This is basically just a continuation of my last post. I really wanted to tell you guys THIS story but got all hung up with how gross I was. Sorry.
After I got all shaved up, I was left to my own devices. Trying to fall asleep the night before my first heart surgery. I have terrible insomnia even at the best of times. And this was not the best of times.
I was 26. I was not emotionally ready to have heart surgery. I wasn’t ready to be talking about living wills and death. Unfortunately, I had to do all those things and more.
So I was lying there, wide awake and knowing sleep was never going to come. Soon it was 9pm and I was still awake. I had a 5am surgery that they wanted me to be well rested for. And that was just not going to happen.
Finally, I pressed the call button and the night nurse came in. I explained to her about my insomnia. And I told her that I didn’t know what to do. How was I ever going to sleep?
She checked my chart and found that I was allowed to take an Ambien.
Now, I’m sure many of you have heard the stories about Ambien. That it gives you crazy dreams. That it makes you sleep walk, sleep talk, sleep eat. I wasn’t too worried. I already do all those things (except sleep eating, I hope).
I had also heard (from a source that will be unnamed but you know who you are) that trying to stay awake while on Ambien can make you hallucinate. And all of that sounded pretty funny to me. Especially in the hospital, strapped to an IV, with a dangerously elevated heart rate.
The nurse came in and broke the Ambien in half and gave me one half. It reminded me of when I was a kid and my mother would make my sister and I share a piece of gum.
So I spoke up, “Excuse me. I am a grown fucking woman. I think I can handle an entire pill.”
The nurse laughed and said, “Well, we’ll just put it on the counter here and if you still need it later you can get it.”
So I said, “Listen, you haven’t let me up in weeks. Plus, I have this IV. How about you just let me hold it. I won’t take it unless I need it.”
The nurse studied me for a second and then relented. “Okay, here you go. If you aren’t asleep in ten minutes go ahead and take it.”
And I honestly laughed in her face at the idea that I could be asleep in 10 minutes. I have never fallen asleep in 10 minutes in my entire life.
The next morning I woke up with half an Ambien clenched in my fist. I hadn’t even stayed awake long enough to set it on the tray table.
The night nurse came in and I smiled at her, embarrassed.
“How’s my grown woman this morning?” She asked. Then she laughingly told me she had tried to come in the night before to get the pill out of my hand but I wouldn’t let it go.
I started cracking up and asked her if I could keep the other half to take home. Which she did allow.
She was the best nurse I had the entire time I was there. I know I talk a lot of trash about some of those nurses. But she was lovely, caring, and funny.
Though I only got to see her a few nights, she made my recovery better every time I got to interact with her. I knitted her a beautiful white seed stitch scarf and brought it to her once I was released. As a thank you. And she cried when she saw it.