Monday, May 4, 2009

Am I high, or is this really happening?

You know you’re old as dirt when you’re watching Tivo-ed SNL on Monday night at 8pm. And that is precisely what my over-the-hill husband and I were doing last night. About halfway through the show, David faltered with his remote responsibilities, allowing for a slight lag between when the commercials started and when he hit fast-forward. The advertising we saw then totally blew our minds. Blew. Our. Minds.

It was a commercial for AmbienCR and it started innocently enough. “When morning comes in the middle of the night, it affects your entire day.”

Now here was a statement of fact I could relate to. Morning comes in the middle of the night all the time in our household, and when it does, I would have to agree, it throws the whole day into a big ole pile of shit. So, AmbienCR had my full attention.

But just as I was beginning to feel all warm and sleepy and relaxed by the lulling voice of the man praising the many restorative benefits of the sleep aid, things took a strange turn. The voice warned that before you decide to take AmbienCR, there are a few potential side effects you might want to consider.

Like what?

Like, say. sleepwalking, the voice said. Oh, well that’s not too bad, I thought, a little sleepwalking here and there never hurt anyone too terribly much and what a small price to pay for putting morning back in morning’s place.

Oh, and there’s also the slim possibility, the voice continued, that you might be prone to eating or driving while not fully awake with “memory loss for the event.”

“WHAT?” David sputtered, “Did he just say, ‘eating or driving while not fully awake?”

“I think it’s a part of SNL,” I replied, with my usual savvy,

We listened, riveted, as the lulling voice told us that taking AmbienCR might also lead to “abnormal behaviors such as being more outgoing or aggressive than normal . . . and confusion, agitation and hallucinations.”

“Hallucinations?” David exclaimed.

“I feel like I’m hallucinating right now.” I shrieked, “are we HIGH?”

“We are not high, this is REALLY HAPPENING,” David confirmed.

“Wait, wait, I can’t hear him, be quiet!” I said.

Now the lulling voice was on to “swelling of your tongue or throat which may be fatal . . . In patients with depression, worsening of depression, including risk of suicide may occur.”

“HOLY SHIT!!!!” David and I were wide-eyed, disbelieving. Then we began to shriek with laughter, a regular Harold and Kumar on the couch.

“This is INSANE!!!” I yelled, “This has to be a joke,”

Thanks to Tivo, we could settle the matter definitively. We rewound and watched the commercial about four times through before we could certify that it was, in fact, a real commercial.

It’s hard to say which of the long list of potential side effects is more upsetting. Worsening of depression including risk of suicide is hard to beat in terms of awful, irremediable, bottom-of-the-barrel side effects. But I have to say that it really freaks me out to think that a pill could make me DRIVE or EAT while asleep. I’m a bad enough driver and eat enough while fully awake. And then there’s the matter of your tongue potentially swelling up in your throat to fatal proportion. All I have to say is WTF, readers, WTF? Those are some high costs right there for putting morning back in morning’s place.

The most outrageous part of the commercial is the fact that, after detailing these freakish and terrifying side effects, the lulling voice goes on to say, “If you notice any of these, contact your doctor.”

“How the hell can you contact your doctor after you sleep-drive while stuffing your face when you have NO MEMORY OF THE EVENT?????” I shouted to the TV.

David was giggling like a schoolgirl.

Wow. Thanks to Ambien CR for making me feel as though I smoked one down last night, without the actual drugs.

As my darling husband noted: “This is the shit we miss because we don’t watch commercials anymore.”