Repost from the old site. It’s a long story, but the last time I worked consistently, from 1994 to 1996, I was so damn tired all the time that I was drinking lots and lots of caffeine. I figured out all sorts of inventive ways to take it, in pills, in herbal tablets, in drinks, you name it. Then I added ephedrine. At one point, I was taking one 30mg tablet per hour every waking hour, and my blood pressure was still 103/56. I know it doesn’t make sense. After a while of this, my blood pressure started going nuts. I eventually stopped getting it checked. I would go into the doctor’s office, and I would openly refuse to have my BP checked. The doctors were getting really mad and telling me I was going to die. I said, “I know,” and shrugged my shoulders. We’re all going to die; this is news? Every now and then I would get a reading for the Hell of it. One was like 185/107 or something. They gave me a drug called Captopril, and it seemed like it crashed the pressure down, but it also seemed like it made me tired for at least weeks. I started getting all kinds of weird symptoms from the hypertension (HTN), but people kept telling me I was imagining it because HTN has no symptoms. I had symptoms all right. I had pains in my chest and my throat. I had weird buzzing feelings all over my face and especially in my eyes, where it was sort of a vague pain. I had pains in my kidneys, and my kidneys tests went off with creatinine too high. That means kidney damage. Worst of all, my feet started swelling, and that was the scariest feeling of them all. After all, all I was trying to do was work. America says everyone has to work all the time, or work or die, with the anti-welfare crowd, and my whole life, I’d either been working, in school, or both. If I didn’t take the stimulants, I could not work. I had chronic fatigue. Eventually, the job ended, in part due to the fact that I would go in and sit there doing nothing much of the day. I actually couldn’t seem to lift a finger. The work was really hard anyway, and it seemed I just couldn’t do it. People kept saying I was depressed, but I insisted I wasn’t. The job ended, and I lived off my credit card for a while. After a while, that charade could not play out any longer, and I went to a bankruptcy attorney who called me a thief. I got up and walked out of his office and never came back. The bill collectors started calling, sounding like Cousin Luigi from Detroit. I eventually quit answering the phone. I was still on caffeine, and the BP was still too high. Eventually, I just declared bankruptcy and blew off $12,000 in debt. Now I was on the credit card black list. I moved back in with my parents. I was 41 years old. My life was a wreck. I was going around to doctors and the diagnosis was “chronic fatigue.” I kept getting treated like shit by doctor after doctor, and I turned into a “doctor shopper.” Not because I was looking for someone to validate my fake symptoms, but because I was getting pissed off at doc after doc treating me like shit. I’d take it for a while, and then say Fuck You and move on, and the new doc would be the same. I kept noting stuff that made it seem like a sinus infection or allergies, but everyone kept laughing me off. Everyone was saying it was all in my head, and when it came to the illness, everyone was treating me like crap. They kept saying I was depressed. I kept saying No I’m not. Finally, I went to an allergy doc, and they diagnosed chronic sinusitis. I’m under treatment, but I haven’t really worked for real for 13 years now. But during the time I was on tremendous quantities of caffeine, I noticed something. The caffeine rats. You see them out of the corners of your eyes. They’re always scurrying, about the size of a rat, and when you turn to look for them, they are gone. I saw them more than once. I scaled down the caffeine, and they went away. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything before or since. Other drugs have similar syndromes. On ayahuasca you usually see tigers. On high doses of cocaine you start to feel and maybe even see bugs crawling under your skin. They’re called coke bugs. Then there’s the caffeine rats. I wonder if I’m the only one?
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