Decongestant Dreams

>> Thursday, February 25, 2010

A few days before the second "record breaking snow fall" of this winter season, Darling Husband most generously brought home a cold from the office. Of course, this sort of sharing is absolutely inevitable on Planet Earth. I can't blame him for that. I mean, Toddler with a cold during a major snow event is not the most pleasant way to spend a snowstorm, but I can think of a lot worse. (For starters, there was the hurricane where our basement flooded, or the day Toddler gave himself a black eye by falling ... somewhere ... just as major snow began to fall from the sky.)

Well, this snot infestation was one of the more tenacious ones I've met, forcing me to the drugstore for help. I stood in line at the pharmacy, presented the pharmacist with two forms of government-issued identification and my dental records, signed a registry identifying me as a known decongenstant user, and bought the good stuff. You know ... Mucinex. None of that artificial, non-functioning placebo drugs they put on the mainstream shelves these days. I wanted the stuff that used to be in Sudafed and available in bulk from Costco. I wanted the stuff they used to give me as a kid, before they figured out that it wasn't a good idea to give that stuff to children under 4. And I want to give it to Toddler so he'll quit saying, "MY NOSE IS STUCK!" But alas, I won't. I can't bring myself to disobey the directions that say, "Do not give to a child under the age of 4."

I like to refer to a good decongestant as one that "rings every ounce of water from all the tissues of a body and deposits it directly into the bladder in 15 minute intervals." An antihistamine, on the other hand, sucks in all water to the marrow of the bones, leaving the nostrils, mouth, and skin feeling parched. Match this with salt and even I might be able to sit through a movie with a large size soda.

Of course, if after a couple of days of antihistamines to end the nasal faucet, one takes a good decongestant ... prepare to be up all night peeing out all that water from the marrow of your bones.

I don't know about you, but I am one of those people that doesn't sleep well on decongestants. I don't fall as deeply asleep as usual, and instead I spend most of the night in a semi-conscious state, not quite awake, but aware enough that time is passing and I'm having oddly repetitive dreams about whatever I read or did last before retiring to bed. Most recently it was reviewing a novel about two Amish women... yes that was an odd one to dream about all night. I wouldn't even have tried to read anything, as rotten as I felt, except that Toddler and I had just finished singing, "The Wheels on the Bus," and I certainly didn't want to dream about THAT all night long.

Of course, the cats wanted to be absolutely on top of me, because I was sick, and that is what cats do. Darling Husband assured me that every time they tried to sit on my chest, he would remove them (gently) so I would not feel even more as if I were suffocating. While this was a nice gesture (and not likely to happen given the way he sleeps), it was not necessary. Every twitch of their whiskers, and I was awake. Then, because I woke up, I became aware of the decongestant effect and promptly had to go to the bathroom. During one of these nights, I actually woke up every 15 minutes.

You might think that I would be super tired the next day, but I ask you, what is super tired when you have a Toddler? Plus, with the right combination of cold medicine during the day, I am either not aware of any fatigue, I'm too tired to feel fatigued, or I simply don't care.

To be candid, when I get up more than ... say ... 10 or 15 times a night, I generally fall asleep somewhere around 5:30 AM and hear nothing else until someone shines a light in my face. I don't hear any alarm clocks and no Toddlers screaming "GOOD MORNING!" This experience in and of itself is enough to keep me smiling for hours. Of course, when Toddler finds the flashlight or turns on the lightswitch ... well.

Finally, the last and best side effect of spending an entire night up with decongestant bladder is the scale the next morning. Whew, who knew water could weigh so much? That kind of reading will brighten any outlook for sure!

Yes, I don't often go the extra step for drug-induced decongestant non-sleep, but sometimes it is worth it.


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