I hallucinate dinosaurs when I’m tired. Always have. Can’t deny it, but can’t explain it, either.
My first long-term girlfriend lived back in my hometown, but my first job out of college was 70 miles away in Los Angeles. I spent weekends at her house and each Sunday night drove back to Los Angeles in a state of complete exhaustion. (Hey, I was 22 and she was 19. I don’t think I need to explain the reason for my exhaustion.)
Had you been zipping along the 10 Freeway on one of those Sunday nights, you might have seen me speed past you with my radio on full blast and my windows down, hoping that the combination of loud sounds and cool, rushing air would keep me awake long enough to get home without dying in a fiery car crash. And then one Sunday night I saw dinosaurs grazing along the side of the freeway. I recognized the Brontosauruses and Tyrannosaurus Rexes and Stegosauruses, but there were some other species I was unfamiliar with. I knew they weren’t real, that I was hallucinating, but the shock of seeing them always jolted me awake. Eventually I came to look forward to their weekly appearance.
Flash forward almost fifty years to late September, 2018 when I suffered a pancreatitis attack in the middle of the night. Jamie rushed me to the hospital and they immediately injected me with a big ol’ dose of morphine. Big enough to knock me out and kill the pain until four hours later when the nurse came in and repeated the process. One night a nurse had just given me my magical mystery mixture when I asked her to help me over to the bathroom. On the way back to my bed I grabbed her shoulder in fear and asked, “Did you see that dinosaur run under my bed?” She just laughed, tucked me back into bed and and told me to rest until the morphine kicked in completely.
Now those damn dinosaurs are back again. I have trouble sleeping, so my doctor gave me some relatively minor sleeping pills. I also have some occasional leg pain, and when it flares up I also take a pretty strong pain pill. On the nights I take both pills, it’s always interesting to see what the results will be.
Sometimes I walk around running into walls and slurring my speech like Nancy Pelosi after a long lunch. Other nights I’ll write a blog item that, not surprisingly, makes absolutely no sense when I review it the next morning. But last night the dinosaurs made a repeat appearance.
Jamie and I were watching an intense Finnish murder mystery on Netflix. I could not keep track of the story because I saw dinosaurs every few minutes. I’m aware that there are no dinosaurs currently roaming Finland and I concluded that the pill combo must be working its magic.
We went to bed after the show ended and I announced that I was going to read a couple chapters of the latest Jack Reacher novel. That didn’t work very well, either. Every time one particular character appeared in the book, I saw him as a dinosaur. I had to close my eyes and tell myself, “There are no dinosaurs in Maine. It’s the drugs again.”
Eventually I had to put the book down and give up on Jack Reacher for the night. He’s a tough guy, but one of his legendary headbutts probably wouldn’t have much impact on a Tyranosaurus Rex.