Adderall Survival Story

I lost 4 days to Adderall. I had a total out of body experience, feeling like I was watching myself go through the day, but I was not in control of what happened to me. My experience with Adderall is one that I feel lucky to be able to report in the aftermath.

I had been prescribed Adderall earlier in the week to help with my drifting alertness and attention. Anyone who knows me knows how big of a fan of Star Wars. It had me drifting away the whole week before the Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiere, though there were hopes that I was just experiencing initial side effects and would soon be over them. Boy, was I mistaken.

I only know most of what happened during the brief time I was in line for the movie and the few days after because of what my family has told me. According to them, I was dazed, highly confused, and displayed no short-term memory. They told me I ran into trouble with my diabetes because I was unable to keep track of my blood sugar and food intake, and I even told my family to inject me with 1,000 units of insulin (which they thankfully knew was incorrect). An account by my brother Jamie follows this post.

Outside of the first few hours, I have no memory at all of anything I did those 4 days. I cannot tell you what I ate, drank, watched, or did in general. I cannot even say for sure if I took my medications and did my insulin like I should have. I am endlessly thankful I live in the same house as my Mother, stepfather, and brother. Who knows what might have occurred if I was living alone or away at college or something like that. I can get a good idea of what I did and went on from my brother’s Facebook post about those days and my reaction to Adderall.

I do know that I consistently post a photo on Instagram daily since I became a regular user, but my feed shows an unheard of 4-day gap in posts. So yes, I literally lost 4 days. I post on there or any of the other social networks I belong to daily, and I did not post those 4 days I had the reaction to Adderall. (Correction: Jamie informed me that I accidentally posted old passwords I intended to text to my mom. I couldn’t even remember my current passwords. They were quickly erased.)

Frankly, the more I think about those days and the hole in my memory is very frightening. Literally all I can remember is getting ready for The Last Jedi, being at the theater, the line, using the ticket machine to buy tickets I had already ordered online a month before, and the resulting trip to the ER. That’s is the all I remember from 96 hours, and that is roughly an hour or so. Yeah, that is quite terrifying when I put it like that. People have all kinds of reactions to amphetamines, and I guess I was just another. I believe that letting people know about the dangers is required after surviving my reaction. If I were not fortunate enough to live with other members of my family, I might have wound up like the TV reporter who disappeared for two days and was found in a daze because of her medication. ( I might have wound up dead. Everyone beware the reactions to the drugs you take. Yes, even things your doctor prescribed you.

What follows are the posts my brother, Jamie, made on Facebook about my missing hours, and my concluding post after I regained my full faculties.

Update (12/15/17): Adam is home from the hospital. He is currently sleeping, but is still not back to himself. The cause of his situation continues to be a mystery, and he is scheduled to see his neurologist on Monday. They did multiple tests and scans, and it doesn’t seem to be another MS relapse. I think they’ve ruled out strokes and seizures for the moment, and I don’t think a reaction form a medication is out of play, but I guess the neurologist will make a more definitive call. On a slightly hopeful note, he just poked his head out of his room for a second and he seemed to be a little more like himself. Maybe it’s a flash, but hopefully it’s a sign of his reemergence…

Update 2 (12/17/17): Things aren’t back to normal yet, but Adam has greatly improved. This morning we have had the first real conversations with him since about Wednesday. He’s still exhausted and confused, but it’s the second day of strong improvement in a row.

Yesterday, he could answer more complex questions slightly better, but appeared to have no short-term memory. We had a scare with his diabetes when we realized this lack of memory had led him to overeat and not use enough insulin. Thankfully, we managed to work it out in time and his blood sugar stabilized. We are now keeping an even closer eye on him.

Today, he answers questions of at least moderate length and complexity, and is expressing his personality on a much stronger level. However, he’s now starting to be able to realize how wrong everything is and I think it’s finally getting a little scary for him. Thankfully, he is scheduled to see his doctors tomorrow, and maybe they can help give us some guidance and insight. If he keeps improving at this rate, he should be well enough soon.

Meanwhile, our dear little Lola keeps a watchful eye on him, worried about her beloved uncle. She refused to leave his side all morning, and always seems to have an eye on him. He is responding to her now, as well, which is a great sign that he is regaining his bearings…

Update 3: (12/19/17): Adam is himself again, and our “drug reaction” hypothesis seems to be true. He has a follow-up with his neurologist on Friday, but things seem to be back on track. Basically, he got a prescription that made him lose four days — not quite like a fugue or UFO visit, but like a really long dream, I believe.

Sunday was encouraging, but ended on a very worrisome note when Adam tried to leave the house on three different occasions. We took every extra car key and hid them. There are Christmas bells on the front door that would have at last alerted Lola, but it was a scary situation and he was distressed as well. After a day where Adam finally seemed to be like himself again, things were possibly worse. Thankfully, things leveled out a bit as he finally settled into sleep.

By Monday morning, Adam was fully emerging from the fog, asking complex questions and giving complex answers. Aside from still being tired, he was — personality wise — 100 percent himself again. At last. The doctors did blood work and confirmed it was most likely related to his medication. Adam went to sleep a bit early to avoid exhaustion problems and, as far as I know, slept just fine.

We awoke today (Tuesday) to continued good results, and are beginning to breathe a sigh of relief. Even Lola, ever vigilant during Adam’s illness, took note and began to let down her guard. She slept much of the day yesterday, exhausted from worry, and became much more playful again.

My parents and I had simultaneously paraphrased the Christmas saying “All I want for Christmas is …” in regard to Adam’s mental health. And now that he has returned to us, we are all now thankful to have an early Christmas gift.

It’s not that I lacked any compassion or respect for those who have to care for loved ones with dementia, Alzheimer’s or other brain/memory traumas, but after this brief descent into that world, I can say I have so much empathy for you now. This amounted to a long weekend of disassociation/confusion, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Surely all of you who already communicate with Adam will hear from him shortly if you have not already. I’m hopeful that this is the final update in this part of the saga, and I couldn’t be more pleased…

Photo my Mom took of me the Monday after the fog cleared at the labs for my doctor.

My best Christmas gift this year was being able to gain some sense of normalcy in my life again. I thank everyone who messaged, called, wrote or in anyway sent words of concern and encouragement for my family and I in the last few weeks. I am overcome with a great feeling of gratitude after reading Jamie’s “Updates” and all the interaction that those caused. Thank you all for caring.

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Adam, Diabetic Cyborg

Adam, Diabetic Cyborg

Muslim, Optimist, Chronic Lyme Disease survivor, History/Poli. Sci. Prof. with no class. COVID Boosted on 8/25, 2/2, 7/15 💍 10/6 & 1/17