I've had this post saved as a draft since the day Heath Ledger was found dead. But, the more I think about it...the more I want to share a very personal experience. Maybe it will help someone else from going through what we did.
At one point, last year, I was having a really tough time sleeping. I had tried every natural or environmental option and wasn't finding relief from insomnia. So, my doctor gave me a prescription for Ambien. It worked. I slept really well. For a period of three months or so, I would take one MAYBE once a month. Well, one night, I had a horrible flu and had taken some benedryl about two hours before I took the Ambien. The Ambien was a 5mg tab. The next morning, I woke up and Mr. Possum said, "Are you okay?" I said, "Yeah. Why?" He then told me a very strange tale. Apparently, about an hour after I fell asleep, I got up. I walked into the kitchen and started banging cabinet doors around and rifling through the pantry. This woke up Mr. Possum. He came out and asked me what I was doing and I said, "I need carbs." He said, "well....what do you want, I'll get it for you." I said, "Chex Mix". This confused him because I have a serious dislike for Chex Mix. He put some in a bowl and said I walked back to the bedroom and crawled in bed with the bowl. I then proceeded to eat it without saying a word to him. I had no memory of doing this. In fact, I called him a liar. It wasn't until I made our bed and found crumbs that I believed him.
So, I started doing some Internet research. It turns out that Ambien can interact with other medications and cause an amnesiac-like state. There are recorded incidents wherein people, like myself, have done things they can't remember the next day. One man in Illinois got in his car and drove around...culminating in an accident where he hit someone else. When the police arrived, the man started talking about needing a Big Mac. It wasn't until he "woke up" four hours later in police custody that he found out he wasn't in bed. In all of these cases, it seems like diphenhydramine (Benedryl) is the key. Other cases have involved people making grandiose meals or rearranging furniture or even walking out the door into the freezing cold with no footwear or coat. Yet...as I sit here looking at the label on my bottle (that I kept,...I threw the meds down the toilet)...there's no warning. Not one little thing that would make someone with a cold or allergy think that they shouldn't take that medication with Ambien.
So...when I heard about Heath, I thought about my Chex Mix party. Reports have it that Heath had a cold or pneumonia. He also had Ambien. Knowing what I know... I just wonder if he was taking an antihistamine when he took the Ambien....and maybe, due to the state of amnesia, he took something else? This is dangerous stuff. Someone needs to do something about it.