I like to joke that my browser history reads like a science-loving serial killer.  I'm, honestly, concerned that if I ever came under suspicion for anything (you never know, it could happen), the police would not believe that I had google searches on bombs, various poisons, the symptoms related to sharps injuries to various portions of the body, hostage negotiation techniques, handguns and shotguns, forensics procedures, and police procedures among many, many others simply because I am a writer and I like to do my research (and I'm supremely sorry that the sentence got away from me there).  I think they would probably just assume that I do all that research to advance my craft.  You know, killing people.  And I don't even really write mysteries!

Well, when I tell people how eclectic my browsing habits are, I usually include researching antipsychotic drugs.  Without fail, everyone I mention that to asks me if I am, in fact, on drugs.  Really?  Do I look like the type?  I would think if I was on drugs I would at least be a little less unbalanced.  I've known people on mood stabilizers.  They are usually either more or less unstable than me.  Either the drugs are too strong and they're zombies or they aren't strong enough and they tend to be overly emotional (at least to my thinking).  I am neither.  Maybe a little ADD.  I might have some minor anger management issues.  I even have more phobias than I care to admit to.  I wouldn't think that people would believe I was on antipsychotics, though.

Anyway, a while back, when I was working for Labcorp in RTP, NC, I was working on a hospital scene.  Or, at least, I was trying too.  I only finished the scene a few days ago.  In the scene, my main character (vampire) was hospitalized, not knowing what was wrong with her.  The doctors thought she was dying.  Her immune system was shot.  She was severely anemic and requiring weekly blood transfusions.  Her blood was saturated with bacteria she had no hope of fighting.  Dead, right?

So, she's in the hospital.  Dying and starting to get severely loopy from pain.  She bites an orderly.  Kills him.  The hospital staff rush in, dose her with something and then have to keep her on something until they deem her safe to reenter society (which they don't believe will happen because, again, she's dying).

I knew I needed an antipsychotic medication but I didn't know the right type.  I knew that the first one had to take effect almost immediately and, thus, would likely need to be IV.  The second would need to be oral.  I had trouble at first finding what I was looking for.  I found sites with lists of antipsychotic meds and sites that listed their side effects.  I could even find sites that listed which were more likely to be used in which situations and why (thank you wikipedia!).  But the side effect lists were long and most people will only get some.  No site listed which were more common (other than listing by degree of severity, not how frequently patients endure them).  I finally found what I was looking for on WedMD.com.  I looked up the medication, it gave me the option of picking means of intake, and I was able to view what patients listed as their symptoms and what disorder they were being treated with (which was important because a lot of these are treating for a wide range of things like cancer or dementia).  By the way, I did all of this research at work.  On the work computer.  During business hours.  Yeah, I'd love to be the person in IS scratching his head over that one.  I settled on injected and oral Haldol.

This is an excerpt from the scene:


When I opened my eyes, the room refused to focus.  I blinked my eyes a few times but it didn’t help.  I tried looking around, since focusing on the ceiling clearly wasn’t doing any good, but moving my head just caused the room to spin like I’d just done three shots of tequila back to back.  I closed my eyes with a groan and laid my head back down, ordering my equilibrium to settle into some semblance of normalcy.  I tried to move my head again, this time with my eyes closed.  I could still feel that nausea sloshing in my skull, but it settled shortly after my head stopped, resting sideways on the pillow.

I opened my eyes, but the room still refused to focus.  I could make out the blurred edges of the furniture next to the bed, the metal railing on the bed was currently up, but I couldn’t make out the door, its edges being too blurry to pull from the background.  I closed my eyes again and groaned.  Keeping them open was giving me the first twinges of a headache like when you tried on someone else’s glasses.  My eyelids were heavy and I settled in, letting exhaustion take me for a while since keeping them open was just a pain anyway.  

After a while, an itch on my arm started to become increasingly insistent, as they always do.  Yay for gating, I thought sarcastically.  Once my head was through being the focus of my attention, the itch started as a mild twinge which quickly because undeniable.  Ah, fuck it, I thought, or maybe I said.  I’m not sure.  I moved my left arm to itch my right but drew up short at the wrist.  I tugged again.  Again, the feel of firm fabric pulling at the wrist.  I whipped my eyes open and sat, my head feeling like it was going to spin off and tumble onto the floor.  I stilled for a moment more, closing my eyes and taking a deep breath through my nose, then opened them and look at my wrist.  

Restraints!  They had me in restraints!  A strangled noise escaped my throat as I began to tug at the restraints with increasing panic, forgetting entirely that I was a doctor and knew full well how to remove the restraints, if only I stopped panicking!  In short order, people burst into the room and pressed me down into the bed, forcing my head to spin with renewed fervor and the sounds coming out of my throat to morph to screams.  I didn’t see the needle this time.


What do you think?  Do you think I did a decent job describing someone on injectable Haldol?



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