicted again.


  7. Sherry says:

    I’m with you Joey…living with a certain degree of discomfort is so much better than the “side effects” of so much of this crap. I’m off the aleve and doing okay…not terrific, but I can live with the stiffness better than the side effects…:)


  8. Dan Antion says:

    I think the scariest part is passing out in the bathroom stall.


  9. Been there, done that. Just consider yourself lucky that the bathroom you passed out in was familiar to you….. Mine was foreign. And dirty. And ew. My head was where numerous STRANGERS put their nasty asses. Gag me with a spoon. It makes me shudder to this day. And mine didn’t cure me. When I woke up from my bender, I felt worse than ever. Maybe the freaky yucks on the public toilet jumped on for a ride? Ugh! Glad you felt better though!


  10. Everyone else is all kind and tender and concerned and ‘glad you’re alive’ and i’m over here like, ‘BAHAHAHAHAHA! That is hilaaaaarious!’
    (Oh, and I’m glad you’re alive πŸ˜‰ )
    But, really, that cracks me up! Accidentally tripping on cough syrup at work. I don’t think it gets better than that.
    I’m assuming 20 years ago people didn’t file lawsuits the way they do these days, or you’d be a bajillionaire. What was he thinking giving you multiple bottles?!


    • Right? It was before people were all caught up in drug-seeking behavior and all that.
      I think he was thinking I was a poor college kid. He still gives me free shit all the time; fever reducers, steroid creams, antiseptic…lol! He’s a great doctor. I dread his retirement. I’ve been seeing him since I was 11!
      — And yeah, it was pretty funny! πŸ˜€


  11. Matt Roberts says:

    You drank TWO BOTTLES?! That’s fun. Codeine never did anything for me, sadly. lol


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