Picture a perfectly normal evening, supper, a bit of telly, a book. No alcohol. Bed at a normal hour, between 11 and 12, lights out and snuggle in. By 1.30 am I knew I wasn’t going to get to sleep without help so I got up and found a couple of sleeping pills. “Best go for a pee”, I thought then, "otherwise I might have to get up again before long".
That was my last conscious thought.
Next morning I woke up normally, got up, went downstairs, and proceeded with what I do regularly every morning before going back upstairs to make my bed.
“That’s funny,” I thought, "crumbs in the bed?”
a) I don’t eat in bed, and
b) when would I have eaten what I don’t eat in bed?
My eye caught the bedside table, where I saw a tin of stale crackers and an empty sherry glass. Eh? How did they get there?
There have been occasions when I’d go downstairs during a sleepless night and have exactly that, some crackers and a small glass of sherry. But downstairs in the warm kitchen, not upstairs in bed.
NOT upstairs in bed. So when did they get there? And how?
Answer came there none, no matter how hard I tried to recall the events of the previous night. Nothing, an absolute blank. Not even a partial recollection. A complete blackout.
For the next few days I puzzled and puzzled, even going so far as thinking of a TIA (mildish transient stroke) or some such. I didn’t seem to have any further symptoms apart from being just a touch worried. Lately I have been having lots of headaches, a bit of pain here and there, more and longer lasting bouts of depression than I like. But nothing I am not used to.
I decided to consult my GP, by phone. Initially, all consultations are currently by phone. My GP heard me out, asked a few additional questions and came up with an instant diagnosis.
"It’s the sleeping pills”, he said. “ you took two when you normally take only one. Besides, these particular ones (Zopiclone), nasty things they are. I personally don’t like to prescribe them”. He hadn’t, it was another practice doctor. “Don’t worry,” he added, “there is no cause for alarm, I don’t even need to see you. Had I taken two sleeping pills I might have lost a few hours myself.”
I am glad he was so certain, I had indeed been worried for several days, feeling uneasy. But doesn’t that beg all sorts of questions?
Why prescribe dangerous medication? I might have fallen down the stairs during my nightly wanderings. An episode like that is frightening, how can he be so certain that nothing more untoward had happened? How do I find out that he is right, take another two pills some other night and see (or rather not see) what happens?