I work in a hospital as a pharmacy technician. A rather large hospital.
I’m around drugs on an almost daily basis. Hell, I make drugs typically once a week or so (legally. I make them legally…).
Today I got to learn the joys of drug interactions. I’m kidding. There was absolutely no joy. Just lots of nausea and general “I feel sick” feelings.
Last night when I was on my delivery run to stock the anesthesia carts in the ORs (and the other carts in other areas near the ORs) I ran into a problem. When I was emptying the return bin in the PACU (post-anesthesia care unit) cart, I found a broken ampule in the bin. My first problem was that I didn’t have any gloves with me, and I’m fixing to pick up broken glass. Great. My second problem… the ampule was for a narcotic. Fentanyl, to be exact. I very CAREFULLY removed the ampule pieces from the bin and then went in search of a nurse to help me find something to put the pieces in.
That’s what the little bastard looks like unbroken. These amps are tiny.. about two inches long (though some are larger). The head of the amp just snaps off. But…then there’s glass.
So I found a nurse, and she found a container for me to store the amp in. But… In the process I ended up getting a little bit of fentanyl on my hands. Which is not what I wanted to do. By the time I was done transferring it into the stupid container and sealing it tight, the liquid on my hands was gone. At the time I wasn’t sure if it had evaporated or if it had been absorbed by my skin (hint: it absorbed). The rest of the night last night, I was fine. I felt fine, was able to drive home, and went to bed with no problems.
I woke up very confused. Well. I woke up twice, I guess. I kind of half woke up the first time and was confused (like I didn’t fully realize I was awake) and then sometime later (could be two minutes… fifteen minutes… an hour…?) I fully woke up and was very, very confused. Maybe disoriented is a better word. I was also really freaked out, because my eyes DIDN’T WORK. And by “didn’t work” I mean that they would NOT focus on anything. My eyeballs had a mind of their own, apparently. I think that was the most scary part. I’ve never had my eyes not work before.
It took me probably an hour to an hour and half to calm down and be able to go back to sleep (after I googled “why aren’t my eyes focusing” about eight different ways). I woke up later in the morning and felt better. So I got ready for work, took my ADHD medicine (I take concerta) and went on my way to work.
About an hour later… I felt HORRIBLE. I normally work up a sweat at work, but today I was sweating WAY MORE than I normally do. I felt like if I moved too fast I’d throw up, and I had a horrible metallic taste in my mouth. I cornered a nurse when I was delivering meds and made her take my temperature… and it was normal. Humph. I could not figure out why I felt so bad, and then I remembered my eye problems earlier in the morning… so I started to panic.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. WHY IS MY BODY DOING THIS?
I went to my boss and explained what I was feeling and what had happened earlier in the morning. She sent me over to employee health to get checked out. Once I was over there and got to chatting with the doctor I finally learned the cause of my ickyness all day.
THE DAMN FENTANYL.
I mentioned it to the doc that I’d gotten some on my hands the night before, and she pulled out a book of drug information, flipped to some section in the book and told me that she was 90% sure that all of my issues stemmed from getting the fentanyl on my hands. What really set it in stone for her was my eye problem. “That’s a side effect of fentanyl”. Great. But… I got that on my hands HOURS ago. “Yeah, well your concerta is not a great thing to mix with the fentanyl. That’s why you’ve been feeling so sick.”
So basically, I’ve been high on fentanyl since the early morning hours. Okay, so I don’t ACTUALLY know if I was “high” on it, but it definitely made me sick. And then I made it worse by taking my ADHD medicine.
Son of a batch of cookies.
If all of the feelings that I’ve gone through today is what people feel when they get high off of narcotics… DO NOT DO IT. IT’S DUMB. Seriously. All afternoon since we figured it out I’ve been thinking to myself… “people abuse this shit to feel like this ON PURPOSE!? WHY?”.
I’ve been told that it should work it’s way out of my system some time tonight and I should feel a LOT better tomorrow. But that I should probably skip my concerta dose “just to be safe”. Fabulous.
I forsee a lot of lounging on my couch and watching Game of Thrones tomorrow. I’m okay with this.
Fingers crossed I don’t have wonky eyes tonight.
Moral of my long ass story…
WEAR GLOVES AND DON’T DO DRUGS, Y’ALL.