Scary Medicine

I caught a cold. I usually avoid medication but I have two big meetings and needed to be able to speak. I rushed to a gas station and grabbed a packet of cold medicine of some sort. The cashier surprised me by asking for my ID because, apparently, they aren’t allowed to sell this cold remedy to underage people.

I took the medicine, and it turned out to be some kind of speed. I had to take off my Fitbit because it was vibrating like crazy, telling me I have an abnormal heart rate. It did help my throat but in a way similar to that Oxycodone I took once and freaked myself out completely. I locked myself in the office because I was going a mile a second and I didn’t want people to see me in that state.

Even cold remedies are freaky these days.

The budget meeting (before I took the speed) went great, though. Not only did I somehow manage to avoid budget cuts completely, I got additional funding for a new graduate assistant. Imagine what I would have been able to accomplish if I were on speed during the meeting.


7 thoughts on “Scary Medicine

  1. The “cold medicine” you bought may contain pseudoephedrine, which has various state-mandated restrictions on its sale, and sometimes causes side effects like the ones you describe.


    1. This was exactly what I assumed – it had to include pseudoephedrine if they’re requiring an ID. I was a little surprised a gas station could sell it though. I’m in a neighboring state and haven’t been able to find it anywhere than a pharmacy since they passed the ridiculous law (which was supposedly about tracking people who use it to make meth), and the pharmacies here keep it locked up with the actual prescription drugs.


  2. Those all-in-one medications are troublesome anyway, because you can’t control the dosages. The buffet approach works much better for me. I almost never take pseudephedrine, because it makes my heart pound. If I’m really so congested that I resort to it, I cut one pill in half, for a quarter the adult dose. Similarly, I take 1/2 or 1/4 the adult dose of whatever antihistamine is in the cold medicine (usually chlorpheniramine or diphenhydramine hydrochloride–active ingredient in Benedryl). That’s what dries up the runny nose, but too much and the result is cotton mouth and dry eyes. Instead of the decongestant, I recommend guaifenesin, a mucus thinner: similar effect minus the pounding heart (it is often included in cough medicines as an expectorant, but you can get it separately in pill form). OTOH I usually do want the full dose of painkiller. Disclaimer: I am not a doctor of medicine.


    1. I actually swallowed two of these pills at once. They came together in a little packet. I don’t know what possessed me to do it. It was very dumb. I’m not usually a pill-taking person.


    1. Cetirizine is evil as far as I am concerned. Can cause sleep terrors and withdrawal effects in form of itchy skin. Have seen both with family members.

      I have converged on a combination of zinc and quercetin at first sign of respiratory infection. Does wonders for me and helps me to avoid dealing with sinusitis, which is what most respiratory problems end up turning into in my case.


      1. Oh, no! We’ve never had any ill effects from it. Sorry that’s not the case for you. I react to most decongestants the same way Clarissa describes here. Not fun! Had a cold the day before my wedding, took a Claritin (for the first time), and then didn’t sleep a wink all night, still had a racing heart 8am the next day… and the wedding and reception are still kind of a blur. I’m glad people took pictures, because I was a zombie!

        Liked by 1 person

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