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Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton

Lost Person Behaviour

Rating: 8 votes, 5.00 average.
It's 12:33 p.m., and I am sitting around at my desk here in wintry Pittsburgh waiting for experts on lost person behaviour to call me back. I spell it with the British "u" because many of these fellows are Canadian, possibly because there are so many places to get lost in Canada. My hypothesis for why: the absence of nocturnal light pollution and similar whatnot to guide one to a mall or other safe haven of human civilization.

During this period of waiting, it occurred to me that a rare (of late) un-Ambienated vlog might be in order, if for no other reason than to test the ongoing functionality of whatever rational faculties I have left.

As my fellow devotees of novel hypnotics may know first hand, these drugs can have some heavy duty discombobulating and bamboozling effects. In my case, oftentimes the first things to go are those items to which I have only the weakest tether lines under the best, most rational of circumstances. Propriety, the hope not to offend others for the pure mean-spirited joy this can bring me, self-pity, and finally what in male dogs is sometimes described as "that little red thing"--all these tend to change drastically in me under the influence of zolpidem. The first two (propriety; kindness) run for the hills; the second two (self pity, ribaldry) burst out in ways that are hard to restrain. I have been de-friended on Facebook because of such boorishness and indecency.

In fact, the only things that reliably restrain self pity, libidinous inappropriateness, jabberwocky, and the like is the phenomenon dubbed by researchers at the Mayo Clinic as a new drug-aided variation on SRED, or sleep related eating disorder. This morning, I went down to the kitchen and found a bottle of Real Lemon lemonade, my favorite beverage, stowed not in the refrigerator where it belonged, but rather in the cupboard beside the cups and glasses.

I suppose it could have been worse.

Some of us so-called Ambien Zombies have been known to pour a glass of bleach in the night, the better to chase down the buttered cigarette sandwich we have made for ourselves as a snack.

I am digressing a bit here.

VIA, or vlogging under in the influence of ambien, has a good side and some bad sides.

On the good side, I have now--on at least two separate occasions--discovered vlogs that "I" have written but which I have almost no memory of having written. I can thus read such entries the way I imagine the non-Jim reading audience reads them: with total amusement and the utmost respect for the writer, perhaps even just a smidgen of jealousy for his evident genius! Oh, if only I could write like this "Jim" in his full reverie mode.

Actually, just joking about that. Reading these amnestically-penned vlogs, in truth, only gives me the chance to do what I really DO imagine my readers often do: Laugh AT me, not WITH me.

It's nice when a blowhard can laugh AT himself without totally feeling responsible for it. I suppose what I am really doing on such occasions is laughing at my reptilian brain in action. What a peculiar fellow this nutcase is...though I do admire his lack of self-censure.

The bad sides of Ambien have already been suggested. One additional example: I seem to have made an enemy of the brother of a female swimmer I occasionally correspond with on Facebook. It appears I will not be attending that family's Christmas party this or any other year in the foreseeable future.

The cure for all this, of course, is simple. Either stop taking Ambien, or take it and immediately go to sleep. The problem is that I have found that taking Ambien and fighting off sleep leaves me in the Tiger Woodsian Ambien haze. Though I have no floosy to enjoy myself with while thusly enfogged, I nevertheless enjoy the tranquility and relaxation and freedom from worry this mood bestows. I enjoy it so much, in fact, that I know it will be a while before I am able to wean myself from it.

Note: Ambien and its cousins are not benzodiazepines like Valium, though they target one of the brain's many subtypes of benzodiazepine receptors in the GABA system. Sleep researchers maintain there is no evidence that Ambien and the other Z-drugs are anxiolytic, or anxiety relieving. Thus it is entirely possible that my perception of calm is either a placebo response or idiosyncratic. That said, I will add one penultimate wrinkle here for those, like me, who include amongst your various hobbies an interest in amateur psychopharmacology.

Zolpidem, the generic name for Ambien, has been shown to trigger speech in a certain type of schizophrenic patient who is suffering mutism because of catatonia. It might have helped Al Pacino, for instance, at the end of Scarecrow.

Perhaps my reaction is simply some variation on a positive Zolpidem Test.

Now, final wrinkle: though I do believe that this drug is, in some regards, capable of reducing my control over my behavior somewhat, it is clear to me that my decision to keep taking the pill and vlogging and/or otherwise accosting the etherous internet world at large is something of which I am fully culpable. As an expert in the burgeoning field of sleep forensics told me, there is voluntary and involuntary intoxication.

Taking the pill exactly as directed and then going on a blue streak of mayhem is involuntary intoxication, especially the first time it happens.

But taking the pill the way I have been lately, knowing the likely consequences, and doing it anyway, qualifies as voluntary intoxication. In fact, one might argue my case is very voluntary intoxication.

Let me know if I go too far.

Note: this is NOT a cry for help.

Now, on another note, after last night's 4100 yards, I asked some of my swimming teammates if they might help me identify my elbow bone. We could not, for the life of us, decide whether the pointy bone is attached to the upper arm bone or one of the lower arm bones.

So I took a picture with my finger right on the painful jabby bone in the hopes that Drs. Dixon and Jaegermeister, and fellow sufferer Jim Matysek, might better zero in on a diagnosis.

PS what do you think about my peace symbol within a heart medallion?

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  1. Bobinator's Avatar
    You are thinking about all this ambien crap too much.....of course this advice comes from a lowly walking stick so feel free to disreguard it.
  2. jim thornton's Avatar
    You are not a lowly walking stick! You are the lexicographer that gave the world "knarckling"! You, maam, are a genius!

    And any advice on how to dismiss the brain's rumimative quality would be truly appreciated!

    Actually, I am just very interested in how the brain in general, and my brain in specific, operates under different conditions of mood, stress, chemical influence, and the like. At 57, I don't see myself derailing from my lifetime pathway of (often) pernicious introspection, but it would be nice to find my way to a world with a bit more of what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi dubbed "flow." As such is described in Wikipedia, it does indeed sound a lot like the emotional equivalent of a swimmer getting into a strong but peaceful groove:

    In his seminal work, 'Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience', Csíkszentmihályi outlines his theory that people are most happy when they are in a state of flow— a state of [ame=""]concentration[/ame] or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state of [ame=""]intrinsic motivation[/ame], where the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great absorption, engagement, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored.
  3. RustyScupperton's Avatar
    I LOVE your jabbewocky! BTW, I just touched that pointy bone and mine hurts too!
  4. jim thornton's Avatar
    Thanks, Rusty. Can you tell if your jabby bone is part of the humerus or the ulna and/or radius?
  5. Bobinator's Avatar
    Well i'd say the recent death of a Hollywood star @ 32 is a pretty good example of how the brain reacts in a drugged stuper.
    I think the key to being in the "zone", "groove", or whatever you want to call it is being yourself, being around people/things/events you enjoy or find rewarding/challenging/or fulfilling, and getting the amount of physical activity your body and mind demands to chemically do its best.
    Nothing is ever perfect but the pursuit of your personal perfection should make you feel pretty good!
    In other word it's a journey that never ends, till death at least.
  6. Bobinator's Avatar
    Well i'd say the recent death of a Hollywood star @ 32 is a pretty good example of how the brain reacts in a drugged stuper.
    I think the key to being in the "zone", "groove", or whatever you want to call it is being yourself, being around people/things/events you enjoy or find rewarding/challenging/or fulfilling, and getting the amount of physical activity your body and mind demands to chemically do its best.
    Nothing is ever perfect but the pursuit of your personal perfection should make you feel pretty good!
    In other word it's a journey that never ends, till death at least.
  7. jim thornton's Avatar

    Was Britney Murphy's death linked to Ambien?

    I think she must have been doing more than this. One gossip site suggests pain killers post cosmetic surgery.

    I won't be having any breast enlargement myself in the near future.

    The Ambien phenomenon, however, is not without its sensationalized side. I can't be the only swimmer (besides Leslie) who has been addled, in a pleasant way, by this drug!

    I don't think I've experienced the following phenomenon. But then again, how would I know if I had?
  8. Kurt Dickson's Avatar
    You are touching your medial epicondyle on your humerus (upper arm). You are pointing to your olecranon (ulna/lower arm).

    BTW a few nurses I work with state their spouses appreciate the effects of ambien (the nurses do not seem to recall the effects but apparently grown men are weaping and thanking them profusely). Sadly, this effect is not universal. Just say no Jimby.
  9. jim thornton's Avatar
    Kurt, the thing that hurts is the thing I am touching. So we now have definitively (or pretty definitively) identified me as a victim of medial epicondylitis, correct?

    Now, specific questions:

    1. what weight lifting maneuvers should I avoid? It seems like that rowing type motion is particularly provocative, but maybe it's the dips machine? Would I be better off just sticking to legs and core till the pain goes away?

    2. I don't want to stop swimming. It's a little painful while swimming freestyle, but it's very painful when I hit it on the lane line. I will do my best to avoid the latter. Any advice for just swimming in general? Ice, NSAIDS? Or nitroglycerine patch? Or just forget it and man up? (I can do it, I know I can man up even though I have technically never manned up in the past.)

    3. A sleep doctor I interviewed told me the same thing your nurses are saying, only in this one case, the wife would force the husband to have sex at night, then get mad at him the next morning for "taking advantage of her." He concluded his quote by saying, "Ah, Ambien!"
  10. Chicken of the Sea's Avatar
    I WANT to be addled by ambien.
    btw, what's that hanging on the chain around your neck?
  11. jim thornton's Avatar
    It is a peace sign inside of a heart.

    My brother John made up a pick up line during our youths. It went a little something like this:

    Hey, chickaboom! Yeah, you! You've heard of "give peace a chance?" Well, how about given me a piece?

    I can't tell you how many pieces this netted for John. No wait, I can tell you, I just don't want to. The number: zero.

    I had my own pickup line I used when cruising State Street in Salt Lake City, back in the day. Lots of Mormon chickabooms in their finest tabernacular underwear raiments, driving up and down the road in Pontiac LeManzes.

    My line: God the father almighty has chosed me to father the Second Coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. I can't tell you how much better this pick up line worked than my brother's did. Well, I can tell you, but I don't want to. It worked zero better than his did.

    All we are give me a piece! Hands waving in slow waves overhead. Everybody. All we are saying is...give me a piece!
  12. Chicken of the Sea's Avatar
    I think you're taking the piss....out of me
  13. Bobinator's Avatar
    Sorry, I didn't know ambian was the only thing you were doing these days. I suspect you'd have to dose it pretty high to reach morbidity.
    I'm sorry I overacted. It just seems your blogs have a very dark side to them. It especially stands out when compared to the cheery splendor of the holiday season.
    I need to remember who is writing these things and not take it at face value.
    Signed, The Stupid Walking Stick (fatless and brainless
  14. Chicken of the Sea's Avatar
    Bob! your caringness and fatlessness cancels out maybe a little of my own insensitivity and triple-digit BMI.
  15. Bobinator's Avatar
    You know I think I'm just getting to be a snarky know-it-all-but-know nothing. I bow out of this discussion.
    The holidays tend to make me luny.
    Next year I'm going to Katmandu or somewhere more spiritual than here.
  16. jim thornton's Avatar
    Bob, you are absolutely not a snarky know-it-all-but-know nothing! In fact, you are the only one of my readers who--consciously or not--has steadfastly picked up on the melancholic subcurrents of my vlog and relentlessly urged me to adopt cognitive behavioral strategies to mitigate my funk! I am not joking here. You are an extremely positive force, and I really appreciate all your comments. Sometimes optimism can be dismissed as Pollyannaism, but that is absolutely not the case. I do tend to give into my morbid tendencies at times, and I truly appreciate your nudging me back into a more positive direction.

    Black humor, for me at least, can sometimes be paradoxically stress relieving. This is probably why I find the parables of Franz Kafka so oddly consoling. Bachelor's ill luck; the Cares of a Family Man; The Country Doctor--the list goes on.

    Please do not desert me! Or is it dessert me? Don't do the one that involved disengagement. Do do the one that involves the command, "Come around, Jim! Come around!" the culminates in a treat.

    You and Amanda are the yin and yang of National Treasurehood, as far as I am concerned! And I will do my best to alternate morbidity with sun-dappled hope, easier to do now that the solstice is behind us, and not a single cloud mottles the Pittsburgh sky!
  17. Kurt Dickson's Avatar
    1. bag weights especially flexion stuff (I can count the times I have lifted weights in the last 15 years on one hand).
    2. Technically you should rest. Sometimes these take weeks to heal. Rest, ice, antiinflamm. You can try tennis elbow straps with pressure point opposite (on medial side). Stay away from pornography.
    3. Just like a woman

    BTW someday I must hear about your sojourn through SLC with "my people" (specifically how long you lasted before you were physically removed from the state).
  18. DaveBright's Avatar
    Jim -

    I have been a sufferer of medial epicondylitis for several years now. I have tried rest, strengthening, stretching, ice, heat, icy hot, tiger balm, glucosamine, advil,etc. Cortisone shots have worked well for about a month at a time, apparently a monthly shot is frowned on. I read about Jim Matysek's experiences, and have vowed not to participate in games that involve carrying flags through cornfields. Someone told me about a surgical procedure called debridement, but when I looked it up, it just talked about using maggot therapy to remove dead or damaged tissue. A long easy warm-up helps some when swimming. On a bad day, it can hurt to turn a door knob or pull on my socks. I found a doctor who does the PRP treatments - on a sonogram we were able to see tendon damage, he took blood, spun it and injected platelets at that site, maybe there was a slight improvement. Leslie Livingston said she had a series of 4 of those, so maybe I'll return for more.
    It's certainly an annoyance at best, and I wonder if it will ever be 'cured'. Maybe I should try the Ambien...

  19. jim thornton's Avatar
    Thanks, Dave and Kurt. I had the lateral form from tennis a couple years ago, and it took forever to go away, but it finally did. So maybe this one will too.

    I hope yours improves, Dave.

    My thinking is that maybe the best approach to various corporal and psychiatric travails that seem to pile up now and then is to try to cultivate an attitude where I see these as a nuisance, but nothing more.

    My brother is a big believer in Epictetus. Perhaps I should break out the Enchirodon (spelling) on a more regular basis.

    In the greater scheme of things, I suspect maggot therapy comes soon enough for us all.

    Kurt, as far as my Salt Lake City experiences go wth you people, I must say I really like you people, despite what appears to be a concentration of Tiger Woods polygyny genes in you people's DNA.

    I was just listening to the Grateful Dead's Sugaree, which I first heard in a Salt Lake City bar in 1975 ot 1976, sung by a cover band whose frontman was also a local news anchor.

    I met a girl at this bar named Laurie Hatch and went out with her once or twice. The omens did not line up. She was actually Orrin's niece, and I have always wondered if he somehow found out about me and urged her to practice obstructionism.
  20. Kurt Dickson's Avatar
    Polygyny with hot super-model types is one thing. Polygyny in the frontier west 1880s with the homely widow down the street because you are told to is quite another thing.

    Orrin's niece?'s collide.

    Hope you get feeling better.

    Merry Christmas/Kwanza/Hannukah/Festivus/ Solstice or whatever y'all do.
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