Sunday, July 10, 2005

What Did That Tree Just Say?

We just got back from eight days dodging and outrunning first Tropical Storm Cindy and then Hurricane Dennis. We had lots of fun, saw lots of places, and had a fantastic captain who knew his stuff. I love to cruise, but I get sea sick easily so I always take medication with me. My drug of choice has been meclazine (Bonine) but this time I thought "Enough with the pills! I'll use the patch and not have to worry about missing a pill." The scopolomine patch is widely used with great success... but my experience was a bit different.

After the events described below, I unfolded and read the information sheet that came with the packet of patches. It warned that, in very rare incidences, it could possibly cause hallucinations. No points for guessing who got them.

I was sitting at the breakfast table, looking at the beautiful ocean beyond and chowing down on various breakfast bits when I noticed that my wooden table was melting. Bits of it were dripping, slowly, down the center post leg and puddling on the floor. I was dimly aware that this was impossible, but I was intrigued enough to keep looking to see what would happen next. My milk carton twisted and hopped closer to the oatmeal bowl and seemed to want me to do something with it... but I couldn't make out what it was saying. Yes, you read that right. I was right in the middle of a Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds incident. Later that day I would be in a tour bus in Cozumel, trying to listen to our guide, Cesar, while outside the world had turned into a Peter Maxx painting. I wasn't panicking, for I understood what was happening and why. I was fascinated by the situation while at the same time wondering a) how long this was going to go on, b) how long I could keep everybody else from knowing what was going on and, c) how I could get the stupid tree behind me to shut up.

A day and a bit later, the hallucinations stopped. At some level, I will miss them, but I know life is better without them. I wish the rest of the hallucinations would stop -- you know, the ones that say I have to get to that store, buy that thing, see that person, arrange the furniture... all the things that we think are so very important, but are really just hallucinations of the worst kind.

While we were at sea some cowards -- murderous, twisted, evil cowards -- set off bombs in London. All at once the hallucinations of the Londoners were ended. Not so important anymore were questions of making a new business deal, getting to work on time, who likes who, and if these pants make me look fat. All of those concerns -- petty, mundane, trite -- were blasted away; the hallucinations fell away and we were forced to deal with real questions of life, death, and what is really important.

Nancy Pelosi declared a week or so ago that the war in Afghanistan was over. Not so for those who are fighting it, some of whom lost their lives last week. Maybe Nancy realized that she was hallucinating, maybe not, but it would be nice if the rest of us stopped hallucinating. Much of what we know for sure ... isn't true. Most of the arguments that we bring to every blog, every lectureship, every family meeting aren't important, substantial or meaningful. They are hallucinations. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are real. Our duty before them to believe, love, and serve is real. Most of the rest of the clutter of our world is just a pile of hallucinations.

I determined to dump the patch and ride out the hallucinations with as much of my dignity as I could salvage (it's hard to pull this off when a tree kept whispering, "Psst! Patrick! Over here!") and to come back to reality. I am also determined to do this in my personal, financial, spiritual, and love life. Drop the hallucinations. Get back to the real.

By the way, the information sheet on scopolomine says that those who have the hallucinations will often get them again for awhile several days after taking the medicine. Well, that's something to look forward to, I guess! I'll post a bunch of random thoughts in a few days, but for now I need to put a couch pillow over the ottoman's mouth. That piece of furniture seems to be developing a real attitude and the lamp has asked me to do something about it......


At 7/10/2005 10:09:00 PM , Blogger Morris said...

You have a definite gift, my brother. Using humour to lead into wisdom is quite effective. I've been stung by the sting of conviction in more than one of your posts. Creeps up on me, while I'm still laughing..
Not fair... :-)

At 7/10/2005 10:12:00 PM , Blogger Stephen said...

Kami surely has some interesting stories about you hallucinating. So far life outside DC (the District of Columbia, not down the hill from your office) has remained interesting as I continue my term as season education director.

At 7/11/2005 08:47:00 AM , Blogger David U said...

PM, you date yourself with the "Lucy in the Skies With Diamonds" comment! :) What another great post with a wonderful application! We missed reading your posts this past week! I'm glad God brought you home safe and sound.......well, partially sound anyway.

God bless!

At 7/11/2005 08:57:00 AM , Blogger Billy D said...

Sometimes Patrick, the things you write seem directed right at me. Eerie. Thanks for the life lessons learned here. (Still waiting on the book)
Be careful driving!

At 7/11/2005 10:31:00 AM , Blogger Cheetah, the cheetah said...

Aaaawwwwwww, Patrick! In my 10 years of selling cruises, I've not had one client tell me that the patches gave them hallucinations. I don't know whether to laugh or cry on your behalf! What I've been told about the patches is that they are so much more gentle and highly-recommended than the first ones that came out several years ago. I remember seeing some "patched" people in the early 90's behaving as if drunk when they weren't.

In my years of selling cruises, very few people have trouble with motion discomfort any more than occasionally and most have never had it. But I am so sorry this unusual side-effect happened to you, but appreciate your good humor in the whole thing. I admit that I laughed as I read your post....

Are you ok now?

At 7/11/2005 11:06:00 AM , Blogger PatrickMead said...

I'm fine now, Susan (ignore what the carpet is saying. We ALL know it's a liar! Just ask the fridge...). I love cruising and do just fine with the Bonine so I'll be sticking to that in the future. Although I DO have that extra patch... wonder what I could get for it down at Eight Mile....

At 7/11/2005 04:01:00 PM , Blogger Dee O'Neil Andrews said...

Glad you had a good and safe trip, despite all of the obstacles.

Love your story about the hallucinations. Yours sound really interesting. I took some high powered antibiotics a few years ago that gave me hallucinations, but they happned in the middle of the night and were much scarier than yours. It was enough to make me glad and thankful I'd never gotten mixed up with drugs and stuff when I was young.

Thanks for the great applicationns you made, too. As always.

At 7/11/2005 09:44:00 PM , Blogger DJG said...

Man, give me a call before you put that patch on e-bay!!!

But you are right on with the fact that we pay way too much attention to all of the wrong things. We are so easily distracted with talking trees and ottomans.

At 7/11/2005 10:25:00 PM , Blogger salguod said...

Wow, Patrick you hit me right where I needed it today. Check out this post on my blog (I wish Blogger had trackbacks) from my hallucination experience from this evening. Only a couple of hours ago in fact.

Thanks for the reality check.

At 7/12/2005 12:13:00 AM , Blogger JD said...

I've never been on a cruise, but I will be wary of that patch if I ever do!

Loved the post ... brilliantly worded and we all recognize the truth of what you are saying. The Enemy has deceived us in so many ways ... and we have been willing accomplices. We need to be reminded because the illusions seem so real.

BTW, I spent the week dodging storms too - on land! Glad we all did well with Dennis. But Emily...we'll have to see.


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