Things that go gulp in the night . . .

Marshall Chapman, photo by Anthony Scarlati

Marshall Chapman, photo by Anthony Scarlati

Last night, I couldn’t sleep. I was tossing and turning and just generally having a hard time calming my mind. So I decided to take a Sominex, the Old Faithful over-the-counter sleeping pill. It was about two in the morning as I stumbled toward the bathroom with the bottle of water from my nightstand.

After shaking a Sominex into my hand, I did what I normally do whenever I find myself in the bathroom in the middle of the night—I sat down on the toilet seat. After setting the bottle of water on a nearby vanity, I placed the Sominex on my tongue, then picked the bottle of water back up, placed it to my mouth, and turned it up.

After guzzling six to eight ounces, I suddenly realized something wasn’t right. “Something ain’t right!” said a part of my brain. “Something ain’t right!! Spit that water out RIGHT NOW ’cause SOMETHING AIN’T RIGHT!!” But then another part of my brain was saying, “DON’T SPIT THAT WATER OUT, ‘CAUSE IF YOU DO, YOU’LL SPIT OUT THAT SOMINEX. THEN YOU’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO GO BACK TO SLEEP!”

Right about then I came to a stark realization: The bottle in my hand was not the clear plastic bottle from my nightstand. The bottle in my hand was BROWN.

My brain went on red alert. OH, MY GOD!! I JUST DRANK A GALLON OF HYDROGEN PEROXIDE!!! (My brain tends to drift into hyperbole whenever it finds itself in a crisis.)

At this point, things get a little fuzzy, probably because I was in a mild state of shock. I remember yelling something out to my husband who was sleeping soundly in our bed in the adjacent room. I remember groping for my glasses so I could read the small print on the bottle of hydrogen peroxide. One line in particular got my attention: IF SWALLOWED, SEEK PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE OR CONTACT A POISON CONTROL CENTER IMMEDIATELY. Bear in mind, my husband is a physician, which means I don’t have to go far to “seek professional assistance.”

Chris suggested that I drink a lot of water. But I wasn’t satisfied. The words CALL THE POISON CONTROL CENTER IMMEDIATELY kept ringing in my head.

So Chris indulged me and called the poison control center. A nice woman answered the phone.

“Here . . . you want to talk to her?” he asked.

“No!” I said emphatically. “I can’t talk to anybody right now. I’m poisoned!”

So Chris spoke with her calmly for about five minutes. Basically, she advised I drink a lot of water.

Sensing my disappointment, Chris further indulged me by taking my blood pressure. He knows how much I love the way that rubber thingy feels on my arm as it’s being pumped full of air. Like a little hug.

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