Why I spent 12 hours in the hospital Thursday (Also titled: Oh, you made pot brownies? How about also making a frickin sign that labels them as such?)

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Since many of you are wondering what happened to me, here it is. I was at a party where the food was some chips and some brownies. I hadn’t had dinner. I thought of eating dinner on the way to the party, but “Don’t eat dinner,” my friend Adrienne said. “There will be food at the party.” So at the party I ate a lot of chips. And then, though I’m normally not a dessert guy, I ate a brownie. There were two trays of brownies. They were labelled “nuts” and “no nuts.” I tried the “nuts” one. Because I love nuts. But nuts weren’t enough to save this brownie. It tasted like crap. Almost like it had gone bad or something. But I finished it, ’cause I was hungry. And after the brownie I was still hungry. So I figured I’d try the “no nuts” one. I figured that maybe the “nuts” one had been store-bought, and the “no nuts” was homemade. Because they looked a bit different. But the “no nuts” tasted like crap too. And while I was forcing “no nuts” down, someone, said, hey did you know there’s marajuana in those? (I assumed they meant in the “nuts” brownies, because otherwise they would have stopped me from eating the one I was eating.) I was like, WHAT? So I stormed over to the woman who made them. Let’s call her “The Baker.” While eating my “no nuts” brownie, I yelled at The Baker. “There’s marajuana in those brownies? Why didn’t you tell me? That’s ridiculous! What’s going to happen to me?” “Oh, calm down,” The Baker responded, as I finished the last bite of my ‘no nuts’ brownie. “Nothing will happen,” she added. And then she said, “And besides, if you’re worried, why are you still eating them?” “WHAT???,” I shrieked, though I’m sure it was hard to hear me over the Bon Jovi karaoke tune that was blasting. “There are drugs in the ‘no nuts’ ones too??? Why didn’t you tell me???” This was ridiculous. These brownies had been carefully labeled “nuts” and “no nuts.” But perhaps it would have been more important to label them “These contain large amounts of marajuana” and “These also contain large amounts of marajuana.” I thought I should leave and go to a doctor or something but I was told that this was no big deal and that I should stay and party. I was told that the drugs would kick in after about an hour but nothing would really happen. After an hour, I felt a bit warm, but not too bad. So I went home, because I had a big day coming up at work and an audition at the end of the day for an animated show called “Poop Deck.” I walked from the party to McDonald’s and had 4 cheeseburgers, a small fries, and an orange juice. I got it “to go” but then I couldn’t wait so I sat down and ate everything. Then I waited for a streetcar. A strange old homeless man with a broom was sweeping the sidewalk and swept some puddle water onto me. To be fair, he did say: “Here it comes!” just before sweeping it onto me. He was also on the streetcar with his broom, and got off at my stop. I’m still not quite sure if he was real or not. I wanted to poke him to see, but I didn’t think that would be a good idea. But anyway, on the streetcar home, WHAM, the drugs hit me and I didn’t know where I was. The streetcar had detoured off King onto Queen, which was abnormal. Combined with the drugs, it meant I couldn’t get my bearings at all. I realized I was in trouble and made some calls to the people at the party and to a couple of people not at the party. But nobody was answering their phones. The messages I left were of me whispering “I took some drugs” or “The drugs are affecting me.” I didn’t want to say it too loudly lest I be kicked off the streetcar or arrested. The messages also all ended with: “I need help.” or “Please help me.” Somehow I stumbled up the street and got into my apartment (It’s technically a “condo” but I’m just renting. So I don’t like to say: “My condo” because it sounds misleading). I called my friends again. The only one who answered was my neighbour Maria who said she was sleeping and that I should just drink lots of water. So I went into the bathroom and drank lots of water. I left my front door unlocked in case I lost consciousness and help came. I also put on some some pants and a t-shirt, because I didn’t want to be found in my underwear. Then I lay down on my bed for a minute thinking maybe I would be able to sleep but I kept snapping up and not knowing where I was, what day it was, what was going on. And my throat was closing up. Finally I called 911 (at least a couple of times, because I kept not knowing whether I’d really called them or not and I was afraid that I’d die while waiting for an ambulance I hadn’t actually called). My cell rang and I was going to buzz whoever it was in, but then the call hung up. I thought that maybe I’d lost my last chance for assistance. But I guess somebody let them in, because a couple of ambulance guys finally came. I told them Maria told me to drink lots of water. They said I shouldn’t do that. I was like, “Sh*t.” They said it would dilute the tests they were going to do on me. I know that drugs make you paranoid, but I still think they were kind of laughing at me. I asked if they were going to take me to the hospital. They said they couldn’t decide that for me. I asked how much it would cost. They said OHIP would pay for the care, but the ambulance would be 50 bucks. I figured my life was worth 50 bucks. It probably isn’t, but it seemed to me like it was at the time. So I said to take me to the hospital. I probably said it more like: “TAKE ME TO THE HOSPITAL!!!” So they put me in their stretcher. A couple of cops showed up too, because one of my calls hadn’t quite been completed. We all rode down in the elevator together. It was fun. Except for the fact that I was having a complete mental and physical melt-down. And also the ambulance guys were now laughing at me with the cops. My ambulance guys took me to the hospital in what was now MY stretcher. I convulsed in my stretcher for while in the hallway (safely strapped in, like Hannibal Lecter), moaning away and disturbing the other patients. I was told by a nurse, or maybe the ambulance guy, to breathe slower and less loud. A nice lady doctor fast-tracked me into a room because she noticed something weird happening with my heart-rate and saw my situation as pretty dire. I was hooked up to electrodes (which I later learned are hard to pull off from chest hair). They took urine and blood samples. They took some more blood at 8am, because the doctor said she needed an “8 hours after” test. When she asked me if I knew where I was, I said: “Toronto General Hospital.” When she asked what day I thought it was, I said: “Thursday, May 17th…” “Good,” she replied, making a note. “1883,” I continued. “Ha ha, good one,” she responded. But I don’t think she really thought it was a good one. I thought it was pretty funny, though. (I think I picked that year because earlier this week I watched the old Back to the Future III trailer online, where they go back to the cowboy days. The trailer looks like awful, by the way.) Anyway, they turned off the light above me for a bit so I could “sleep.” But it’s hard to sleep when you have to pee. And when a PA system beside your head blasts out: “PAGING DOCTOR PETERS, YOU’RE WANTED IN HOSPICE!!!” every 15 seconds. I don’t know what hospice is. But I know it’s a pretty busy section of the hospital. And I know they’re huge fans of Dr. Peters up there. I was finally released around noon. I had to remove my sexy, backless robe and find my way out of the hospital. The door led out to Gerrard. I’m never on Gerrard. Who goes to Gerrard? This, coupled with the lingering effects of the drugs, made for some confusion. I walked around downtown, not sure where the heck I was. Finally I figured out the right direction and made it home. But I have to go back to the cardio clinic in a couple of days because the nice lady doctor saw something on my EKG heart charts that concerned her. There are many ways i could have died last night. I could have walked into traffic… Had a heart attack… Suffocated on my constricting throat. It was the scariest experience in my life. But I’m alive. Still a bit dizzy. But alive. And I’m grateful to have friends and family who are concerned and who care. So thanks for asking.

Oh, and below are a couple of photos for visual reference. The first is the sign that was put beside the brownies AFTER I ate them. For future reference for anyone who throws a party, I think the key with placing warning signs like this is to put them beside the narcotic-laced desserts BEFORE people eat them.

The next photo is the receipt from McDonald’s. This has great value and meaning, because it could have been my Final Meal. Which would have been sad. And also not environmentally-friendly. But at least, even in the midst of my complete mental meltdown, I had the presence of mind to keep the receipt. In case I needed to return the fries at some future date or something. (Side Note: Especially attractive is the little bit of caked-on “cheese” from one of the 4 burgers. Not sure how I let that bit get away. I was quite hungry.)

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