Writer’s Note: I committed this epic cautionary tale several years ago, before I started this blog. But it remains my personal reminder of why I must always, ALWAYS think and plan before I walk out of my door and hit the road. I repost it in the hopes that you’ll learn from my mistakes and not end up wandering the streets of a foreign city in a foggy half-delirium. ‘Cause it’s not safe to do that.
In my own defense, I was pretty distracted before this trip–my marriage was in the process of imploding, I’d just been informed that I was about to be laid off, and I was about to go into my second surgery. Yeah, that year just sucked.
think what I like best about Toronto is the fact that no one attacked me while I was walking its streets in a bleary haze of leftward* SNRI withdrawal.
Well, that and the food. The food was awfully good in TO. And the number of live theaters, and the recycling bins in all the cute little city parks, and the lake, and… Actually, I loved Toronto even after I got my medication disaster straightened out.
So what happened?
A series of blunders that added one upon the other to create a situation in which I missed 3 doses of Cymbalta (an SNRI) in a row.
Blunder #1: Booking a red-eye flight.
I’d never recommend this special little corner of travel hell to any of my readers, so it’s a mystery as to why I inflicted it upon myself. (Actually it’s not. It was a budget-based decision, and a bad one. Not to self: Pay more and fly during the day. Always.)
Blunder #2: Not adjusting my med schedule before I left.
A couple of days before I left, I should have shifted my med times by about two hours so that I could take my pills before I left home for the airport. This would have been an easy thing to do. Now I start shifting my pill-taking times before I take a trip through a wide band of time zones.
Blunder #3: Not just taking the stupid pill before I left the house.
SNRIs aren’t all that time sensitive. I could have just taken my Cymbalta before I left for the airport.
Blunder #4: Not planning to take my non-narcotic meds on the plane or in the airport.
I always put a bunch of meds in my purse anyhow–it would have been easy to think “Gee, I need to take my Cymbalta twice a day. I could put some in my purse and take it at the end of the flight in the morning.” But I didn’t. So the Cymbalta wasn’t anywhere I’d see it (triggering a memory that I needed to take it) while I was in transit.
Blunder #5: Flat-out forgetting to take my meds when I got to the hotel.
I was exhausted, in pain, and (oh the irony) starting to withdraw from the Cymbalta. I got to the hotel and promptly collapsed into bed, and the thought of taking meds never even crossed what was left of my mind.
I am a professional. Do not try this at home. Or on the road. Ever. By blundering like this, I put myself at real and serious risk of harm. In addition to the dizziness, confusion, headache, and lethargy I put myself through, I could have had a seizure. Seizures can cause brain damage. Brain damage probably won’t improve my pain.
I seem to have learned my lesson–I’m much, much more careful about planning my medication schedule when I travel now, and I’ve had no repeats of Total Medication Fail. Hooray for learning without horrible personal consequences!