Opinion: Advil mix-up


All summer I have felt tired. At first I thought it was just my body finally slowing down after 10 months of juggling teaching, parenting and marriage. Then I suspected that my thyroid gland was the culprit. Most recently I’ve blamed the stupid training program I’m doing for a stupid triathlon that a stupid brother-in-law, or BIL, talked me in to. But alas, I now know the real reason for my frequent lethargy despite 10-hour-a-night sleeping marathons. Here’s what went down.

While vacationing with my entire family in South Carolina, a different BIL made a plea for Advil. My room was the closest, so I dashed in and grabbed an old Aleve bottle that contained what I thought were an assortment of various pain relievers. I sifted through and selected two small orangey-brown caplets and handed them over. Then, because it was my night to prepare dinner, I headed to Publix.

Twenty minutes later I received a phone call from my sister asking if I’d accidently given her husband Ambien. I laughed out loud and said, “Of course not! I don’t even own sleeping pills. And I’ve been working out of the same bottle for the past few months. Those were definitely Advil!”

Turns out, they were most definitely not Advil, but honest-to-God 5 mg zolpidem tartrates. Luckily the BIL whom I drugged was fine after a long nap, but I spent the next hour crying, extremely embarrassed and utterly confused by my mistake. How had Ambien even made its way in there? The last time I remember having a prescription for it was 2007! Could these be the same ones?

Regardless, the mystery of my low energy levels is now solved. Every time I thought I was treating a headache I was actually ingesting a sedative! My family thinks the whole thing is hilarious, and won’t let me forget it. “Anybody have an Advil? I really need to sleep tonight!” or “Danielle, is this blue pill Aleve or Viagra?” Clearly, I’m surrounded by comedians.

I’m just thankful I solved my fatigue problem before the triathlon. Talk about stupid!

Peace out.