Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In Your Dreams!

I have a friend who is rather tenured in the realm of senior citizenry.

She’s also doing quite well.

Her mind is sharp as a tack (and much sharper than mine, most of the time). Her body? Not so much.

Among other things, she suffers from arthritis in her right arm, and because she is right-handed, the pain is more than inconvenient.

It also sometimes keeps her up at night.

So, a few weeks ago, she consulted her doctor. And in response to her complaint, he suggested she “up” the dosage on the pain-killer he had prescribed a few weeks earlier.

You should know that my friend is not a fan of pharmaceuticals, and so her doctor’s suggestion that she essentially triple the dosage of a pain-killer didn’t settle well with her. But he assured her that it was still a very small amount of the drug, and so, she agreed to the plan.

… I phoned her the next day to see how she was feeling.

“I slept well,” she reported, not sounding particularly relieved, “but in my dreams, I was punching everything in sight, and when I wasn’t punching, I was lifting. And when I wasn’t lifting, I was furiously writing. When I got out of bed this morning, my arm muscles were so sore from all the activity that I could barely lift my first cup of coffee.”

When I laughed, my friend scolded me.

“It’s not funny!” she said. “You have no idea how sore I was!”

“I’m sorry,” I replied, smiling over the phone. “I really am. But it’s just so ironic. You take a drug to make the arm pain go away, and your arms are so not in pain while you’re sleeping that they’re just busy all night.”

My friend accepted my apology, and – beyond that – she appreciated my observation.

… And I’ve been thinking about it ever since: pharmaceutical side effects that are dream-centric.

Imagine the possibilities:

I go to the doctor.

“Doctor,” I say, “I can’t sleep. I spend so much time thinking about how this country’s stupid political parties are wasting their time with ridiculous, counter-productive in-fighting.”

“Here,” he says, scribbling on a pad. “This will help.”

That night, I dream that I meet Sarah Palin, and we hit if off like nobody’s business. We go off into the wild and shoot a bunch of wolves. We laugh because we have no need for the wolves. We pledge to be BFFs forever (disregarding the redundancy therein) and from that point forward, we text each other every day.

… I go to the doctor.

“Doctor,” I say, “I can’t sleep. I spend so much time worrying about how I am going to pay all my bills.”

“Here,” he says, scribbling on a pad. “This will help.”

That night, I dream that I get a letter in the mail. It’s a pen pal request from a man in prison. Bernie Madoff has learned of my schemes, and I am his new hero. I smile devilishly and pass the letter along to one of my staff members – a man dressed in a scaled costume and looking a lot like Dick Cheney. Then, I head for the hot tub, where I bathe with rich white men, all in handcuffs and fully dressed.

… I go to the doctor.

“Doctor,” I say, “I can’t sleep. I spend so much time worrying about the situation in the Middle East and North Africa.”

“Here,” he says, scribbling on a pad. “This will help.”

That night, I dream of sitting at a grand table with the leaders of the “free” world. There’s a hosted oil bar, and it is free-flowing. We’re all drunk. As the waiters and busboys saunter by our regally upholstered chairs, we slip them million-dollar bills. Then we refill our glasses from the oil trough and laugh some more. Political power is such a gas!

… I go to the doctor.

“Doctor,” I say, “I can’t sleep. I keep thinking about what happened in Japan. I feel so bad for the people there.”

“Here,” he says, scribbling on a pad. “This will help.”

That night, I dream I am at an amusement park, where I strap myself into a shiny round seat. The first part of the ride entails a tremendous amount of random shaking. Thereafter, it morphs into a log-flume. I am doused with water. Lots and lots of water. I emerge wobbly and laughing – shook and wet, but okay.

But I’m not okay. There’s a glow emanating from me. And it’s not a good glow. My system’s been compromised by something unnatural.

… I go to the doctor.

“Nothing’s working,” I say. “These prescriptions are all wrong.”

He shrugs.

I walk outside the clinic, and because this is California, I notice a little shop.

Medical marijuana, with promises of no more bad dreams.

… Rich white men did not invent marijuana. Few of them therefore will ever embrace its values.

Besides, it’s a plant that they don’t need to manipulate in their labs.

From a profiteering perspective, they have no use for it. And so they certainly are not going to explore its capacity to heal.

Instead, they’ll just keep inventing drugs that give people messed-up dreams and a boat-load of side effects.

And they’ll make money from it.

…Need an aspirin?


Colleen said...

Good stuff! Doctor, I'm sleep deprived. Can you help me dream that I'm getting more sleep?

Jules said...

LOL, love the insight here. What a perspective and if those white men ever realize they CAN make a profit off medical marijuana no one will be able to afford it.

Here's to hoping they leave that one for us :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Martha Gates-Mawson said...

Pharmaceuticals are weird. Half the time the side-effects are the same as the complaint for which you are taking the medicine in the first place. Take this antidepressant - possible side effects: depression and suicidal thoughts. Hmmm, not much of an antidepressant then. Hadn't thought about cannabis for pain. I wonder how well marijuana would help my poor arthritic knees. (Rushing off to find someone who can help me find some!)

Sioux said...

Katie--A great post. I think I'm going to see my doctor about getting a prescription for dealing with my students' parents. Then I'll go to sleep and dream about...

Lazarus said...

Very good points Katie!

WhisperingWriter said...

Fantastic post.

Linda Medrano said...

In California, they tried to legalize weed. No go. Big money was behind the "NO" campaign. Who's big money? The pot growers in the Emerald Triangle don't want to lose their tax free incomes. Oy vey! America is crazy!

Green Monkey said...

Ha! they make billions off tobacco, they can make trillions of weed. but it will put a major dent in the drug company's and we can't have that! I typically wake up at 3:00 am and then struggle to get back to sleep. I refuse to take sleeping pills (its how my son died). I should try weed. That was a great post Katie - I was groggy when I started reading it and now... I'm wide awake.

Elenka said...

Hi there! Thanks for visiting my blog...interesting story. But listen to this...I have a friend who has arthritis in her hands. Another friend who is afflicted all over was told to eat 1/4 C of dried cherries everyday and the arthritis will feel better. So she tried it. In 2 weeks she had no pain. I told my sister about this....she tried it...(and she's allergic to everything) no more pain in her neck. I know of 4 people that tried this and it works. What have you got to lose? Tell your friend to try it and let me know.
Worth a try, doncha think?

Martha Gates-Mawson said...

Oh, Elenka! Thank you - I shall try that for my poor knees!

The Empress said...

My 85 yr old grandmother from South America would espouse the same thing.


But she'd say, "I just don't know why America doesn't let people chew a coca leaf when they're tired."

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

When I was in college I waitressed at a Pizza Hut. I used to go home and dream about waiting tables all night. I remember waking up exhausted. It was like pulling a double!

Lisa said...

Well, you just answered the question my daughter asked me a couple of days ago about why marijuana is illegal. Very little profit margin for those who have made money through synthetics.

Deb Shucka said...

Wow! I didn't see that coming at all. I love this piece, and as always sit in the choir as you preach. All of that from a neighbor's dreams. I'm so impressed.

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

Nope, but that special California medicine sounds promising!

Anonymous said...

I think pot should be legalized but it's not going to happen.

Great post!

Pearls said...

Great post, again.

Yes, many years ago, it was discovered that there is less profit in preventative care and natural medicine. In this capitalistic society, I doubt we will ever see a shift away from man-made pharmaceuticals.

As far as Mary Jane goes, I hear she's a great friend. :)

Anonymous said...

Gosh, that's such an insightful post Katie. I love the way it pans out. Only had one experience of taking something to make me sleep and that was not voluntary. I'd just had my first daughter and the old fashioned matron gave me a pill.I dreamt I was being woken up to feed baby but was refusing to budge and was hitting and screaming at the nurses trying to wake me!No one mentioned it when I did wake up )so I assume it didn't happen but I felt a bit silly...nor did I feel rested.My sisters suffer with arthritus so will pass on Elenka's advice! Thanks :-)

Jayne Martin said...

That was freakin' genius, my friend.

Unfortunately, all weed does for me is make me hungry for whole cakes and paranoid.

I think dreaming about being BFFs with Sarah Palin would have me running for the booze -- enough to knock me out again.

Loved this.

And I'm not going to stop nagging you about getting Disqus.

Andrea said...

This is funny, dark, sad and true. I wonder if you have yet read "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks." It's the most fascinating account of science/medicine meeting humanity that I've ever encountered.

Jayne Martin said...

Now see, if you had Disqus then I could tell Andrea that I read that book and agreed that it was fascinating. ;)

cj Schlottman said...


I love this! Just think of the possibilities - a drug that makes you dream you're having multiple Os. I could do with some of that. A drug that makes you dream you are sleeping like a baby. That I could also use. This is great.

PS: I recently read "The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks," and Andrea is spot on. It was so fascinating, I've put it on my list of books to reread

Namaste, my friend..........cj

Cancerella said...

Wow. My mind is officially blown. Just recently I had a night like the one you described, where I was so physical in my dreams that I woke up exhausted.

This is a fantastic piece. And just the thing to read before heading off for my annual visit to my oncologist!

Thanks for sharing your brain.