To sleep, per chance NOT to dream by
(49 Stories)

Prompted By Pills

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Like a circle in a spiral …

Recently, I was attacked in bed by three unknown, naked women who wanted my body.

Wondering where those demons of the night are coming from? Check your pill box.

Their ferocity and desperation scared the hell out of me and, contrary to what some guys might do, I fought them off savagely and — finally — successfully.

In my flailing about the bed, however, my left wrist bonked my wife on the head as she slept blissfully ignorant of my plight until my swinging arm found its unintended mark on the top of her skull.

Fortunately, no structural damage was done, but she obviously awoke with a start.

“Jim! For God’s sake, what is going on?” she shouted. “You just hit me!”

Or at least that’s what she told me later that she said. Having dived so deeply into my nightmare world, I was tuned completely out of the conscious one, so she resorted  to shaking and banging on me instead  to wake me up.

When I did come to, I was out of breath and dropped back onto my pillow to find my focus. When the fog cleared, I immediately apologized to Anne, then again, and then again. And then a fourth time.

I told her what she already knew by then: I was having one of my “action dreams” wherein my body joined in with my dreamself  and all hell broke loose beneath the sheets.. Anne has seen this happen before with me.

Then, just two nights later, I was fighting off three very unsavory thugs who were attempting to kill me, and my left leg swung over my body to the right to kick one of them in the groin. That, however, propelled me out of bed where I hit the floor. My foot plowed into the wall instead of any assailants, and I smashed three of my toes.

(Maybe I just have an innate fear of the number three?)

Again, Anne awoke with a start and, again, reached across the bed to defend me from myself.

Welcome to my world of undisclosed drug side effects or, alternatively, some really wild drug interactions producing hallucinogenic episodes in my sleep.

I have always prided myself on staying away from pills — even prescribed ones — especially when they contain naproxen or oxycodone. Recent medical problems have necessitated taking some, however, as well as some fluoxetine, more commonly known as prozac.

Since these phantom night strikes in bed have occurred, I have dropped the first two of these pills completely, and am now only on fluoxetine. I don’t think that alone is causing any of these nighttime attacks, but the residue of the first two drugs may well be. I’ve known for years that naproxen can give me bad dreams, and I’m sure the pain pills do, too.

I’ve learned that each of us is the best arbiter of deciding when the pharmaceutical cure is worse than the malady for which we take it. And sometimes we just have to experience the effects first-hand to believe them.

But I do know now what to Get Anne for Christmas: A football helmet and pads.

Profile photo of Jim Willis Jim Willis
I am a writer, college professor, and author of several nonfiction books, including three on the decade of the 1960s. Several wonderful essays of gifted Retrospect authors appear in my book, "Daily Life in the 1960s."

Characterizations: moving, well written


  1. Khati Hendry says:

    Ouch! I hope you can get off whatever medications are causing those dreams! I’m sure you tell your physicians and pharmacists about side effects so they can note it and try to avoid future issues. Sometimes the cures are worse than the disease.

  2. Oh dear, bad dreams are bad enough, but to take it out on poor Anne!

    I find I’m dreaming more and more lately, both happy and unhappy ones, but never thought it might be med -related. Now something else to ask the doc about!

    Wishing you sweeter dreams!

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