So I had an experience last year that was scary, traumatic & definitely changed my life. It changed my life because it almost took my life. Sounds so dramatic which I hate
cause I’m all about no drama in 2012 but it’s true.
So here’s the story. It was late July…super hot & humid in Nashville. Jill and I had worked two days straight shooting a promotional video (which we are releasing soon…YAY!) & I was headed to a show with a friend that evening. It was a celebratory unwinding from two days of exhausting shooting & long hours. I was really looking forward to watching Bon Iver play at the Ryman. I had some drinks at the show and after the show ended (it was a phenomenal show btw) we decided to walk around the corner to one of the honky tonk bars to have a couple drinks.
The bar was pretty crowded–we got drinks from the bar & pretty quickly found some seats with some guys (all men that were older than me) that offered to share their table. I’m a pretty friendly person by nature, but put a couple drinks in me and I’m even more chatty. The group of guys were funny, making my friend & I laugh a lot…we were having a great time! I clung close to my friend…who was a guy…to make sure the guys knew that I wasn’t interested in any of them…just out to have a good time.
So, in the essence of having fun & a good time…after a little while of hanging with the table of guys, they brought over some drinks…and I took one. We left shortly thereafter…we had already planned to take a cab home & we got right in one, I gave my address & we departed. Roughly ten minutes into the ride I started to feel sick. Not oops I drank too much sick. Like…holy crap…my head is starting to cave in on itself & I started feeling SUPER nauseous. After that, things are completely blurry for me. The last thing I remember saying was “Pull over. I need help.”
The next thing I remember was waking up in the Emergency Room three hours later.
Honestly the next few hours I remember almost nothing. I don’t remember getting to my house, or being driven to the ER. I faintly remember hearing voices but nothing more than that. Jill and some other friends helped me piece back together the hours that I missed. Apparently this is what happened…
I started throwing up…like violently…unfortunately…all over the cab…after a few stops along the way (for me to throw up) we made it back to my house. My friend who was with me (freaking out) called Jill and asked her to meet us at the cab because I was totally unconscious & he couldn’t get me out of the cab. I’ve never so much as fainted before so this behavior was very unusual. Jill especially thought this was really abnormal for me…thinking possibly I’d just drank too much…but when he asked for help she knew something had to be wrong. Once she got to the cab she started to FREAK OUT. They got me out of the cab (which was a difficult task because I was totally DEAD weight) and laid me on the pavement. The cab driver started pouring water on my head…Jill was slapping my face, yelling at me…but I didn’t respond. At all. I faintly remember the sound of panic in Jill’s voice. I guess that’s what happens when you know someone that well…I could hear the nuance of sheer terror in her voice…but I couldn’t respond or process anything at all. She kept yelling and slapping my face…but I couldn’t respond.
This is where the story gets graphic…my apologies for those reading that don’t wanna know but…full disclosure is generally my policy. You’re welcome. I was totally unconscious….but I was still throwing up…and I was flat on my back on the pavement…and because of the vomit…I’d stopped breathing. Jill had to reach into my mouth and scoop the vomit out of my mouth. (I know, I know, super friend award right there.) My other friend was pumping my stomach & another friend was on the phone with 911. They decided to move me to the grass since the pavement was SUPER hot because it was mid-summer and still 80+ degrees out…you get the idea. This was one thing that I remember weirdly…I remember feeling the grass under my arms and remember thinking that it felt funny. But again…it felt like a weird dream. On the grass, my friends continued slapping me trying to just wake me up –making sure I was breathing. Nothing.
At this point the dispatcher from 911 told them it would be faster if they took me to the hospital instead of waiting for the ambulance. Again, they had to transport me (dead weight) to the car and then they drove me to the ER. It took four of them to get me into the car and drive me to the hospital.
Once I was on the table in the ER I vaguely remember them pulling my eyes open asking me if I could say my name, or respond at all…but I couldn’t. I remember wanting to…really trying but I couldn’t get any words out. I remember hearing a ton of beeping and a lot of hustle and bustle…people rushing around but basically felt in a dream-like haze….I felt far away.
Flash forward three hours…I started to wake up. Feeling totally out of it…and like a bus hit me…I was pretty scared…I woke up with all sorts of tubes, IV’s and things that beeped surrounding me. I was relieved to see Jill & my two other friends there. They started filling me in on the details since I had no idea how I’d gotten there or what had happened.
The ER doctors admitted me into the hospital because my levels were so out of whack and they wanted to observe me for the rest of the night. It was around 4am that I was wheeled into the “Special Care Unit.” The first thing the doctor asked my friends and me was what drugs had I taken? My friends kept telling the doctor that that was NOT my style. I’m all about having a good time with some drinks but I don’t do drugs. It’s just not my thing. Once they believed me the next thing they wanted to know is if I took a drink from a stranger? The only reasonable explanation for what happened to me was that something had been slipped in my drink. Within 15 minutes of taking that drink from a stranger I collapsed.
My blood alcohol level was low–so it wasn’t a case of having drank too much. The only other possibility was that I had taken some allergy medicine earlier in the day and that my body didn’t respond well to the mixing of the allergy meds & alcohol. But, after much deliberation with the doctor, he was certain that something had been slipped in my drink.
I never thought that could happen to me. I think of myself as a pretty responsible adult. I like being in control. I don’t consider myself a “partier” and I rarely find myself in a bar–unless it’s in a hotel lobby while on tour. But even then, I’m not one to go crazy…
They released me from the hospital later that afternoon. It took some major recouping to feel back to normal. But the thing that was the hardest to get over was the fact that I felt so shocked that it happened. That I took a drink from a stranger. When I started talking about my experience people all had the same answer…”OH MY GOSH…you took a drink from a stranger?” Most people made me feel kind of like an idiot for doing it–which was embarrassing and hurtful all at the same time. But I began to think…how many of those same people have ever done that? You are out…having a good time…almost everyone I know has taken a drink from a “new friend” they meet in the bar. Most times, people are just being nice when they buy you a drink, but there’s always the chance that there is another motivation.
Not to say that I haven’t learned…because I have…and that’s why I’m writing this post. I’ll never take a drink from a stranger again. Please don’t take drinks from strangers or “new friends.” Please don’t set your drink down and leave it unattended. The statistics on drugs being put into drinks is staggering. It’s happening more and more. It happened to me. It can happen to you.
-I was at a bar 10 minutes from my house
-I was with a guy that I trust
-I was in a “safe” part of town
And it still happened. Some of you reading this might have had something similar happen to you and I’m sorry for that. It’s a horrible feeling to be out of control and so vulnerable. I am so thankful that I wasn’t alone and that I had loving friends surrounding me and caring for me. Seriously…I cannot imagine if I were alone that night.
This was a pic I snapped of my wrist after I got out of the hospital. Life is fragile. And there are bat-shit-crazy people out there.
Please be careful.