I switched to something else pretty quickly, and started to hear the reports, and then the jokes, about people on Ambien. How they'd sleepwalk in the middle of the night and eat the entire contents of their refrigerators. How they'd be driving their cars with their eyes open, but mentally asleep.
"How crazy is it," I thought to myself, and not for the first time, "that drug companies put out and doctors prescribe substances without having a clear idea of just what they do or how they do it, much less the long-term side effects?"
I didn't know the half of it.
It turns out that, when taken by some people in persistent vegetative states, Ambien actually wakes them up. People who were staring, sightless, unable to walk, talk or feed themselves, begin to laugh and communicate. It's incredible - like Awakenings all over again.
The power of drugs: truly both miraculous and frightening. The cause of one person's car accident is the ticket to one person's consciousness. How little we know and understand.