Published in the Daily Monitor: http://www.monitor.co.ug
It may not surprise my regular readers to learn that I sometimes experience panic attacks. A friend once kindly told me I’m like a Chihuahua, shaking and quivering with permanent anxiety. Someone with my sensitivity to pretty much everything has to experience symptoms eventually.
the hell you lookin’ at?
One evening I was walking with a friend in town when one of these attacks came upon me. Quick as a flash, we bounded into the nearest pharmacy and asked for valium. I was very clear when I told the pharmacist to “Give me only two pills please”.
“We only sell a whole strip and it’s 1,000 shillings”, she said.
That alone should have been a warning sign. I wasn’t buying sweets at a discount. But I congratulated myself upon finding a bargain and bought the strip. I swallowed my medicine and my friend and I proceeded to our event as I waited for my nerves to calm down.
After an hour, I thought I was going to die, and I took more. Ten minutes after that, I was ready to climb the ceiling. I could hear my rapidly palpitating heartbeat pulsing out through my ears.
I checked the medicine again, and realized it wasn’t valium. It was something called Salbutamol. When I researched Salbutamol, here were the three main components to note:
One – it’s meant to treat asthma. Two – It causes rapid heartbeat acceleration. Three – It induces panic disorders.
Great. Just great.
I did not sleep until 4.00 am that night. My limbs twitched, my body trembled and my heart threatened to burst out of my chest. When I told a friend what had happened the next day, she said:
“Are you sure this pharmacist isn’t someone you’ve annoyed before who was exacting her revenge?”
You know what? That’s actually not impossible.