Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
I awoke this morning with a dull ache in my head. I took two Excedrin and went about my day. It’s probably due to the change in pressure outside. It should pass as the day goes by.
Eight hours and four Excedrin later the pain has greatly intensified. I have made plans to go see the doctor later.
The doctor asks me some questions, and tells me that if the pain intensifies that she recommends an MRI. I agree. In the meantime she writes me out a prescription for Diloxodin. She explains that this medicine is fairly new, and warns me of the side-effects, including: fatigue, increased appetite, lucid dreams, and in rare cases auditory hallucinations, and death.
As soon as I get my subscription filled I take one as directed. Within five minutes the pain in my head has lessened greatly. Within ten my headache is completely gone.
I get ready for bed, and power down my laptop. I can hear the bathroom sink dripping. I didn’t notice it before, and get up to turn it off.
I drift off to sleep. I am awoken a few hours later by the sound of the bathroom sink dripping again. I turn it off, and assume that a valve must be loose. I can’t fix it right now, so I place a towel in the basin to muffle the noise.
I fall back to sleep when I hear a sound like someone letting out a sigh coming from the bathroom. I’m startled, and my eyes pop open. I lay in my bed listening. I hear water trickle onto porcelain, drip-drip-drip-drip-drip. I take a breath and make my way into the bathroom. I turn on the light to find the faucet completely shut off, and the towel still in the basin. I touch it, it’s barely wet. I chalk it up to side-effects of the Diloxodin, and head back to sleep.
The next morning I wake up, and take another pill as recommended. I notice that I don’t have a headache, and that I’m no longer hearing things. Still, I’ll tell my doctor after work.
The doctor said not to worry too much about the hallucinations, she said they weren’t that bad, but if they get worse that maybe I should cut back on the medication.
That night I unwind by reading The Amber Chronicles. I was well into the fifth chapter when I started hearing noises again. In the kitchen I hear a clack-clack-clack, as the sound of footsteps move across the floor. I push it out of my mind and continue reading. As I continue to read I begin to hear a faint static come from the direction I heard the footsteps. I put the book down, and listen. Soon, the static becomes whispers, and I am able to distinguish two different voices, but I can’t make out what they’re saying. I again tell myself that it’s the medicine, but nonetheless I go cautiously into the kitchen to check. I find nothing there.
I go to the bathroom to brush my teeth, and get ready for bed. As I’m in there, out of the corner of my eye I see something brown and lanky move past the doorway. My heart gets caught in my throat. I rationalize that it was due to the medication, but soon realize that nothing was mentioned about visual hallucinations. Cold beads of sweat begin to form on my body, and my hands begin to tremble.
With trepidation I peer my head around the door frame hoping that nothing will be there. My eyes peer into the darkness of the hallway, searching, then I see it. Hulking at the end of the hallway tall, and brown, and hunched over. Its presence menacing. I notice that it’s turned the other way, and that it can’t see me. I continue to stare at it until I notice something strange about it. Something familiar. I turn on the hallway light. I sigh in relief. It was just the coat rack. I decide to go to bed but leave the hallway light on.
When I awake the next morning I forgo taking my medicine, and decide to call into work. I have no headaches, and I don’t experience any hallucinations. I spend the day lying in bed and listening to the silence.
It’s been seven days since I’ve stopped taking the medicine, and everything is still normal. I had a sinus headache a few days ago, but that was it. It would now seem that I no longer need the medication. If this is the case, then I can be done with these pills and not have to worry about anymore side effects. I’ll hold onto the pills for a couple more day, and if I’m still doing well, I will flush ‘em.
My head is killing me. It’s worse than it’s ever been. I lie curled up in a fetal position, in my bed, in the pitch blackness, with my hands cupping my head. I’ve thrown up three times already. I don’t know if I should take the medicine, but I’ve been like this for I don’t know how long, and I’m afraid the pain might kill me.
I down the pill with a glass of water. It’s hard to keep from throwing up again. Almost immediately the pain subsides, and I can function again. I promptly call my doctor to set a scan at a local hospital.
The scan comes back normal. No dark spots, or swelling. Nothing to indicate what is causing the headaches. While I’m there I ask the attending physician if there’s anything else he could prescribe me for my headaches. He writes me out a scrip for Almotriptan, and sends me on my way.
I contemplate throwing the Diloxodin away, but change my mind. In case the Almotriptan doesn’t work.
Two days now, and everything is going better than expected. Not only are my headaches gone, but I’m in an overall better mood. I’m also more actively participating during work meetings.
Fifth day now, and I things are getting weird again. Despite not taking any of the Diloxodin I’m starting to experience auditory hallucinations. I can hear voices throughout the house. They sound like the low hums of television conversations in another room, intermingled with growls, but each discernible. If I concentrate I can count them. One, two, three, four. Four. That’s how many of them are out there moving about, waiting. They can only move in shadows. I don’t even know if they’re real. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Almotriptan caused hallucinations.
I called the doctor who prescribed me the Almotriptan and asked him if it’s known to cause any hallucinations, he says that it doesn’t. Not fully satisfied with the doctor’s answer I visit forums and try to ascertain rather or not anyone else has experienced any types of hallucinations while on Almotriptan. The most I got was that a few people got dizzy, or nauseated.
I call my doctor, and tell her about the Almotriptan I’m taking, and the hallucinations I’m having. She tells me that it might be that the Diloxodin is still in my system, and that everything should clear up as time progresses. In the meantime she suggests that I get blood work done, to see if the drug is still in my system, and also to speak with a psychiatrist. I agree, and after I hang up with her. I make an appointment with a local clinical shrink.
I have my lab work done, and go to see the shrink. We speak about the hallucinations I’ve been having, and he gives me some exercises to do when the hallucinations occur. He also writes a prescription for Clozapine. He tells me that it’s for people with schizophrenia, but that it should work in my situation. I don’t like the idea of taking more pills, but if it’ll stop the hallucinations I’ll try it.
Despite taking the pills I’m still hearing things, and seeing tall, brown, slender, hulking shapes move about the house out of my peripheral. I rationalize that the medicine needs a week to fully take effect. I just wish I could do something about the sound of the water dripping in the sink.
I know that the sounds I’m hearing aren’t real; the footsteps, the voices, the water dripping in the sink. But, if I were to apply a physical solution to a mental problem it might eliminate some of the hallucinations I’m having. The first thing I do is turn off the water under the bathroom sink. The dripping stops. Now I must figure a way to stop the footsteps. If I tell the hallucinations to leave, maybe they’ll no longer bother me. It’s unlikely, but it’s worth a shot.
I can hear them in the living room, mixing of low guttural voices, and the sloshing wet sounds. I step out into the hallway, and peer into the darkness. I see four of the brown things hunched over in the living room, their backs scraping the ceiling, long slender arms that come past their knees, and the sound of saliva dripping from their mouths.
I tell myself that it’s just the coat rack, and reach to over to turn on the light. As I do so my phone vibrates in my pocket. I answer it.
“Hi, Mark. This is Dr. Jacobs. I’ve received the results back from your lab work. There is no trace of the Diloxodin in your blood.”
I stand there in horror, looking at the things in my living room.