Melanie Get’s Alcohol Poisoning!

Signs of alcohol poisoning

Signs of alcohol poisoning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It happened yesterday and my head still feels weird from it.

I thought alcohol poisoning happens when you drink too many shots or have one too many long island iced tea’s, and not something that can happen by drinking beer.  Beer to the seasoned guzzler doesn’t get you sloppy drunk or feeling queazy.  It relaxes you and lifts your heart.  Only amateur’s get sick.  Or so I thought…

Here is my story of how I poisoned myself with alcohol.  It’s not what you think.

After writing my last post, I was beyond exhaustion.  It was late so I tried falling to sleep listening to an audiobook which turned out better than I thought and so it did the opposite by keeping me awake.  I gotten maybe 3 hours of sleep before waking up early the next day to give three 90 minute massages and one 60 minutes massage.  It was tourture but I muscled through it.  I was used to it and calmed myself by saying, “well, at least I’m not hungover.”

But it was hard.  I hadn’t slept well for the entire week and it was finally catching up to me.

After work, I met some friends out to eat.  I hadn’t eaten much during the day because I was busy with clients, so my stomach shrank and I wasn’t able to eat much of my scallop hibachi dinner.  But what I was able to do, was drink too large hot sake’s.  That’s when it started.  The recipe for disaster.

After dinner, I followed two friends back to their house to watch TV and play on my laptop.  While I was there, I went on Facebook out of boredom and noticed that one of my friends picture’s never been posted even though she said she posted them, so I texted her telling her I couldn’t see them.

My inquiry sent her into a fit and I was scolded for asking.  I was well over-due for a scolding anyway.  This made me reach for my beer.  I drank two of them before getting another text by someone inviting me over for a fire-pit.

I was beyond tired, but the adrenaline from my texting beat-down didn’t want the night to be over.  Not just yet.  Not until I was able to relax better.

My two friends retired to their bed while I retired to a fire pit 2 minutes down the road.  I was given a warm welcome before settling in to discuss philosophy, life, death, ghosts, and my blog.  These are the few people who actually know about and read my blog.  Not only do they read it, but they aren’t afraid to talk about it.  Not like everyone else who pretends it doesn’t exist.

They seemed to have an endless supply of beer.  I wasn’t worried it would run out.  I keep a 30 case of bud light in the backseat of my car at all times.  I slipped two beers from my car into the front pockets of my hoodie and drank them in front of the fire.

Once they were gone, my host offered me more.  And so I drank, listened to an old friend from high school strum his guitar, warmed myself in front of the fire and lost count of how many beers I drank.  I know for certain I drank those 2 large sake’s, followed by four of my car beers, then a fifth one and undoubtedly a sixth and seventh.  I arrived at the fire-pit at 11:30pm, but left around 5am.  I had a beer in my hand for my entire stay.

I drank no water, didn’t eat much, but I felt as I normally did from beer – not sick, just relaxed and a little clumsy – not thinking before speaking, but it didn’t matter.  I was in good company.

I drove the two minutes to my house and ate a little of my hibachi dinner.  I drank some water and fell to sleep around 6am, only to wake up at 9 to go to work.  I still had hibachi left over siting on my desk, I ate some of it even though it had been sitting out all night.  I drank a can of Schweppes club soda which always helps a hangover and went to work unshowered and feeling like death.

I had to give one 60 minute massage and one 90 minute.  By the grace of God, my clients were satisfied.  Toward the last half hour of the last massage, I almost told my client that I needed to stop because I wasn’t feeling well, but I knew this wasn’t an option.  I would rather die than end a massage half-way through.  I was never one for giving up.

After it was over, I wanted to lay on my massage table and nap before going home, but a little voice in me told me I had to leave.

My schedule was blocked off for the rest of the day so I can attend a birthday party at a bowling alley.  I was so very thankful it was blocked off.

When I got home, I put on my pajama’s and curled into bed shivering.  I was so cold, so hungry and thirsty, but I didn’t have the strength to walk upstairs to the kitchen.

All I coud do was lay there.

“All I need is sleep.  I’ll be fine once I sleep.”

But I was so cold.  For the first time this year, I crank up my thermostat from zero to 70 and fell back into bed.

My nap wasn’t restful.  It felt like I shouldn’t be napping, I should be doing something else first – but I was so tired.  Sleep was all I was capable of.  When I woke up (I have no idea how long I was out), I was sweating.  I got up, turned down the thermostat and fell back into bed.

I laid there for another minute.

“Something’s not right.”

My breathing became labored.  Like I had to consciously tell myself to breath.  It felt like I was suffocating.

“Be calm Mel, this is just a panic attack.  That’s all it is.  This week has been a roller coaster and it needs to peak for it to come to an end.”

I had two panic attacks before this one.  I knew exactly what they felt like.  It feels like dying, it’s terrifying – all fears manifesting into one ominous terror.  Only this time was different.  It wasn’t only terror I felt, but something was wrong with my brain.

I sat up and consciously breathed in and out.  My heart felt like it didn’t want to pump anymore.

“Oh shit oh shit, it’s more than just a panic attack.  I can control panic attacks.”

I remembered how I overcame depression just the day before, and started surrendering myself to the panic attack.  I handed myself over to it.  No more worry, just let go.  But what was happening to me physically kept me from surrendering.  My body felt like it was shutting down.  I wanted to lay back down, but I knew if I did, I would black out or die.  I couldn’t close my eyes.

My brain wasn’t working, I couldn’t comprehend anything – just like in bikram yoga when I almost fainted.  My first instinct was to lay back down.  Laying down is what stopped me from fainting in bikram yoga, but this time I knew that if I laid down, it would be lights out.

“I need to call an ambulance.  I’m going to have a stroke or a seizure, I’m going to die.”  I felt that if I didn’t act fast, I was indeed going to die.

“Ayahuasca was right, I am a martyr.  I chose to be a martyr and now I’m going to die a martyr.”

Then I remembered ayahuasca telling me that death will only take me if I’m ready.  When I agree to it.  And I’m not agreeing to it, not today anyway.

I thought about kembo, the frog medicine I took to purify my body.  With kembo, I needed to drink water in order to get all the garbage out of me – so I could throw up.

“I need water.”

I unsteadily went to the bathroom sink and filled a pint glass.  “I need to drink all of it right now.”  I did, and filled it again and carried it back to my room and sat down.  And sure enough, a minute later, I felt like I was going to projectile vomit everywhere.  I wasn’t nauseous before drinking the water, but now I was.  I held my hand over my mouth and ran to the toilet.  I threw up all the cool water and remembered from kembo that first came the cool water, and after the cool water came all the junk in me – the real poison that needed to get out.

I had only thrown up the cool water and not the hot poison still sitting at the bottom of my stomach.  After throwing up, I laid on the cold tile of my bathroom floor.  I felt that being cold was the best thing for me.  I shivered as I lay there.  It was the first time I felt it was safe to lay down.

I felt small and feeble.  I listened to my parents talking upstairs.  I think it was around 6 o’clock.

“They’re old and still alive.  Have they ever felt like this?  Like death was imminent?  If they’re still alive, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be.”

I knew I had to drink more water to get out the real poison.  I got up and filled my glass.  Drank it down, filled it again, drank half and was in front of the toilet again.  Only this time, I was right – the real poison came out.  Not as intense as it was with kembo, but it still came out.

I went to my room and laid down.  My brain slowly came back, my terror subsided.

“What the hell just happened to me?”

I lived through quite a bit in my years.  I faced death and terror more times than I can remember, but never like this.  When I felt terror in my dreams, or felt it before ingesting ayahuasca, jumping out of a plane, or walking a long stretch of land in Spain with the baking sun and no water in my pack, I knew I wouldn’t really die, but this time was different.

This time was real.

It’s now the next day.  Thankfully it’s my day off.  Yesterday when I was coming down from the poisoning, I went online and blocked off the rest of my day tomorrow as well.  Now I only have to give one massage in the morning, instead of all day.

My brain feels weak and cloudy.  Like it still needs sleep.  It’s dizzy like I need a doctor to shoot a jet of water into both my ears to clear me out.

Alcohol poisoning isn’t what I expected.  My BAC continued to creep up as I slept and sweated during those few hours after work.  It shuts down the brain and all involuntary muscle contractions – you don’t have to be drunk for this to happen.  And it feels like a panic attack, like being claustrophobic, but at least with claustrophobia, you know why you’re panicking.  With alcohol poisoning, you don’t know the origin of your panic.  And when the brain starts shutting down, terror replaces all thought.  You can’t breathe, your heart pumps erratically.

You’d have to live through it to understand…

That’s the last time it will happen to me.


Filed under journal

8 responses to “Melanie Get’s Alcohol Poisoning!

  1. Wow. Can’t exactly click like for this. Glad you’re ok.

  2. I will like your last words — that it will never happen again. We survive bad things to learn from them. You are lucky you were not drinking anything stronger than beer.

    • I know, if I drank anything other than beer I probably wouldn’t be here today. It’s scary because it sneaks up on people even if they think they’re in control and done it a ton of times before. I didn’t feel completely inebriated either. I felt sober when I went home.

  3. Steph

    It definately could’ve been food poisoning from scallop hibachi out all night….
    Just sayin 🙂

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