Last summer, I went night shopping while on Ambien. I didn't know I did it until the next morning when I checked my email and I had several order confirmations. I bought bra balls (don't even ask), a facial machine that promised to erase wrinkles, a pair of white and black diamond earrings, and a few tops. So in my conscious state, I was in the market for none of those things. Perhaps somewhere deep inside, I really "needed" them (right). I was stunned and I decided that I could never take Ambien and have my phone or laptop near me because I did things (like spend money) that I didn't want to do and didn't remember doing. I am so grateful I didn't buy a big trip on that spree, because that was one thing I was really researching and preparing to do. Problem solved by simply hiding electronics at night, right? Wrong! This morning, I woke up and noticed that the TV in the living room was on, the kitchen included a plate with four pizza bagels that looked like someone ran their fingers through but didn't eat any, the left-over salad bowl from dinner, a cup with punch, the silverware drawer wide open, and lights on in the kitchen. Impossible! I went to bed with a spotless kitchen. Like not a fork out of place. I left the microwave light on and went to bed. I popped an Ambien and fell asleep. (Truth is, I hate taking sleep aids but when I'm on Dex, I really don't have a choice if I want to get any shut-eye at all.) I asked my daughters if either of them got up in the middle of the night. They looked at me like I was crazy after denying it. And I believed them. They wouldn't opt for salad or turn on the big TV anyway. So that left two choices: 1) My house is haunted and a ghost was there; or 2) It was me and I didn't remember it at all. Unfortunately, it was me. It had to be me. There is no other option. And this really isn't funny. What else am I doing that I don't know about? I hear about people driving and going to Walmart in the middle of the night and not remembering it. Or worse. I know a guy who "came to" at the police station after getting a DUI because of Ambien. He didn't remember getting in his car. Dangerous! I really don't think I've been driving. But am I eating? I'm not gaining extra weight but maybe I am. But what else am I doing? I went to clinic today (I'm on a two year maintenance plan so I'm there once a week) and talked to them. They switched me to Sonata. Apparently this doesn't have as long as a sleep effect. It makes you fall asleep faster but burns out faster, which means that probably I won't be shopping, eating, or ... ? At least I hope! And I'm also going to try just simply taking Melatonin (five mg) per night and getting off sleep aids altogether unless it's an emergency and I'm really desperate. I'll keep you posted. So lesson here is: Be very careful when taking sleep aids.
about the author
Lizzy Smith was diagnosed with myeloma in 2012 at age 44. Within days, she left her job, ended her marriage, moved, and entered treatment. "To the extent I'm able, I want to prove that despite life's biggest challenges, it is possible to survive and come out stronger than ever," she says.