So this is my personal experience with drugs – prescription drugs, that is.
I think it all started with a pair of back-to-back cataract surgeries in May. I was a difficult patient, and it took a vast amount of anesthesia to put me down. The improvement in my eyesight was startling and wonderful, but a few days after my second surgery, I began hiccupping.
For the first three or four nights, the hiccups subsided as I slid into sleep. But then they got more severe and began to keep me up most of the night.
On a Sunday afternoon after seven days and nights of non-stop hiccupping, I visited a doc-in-the-box and was told I had a sinus infection that may have been causing the hiccups. I was prescribed some antibiotics and told to return if the hiccups hadn’t quit in four or five days.
But I couldn’t make it that far. By Monday evening, each hic had turned into a stutter of five or six hiccups. My whole diaphragm was in prolonged spasms, and it was getting harder to breath. Indeed, my diaphragm had frozen a couple of times after spasms, and I had to slam my chest down on my knees to break the paralysis. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to breathe.
Time for the emergency room at the Charleston (WV) Area Medical Center.
Over the next four days, a CAT scan showed no brain tumors, an MRI found no irregularities in my throat and chest, and an endoscopy revealed no hernias or ulcers in my stomach. In short, there was no physiological reason for me to be hiccupping.
So a neurologist prescribed a pair of spasm blocking drugs, and I was sent home, still hiccupping. When I awoke the next morning, though, the hiccups were gone.
They’ve been gone for more than three weeks now. I’m weaning myself off the spasm-blocking meds, and I’m optimistic that I may be free of that nightmare. It’s now been four days without medication or hiccups.
But there’s a lesson to be learned here for someone like me who’s been skeptical of the vast amounts of psychotropic drugs being used to “treat” PTSD.
Without medical help, I was unable to cure something as simple as a case of the hiccups. But the spasm-blocking meds re-booted my system, allowing me to return to normal. And perhaps that is what’s needed for a short time for some of our combat-stressed vets.