Ambien Sleep

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.

So innocuous.

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.

I think I got off easy, honestly.

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.

I was pretty disoriented. I was like, what year is it?

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.

Like this but white as the Magical Ice Cream Suit.


15 thoughts on “Ambien Sleep

  1. 1- I have had the same experience thinking this is not going to make me fall asleep …I know it. And the next thing I know I am waking up. Good stuff but I only take it once in a blu moon. I don’t want to get immune to it. And for the record I never slept walked with it as far as I know.
    2- I also can never sleep before surgery. I worry myself all night long that if I fall asleep during surgery I won’t wake up so I do all kinds of nonsense the night before like writing down list of things like all my passwords, etc. My auntie always tells me that it is silly but that’s me…taking things to the nth degree.
    3- That was funny her not being able to pry your pill out of your hand LOL.
    4- that was a beautiful scarf!! I am sure she felt very special because most people don’t even think about their nurses when they leave the hospital.

      • LOL I was going to say that also but i was not sure if it was appropriate. My auntie says I am a drama queen for all I did but whatever, they won’t be scrambling trying to figure out how to get in my email and accounts and will know what kind of arrangements I want. My sister is worse than me though…she actually wrote out her obituary and the news paper notice, picked her music and her pall bearers, and wrote out who will get what and what happens to anything she did not specify. You can’t help it in that situation. Nothing is promised…including waking up from anesthesia. I am glad you are okay and I am okay and my sis is okay too. LOL

      • I want my organs donated and my body donated to science and no service or anything. No gravestone. Nothing. So, I guess I did the same as your sister in my own way. And I am also glad everyone is okay.

  2. Great story!
    I can’t take it. I slept through the alarm, phone, babies cryin, and finally my eldest daughter shook me awake — she thought I was dead. But I know a lot of people who swear by it, and I’m glad they have it. I just take my herbal tea….*sigh*

      • Benadryl has no sleepy effect on me, which is nice, because allergies, but my doctor said he wouldn’t recommend the melatonin, because hormones. It’s okay, really, most nights I sleep well and when I don’t, I can often catch a nap 🙂
        My real struggle was when I had two babies. By the time nights my husband was deployed came around, there was Ativan 🙂

  3. i’ve had bouts with insomnia, man it sucks!
    peaceful sleep is EVERYTHING to me. when my sleep is messed up i am really messed up.

    i’ve never taken ambien but i know people that do. i had no idea it was THAT strong. shit.

    how sweet on the scarf!

  4. Come on where are the crazy dreams? I went through a valium/red wine phase (I know how bad that is) after my mastectomy/sister dying month of hell. Pills are weird and it is crazy to fall asleep without taking an active role in it. Nice scarf by the way.

  5. Dude, my mom and dad have done some fucked up stuff on ambien. Now mom has to call me ahead of time before she takes one so I know if she gets on the crazy train not to be alarmed….

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