Saturday, June 30, 2007

Things that make you go "hmm" but certainly not "zzz"!

As I've been having some trouble sleeping lately to the point of feeling like I am tossing and turning all night long, I mentioned it at my last doctor's visit and Dr. Joe was nice enough to give me a prescription for Ambien. Actually, he gave me a prescription for something else first but because I have really lousy medical insurance, there was a $40 co-pay to get it so I got him to give me a script for Ambien instead, which only has a $10 co-pay because there is a generic medication for it. I need to sleep but the girls also need to eat so a $40 medication is a luxury that I can't afford!

I've never taken any sort of sleep aid before so I wasn't sure how Ambien was going to affect me. A couple people at work who take it said to make sure that I had at least 8 hours before I needed to get up and also that it kicked in within about 20 minutes. The instructions that came along with it said basically the same thing so last Friday I took one as I didn't have to work in the morning and it seemed like the perfect time to "test sleep" it.

I took the very tiny blue pill with some water, settled back into bed, and waited for blissful sleep to overtake me. An hour later I was still waiting. An hour after that I looked at the clock and thought that it was a darned good thing I didn't have to get up in the morning. Sometime after that I finally drifted off but it was that kind of sleep where you always feel like you're partially awake. I swear I woke up every five minutes and when I awoke in the morning I sure the heck didn't feel like I had gotten any sort of restful slumber. So much for Ambien.

However, I had paid $10 American for this medication and I wasn't willing to just toss it away after one failed attempt. Not having to get up for work this past Friday morning, I figured I would try it again Thursday night but this time I was going to double the dose as the label on the prescription bottle read "one or two pills as needed". Obviously I needed two as one didn't work at all so this time I took two tiny little blue pills with some water, settled back into bed, and waited for blissful sleep. And waited. And waited.

At least this time when I finally did get to sleep, close to 45 minutes later as best I can guess based on when I last looked at the clock, I actually seemed to sleep pretty good and don't remember waking up at all during the night. I had gone to bed close to 12:30 (I was catching up on episodes of The Closer I had on the DVR) and it was almost 1:30 before I fell asleep. I had expected to sleep until close to 9:00 but I woke up at 7:00 instead. Ugh ... It was pretty easy to convince myself to stay in bed, though, so I rolled over and didn't wake up again until the preferred 9:00 that I had been shooting for in the first place.

I just don't understand why it is I seem to have such a high tolerance to medications. Everyone raves about the wonders of Vicodin and to me it's like taking a couple of extra-strength Tylenol; Percocet simply makes me sick to my stomach; Tylox does virtually zip for me; and now a sleeping medication that other people can take and find themselves happily snoozing away in Dreamland 20 minutes later is so ineffective that I can write this entire post after taking it.

Somehow this just doesn't seem fair ...


  1. Oh it sucks when you can't sleep!

    $40 dollars for a prescription - that's extortion!!!

  2. losing sleep is awful. occasionally i will have a night when i don't sleep. i used to have many more of them when i was your "age" honey, one of the signs of that age i think. wishing you slumber...

    smiles, bee

  3. sounds like stress to me, you are in a high pressure job, maybe you are taking it home with you.

    RX: I wish I knew

    Doc Charlie

  4. As someone who has a definite sleep disorder (OK, it hasnt been diagnosed yet but getting only 3-4 hours of sleep per night qualifies, doesnt it), I feel your pain. I've been resistent to taking prescribed meds for the problem (OTC products haven't worked) and your experience with Ambien makes me wonder if there's really anything that really works. [Sigh]

  5. Well, I hope you can get the right meds to help you sleep. As Sarge Charlie said you are in a high stress job. Perhaps it's a side effect? I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. Have a great weekend. :)

  6. Anonymous4:33 PM EDT

    know what works ridiculously well for me? this prescription throat medicine called tussionex pennkinetic... of course, you'd have to have throat troubles to get that...or a generous doctor :\

  7. Have you tried meditation?
    I'm serious!

  8. Well, THAT explains why you look like "Dead Man Walking" when you come into the ambulance bay. Gee, Linda, I wish I knew what would work, but I'm only an EMT-I, not a full-fledged "Doc".

    I do, however, agree with "Dr." Sarge Charlie & Comedy+ when they mentioned your stress level. Perhaps that should be the primary path of treatment. No, I don't know how to even get started on that, but perhaps you need to speak with someone more qualified than little 'ol me...!

  9. Linda, I got trouble on the sleep bus also. Putter takes Rozerem, he gave me one the other night. No friggen way will I take that ever again, it wound be up like and eight day clock. But, it works perfect for him. Another problem is with your job, Bed time is never the same, that is also a problem. Putter works swing shift and has a heck of a time getting a full eight hours in. One other suggestion. Don't computer or tv and hour before bed. The doc told putter the lights from the screen make our receptors wake up. Trying reading for an hour. I usually fall asleep. Not a magazine NO... a book. Magazines make our attention run all over the place. Just a little bit of suggestions. But, really what the hell do I know.

  10. I often fall asleep sitting in this chair at my computer! Used to fall asleep while typing too on the job as well. But, when it comes to crawling into bed, falling asleep and getting a solid nite's rest - a whole different ballgame. Probably partly because I have always been, since I was a very small child, a night owl and never had a really set sleep schedule early on. But Ambian and I never got along when my dr. prescribed it for me four years ago. At that time, I had just had abdominal surgery - colon resection - was getting chemo treatments and to top everything off nicely, somehow managed to have two herniated discs in my lower back which had me in really excruciating pain 95% of the time. I would be exhausted, try to go to bed and could only sleep for 2 1/2 to 3 hours at a stretch which just wore me down even more. I tried the Ambian, and it did seem to allow me to fall asleep faster but only extended my sleep zone up as high as a four hour stretch! It's only been in the last year now where I can sometimes sleep relatively soundly some night for a max of 5-6 hours solid. If I fall asleep and wake up in 2-3 hours though, there is no way then I can fall back to sleep and try to get as close to 5-6 hours of almost sleep. My patterns are just still totally all whacked out I guess.

  11. Uh oh tiny blue pill! that wont make you sleep! Oh not that kind (smirking).

    All joking aside this is not good! I think you should try the meditation or a gentle stroll around the bloke (not hiking i promise).

  12. Oh my god! I meant the block not the bloke! whoops!

  13. Hi there,
    as with most medications you need to let them "build up" in your system before you will feel the full effects of the Ambien. I'd recommend taking it nightly, AT THE SAME TIME for an entire weekend (truly it might take up to a week or so) and then see how you do. Don't ditch those $10 after 2 nights >a week apart. As to your tolerance. Some people are more tolerant. All the medications you mentioned (as well as Tussionex that was mentioned in the comments) are narcotics. If you have ever taken any pain pills (or alcohol) regularly you have built up a tolerance...Ambien is a different horse entirely. OK, sorry to be long-winded, but it is (or was) my profession, and I hate to see folks give up when they could be sleeping well. I too suffer from insomnia but, alas, am nursing the baby so, here I sit typing to you at 11:15pm. Hang in there.
    Sleep well.


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