Sleepwalking across the Border

I arrived home at 1:30 this morning from a business trip in Vancouver, Canada. I’ve been doing some concert work lately which has more than slightly softened the blow to our dwindling savings account. Gratitude abounds!

The shows went well, but the time was almost uncomfortably quiet. I find that on these few nights away from the kids, my body does not quite understand the rare beauty of uninterrupted sleep, and insists on tap, tap, tapping on my temple every two hours just to check in and give an obligatory hello.  So, occasionally my solution to this pesky visitor is to put a prescribed “Do Not Disturb” sign across my mind’s door in the form of a tiny pink pill they call Ambien.  As my pumped breast milk is sadly discarded on these trips, I worry not about poisoning my liquid gold and seize the opportunity to knock myself out.

At the indulgent hour of 9 am, I awoke yesterday feeling refreshed and all aglow with excitement about returning home to embrace my hubby and little cherubs.  I hopped out of bed and bounced into the bathroom to prep for the long journey back to the US. Being routine oriented (if not borderline obsessive compulsive), I follow the same ritualistic steps each morning, beginning with a daily dose of a calcium supplement.

I popped the vitamin in my mouth and as I reached across the sink for my hairbrush, my calcium bottle caught my eye. Wait..didn’t I just take……(Insert audible gasp)

(Bloggers note – the two pills look nothing alike, but let’s all attempt to look past the utter stupidity of this mishap and move on)

I reached inside my mouth as if my pointer finger and thumb were those of Elastigirl and instantly realized the pill was beyond my reach.

“Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod”, I droned as I paced around the bathroom. It is strongly advised that one abstain from taking this medication unless there is a span of at least 8 hours with which to lie down and conk out.

Ok.  My flight was 6 hours in duration, but didn’t depart for another 5, and I needed to pack, call a car, check out of the hotel, check in at the airport and get through US customs.

“This is a disaster.”

I don’t have much experience with the drug outside of these little jaunts and a short span of time from my pre-pregnancy and breast-feeding years, but I do recall hearing my husband recount entire conversations I had while under its influence, of which I had absolutely no recollection.

Being someone who is unable to regurgitate even when struck with the nastiest influenza virus, please understand the horror of the following event.

I became intimately acquainted with the contours of my epiglottis and discovered just how difficult it is to navigate around it with a tooth-brush. Although I managed to spit up slices of  my throat, pop blood vessels in my eyes and possibly ruin my chances of ever again getting paid to sing, the 10 milligrams of sedation wickedly slid undisturbed down my esophagus.

My only option was to pull a Guy Pearce in “Memento” and complete as many important tasks as possible in the next 30 minutes before my memory became null and void.  I packed in a fury, called for a car, called my husband, my mother, and the poison control number on the bottle.  The last step was possibly a touch dramatic, but seeing as I can’t remember what he said, possibly not.  My mother suggested I write a note, and place it on my person. I got off the phone and wondered what this note would say.

“I’ve just taken sedatives.  If found, Please get me across the border”

I decided to scrap my Mother’s suggestion, however well-intentioned, and rush off to the nearest Starbucks instead. I ordered a triple grande (upping the ante from my usual double tall) latte and downed the beverage on the way back to the hotel as my eyes grew heavy.

I took a quick snooze in the car on the way to the airport and once at the curb, gave myself a mental jolt and tried my best to focus on the next part of this challenge.

I made it through the check-in line and through US Customs without problems, although I believe I talked a bit too much to the officer about why I couldn’t remember the name of the theatre at which I performed.

“I do these a lot, and the theatres all blend together..blah,blah,blah…have you seen Wicked?”

Emily, stop talking. He doesn’t care, and you were in the show four years ago. That card is expired. Thankfully your passport is not and that’s really all he needs.

He granted my entry, probably to shut me up, and I reached my gate with a sigh of relief, only to find that my flight was delayed an hour and a half.  I wandered off in search of a meal and souvenirs for the kids.

The plane landed at 1 am in Newark, New Jersey.

What happened in between?

Interesting question.

When greeted by my relieved husband, I expressed my surprise at how well the day actually went.  Aside from the double vision, I really handled it quite well.   I checked in on both kids and fell into bed.

But, as I sit here at my keyboard, attempting to give an accurate account of the day, it’s puzzling that I can’t remember where I ate that airport meal and what exactly I had.   The more I grasp for pieces of those few hours, it seems as though I am missing a considerable amount of time.

I do, however recall declining the complimentary alcoholic beverage offered by the airline as an apology for the delay.

Thank God for small favors.


18 responses to “Sleepwalking across the Border

  1. My friend accidentally took an Ambien the morning of her wedding, thinking it was her anti-depressant!!! Needless to say, she was verrrry relaxed all day! Yipes!

  2. I’ve always said that kids suck the brains right out of our heads! Twice, in my rush to get children out the door to school, I’ve taken Josh’s ritalin! I was a great teacher that day, or at least focused! So glad you’re home, Em! Love ya!

  3. Now that is tooo, funny, Emily! God love ya for sharing these stories…it’s so nice to have good company in this crazy life. :0)


  4. As long as you haven’t seen any videos of yourself during those few missing hours appear on YouTube, you’re probably safe. Glad you made it back safely!

  5. LOL!!! I am so praying that you somehow end up on You Tube. Just drugged in line to buy a magazine or something…

  6. Oh my goodness! Are you making this stuff up? So funny, thanks so much for sharing!! Your great Em, glad you are homesafewithyourfam 🙂

  7. Too funny… glad you made it home okay! I’ve never taken any kind of a sleep aid… in the nighttime or the daytime although there’s been times when I could have used it. Sounds like they are pretty powerful drugs!!

    • Yes. They are, indeed. I find the whole thing a touch terrifying. I found an article as I was looking for a picture for the blog that claims that those who take sleep aids (however infrequent) are up to 5 times more likely to die compared to those who do not! I may not have understood it correctly, but the gist was enough to opt for choppy sleep in the future.

  8. That was positively delicious.

  9. Emily, I need to change my pants… scary as this had to be, I couldn’t help but laugh boisterously out loud at the way it was recanted. Right when I got to the part where you were gagging yourself with a toothbrush I was in the midst of ordering Thai food. Great time for ordering food right? I still ordered. This is one of my favorite blogs yet. Not finding comfort in your pain, but comfort in the fact that you can give it a comic spin. Keep up the good writing. I love this.

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