Citation: anonymous. "A Trip to the ICU: An Experience with MDMA (exp110866)". Erowid.org. Aug 28, 2017. erowid.org/exp/110866
First MDMA Experience a Trip to the ICU
So, I had my first experience with MDMA this past weekend – I'm writing this on the Wednesday following the Friday that I took it. I'm going to give a brief trip summary for the LSD I took earlier in the day, but the real meat of this report is my MDMA experience in the evening.
I did not have a good experience with MDMA, and some of this was very difficult for me to write due to how fresh it is in my mind. I want to warn prospective readers that I include graphic descriptions of a genuine and traumatic near-death experience, including seizures and other physical trauma. This is a complete account of my experience with MDMA, and I feel it is important to include the aftermath in order to give a full picture of what it was like for me. If you are likely to be upset by such descriptions, please, use your best judgement as to whether or not to keep reading.
I had traveled back to my hometown to visit some old friends during the summer break, and I was in high spirits – I was really doing well and was excited to spend some quality time with some guys I don't get to see very often.
We had been planning to take some drugs together, and I was really looking forward to it. I was in a good place, mentally speaking, and I felt well-prepared to get down and dirty with some psychedelics. We had bought some LSD and some MDMA, and were all set to do them.
I made damn sure to get a good night's rest – about 9 hours – the night before, so I'd be well-rested and ready for the trip. I ate a proper breakfast (eggs, sausage, and fruit), as well as a solid lunch – I opted for some vietnamese beef stew (bò kho, if you're wondering). It was filling without being too heavy, since LSD usually makes me a little nauseous when it starts to kick in. I drank about a liter of water during the day before I got to my friend's house, since it was a little hot out and I didn't want to get dehydrated being outside. I didn't eat dinner, mostly because I ate lunch a little late, but also because I didn't want to throw up if the LSD made me too nauseous on the come-up.
I got to my friend's house, and we took the LSD at about 5:30 pm. They were little teal gel-tabs, tested at 250 μg. I had a very pleasant trip – really vivid visuals, intense (but not overwhelming) body load, and a generally good mood throughout. I smoked a cigar and stared up into the clouds for about 2 hours, had some solid catch-up conversation with my friends, and just generally vibed really well into the evening. I peaked at about 9 pm, just as the sun was setting. The crimson-rose glow of the sunset bounced around fractal-patterned clouds, and I was having what was honestly the best trip of my life. I felt the coveted inner-peace that people search for with LSD. It was a textboox good trip.
For disclosure, I had been smoking cigarettes throughout the day, and I had not taken any OTC or prescribed medication, or any other supplements. I drank a reasonable amount of water, about two 500 mL bottles over the course of several hours.
By 11 pm, we had largely stopped feeling the effects of the LSD, and we decided to let my (sober) girlfriend drive us up to the gas station to get some drinks and snacks.
When we got back, we decided to take the MDMA my friend had bought. He had about 600 mg ('6 points') of translucent, beige MDMA crystals a bit larger than copper BBs. We divided them up – 200 mg each – and ate them. My friends told me that the crystals would taste like shit, and they were right. They were very salty and acrid, and I had to wash them down with some water.
I went outside and sat down, it was cool (about 75 degress Fahrenheit) and not very humid. I talked with my friends, waiting for the MDMA to kick in, and decided against smoking a cigarette because I knew that MDMA raises your blood pressure and heart rate, and I just didn't want to take any extra risks.
After about 10 minutes, I felt my perception gradually change. My vision became blurred and 'swirly', and I was having difficulty focusing. My mind, however, was totally clear. I felt conscious of every square inch of my skin, as if I was suddenly given millions of extra nerves from head to toe. I began to sweat profusely, more than I have ever sweat in my live. My fingertips, palms, forearms, chest, neck, face – all slick with fresh, cool sweat. I soaked my new Glass Animals t-shirt in about 30 seconds.
At this point, I began to feel just a tick anxious, which my girlfriend and friends picked up on (my girlfriend was out sober trip-sitter for the day). I said to my friends 'holy fuck, this is really intense, you really get it all at once', and they agreed that it 'hits you like a freight train'. My hearing sounded as if I was listening through a tin can – there was a palpable, serious distortion. I ran my fingers through my soaked hair, and took a deep breath. There was a lightness in my chest that was odd, since my heart thundered furiously. I stood up. The edges of my vision blurred, and I felt a foreign – yet indescribably intense – sensation crash over me. Looking back, it was every muscle in my body clenching, but I just felt the wave and was powerless to resist. One of my final clear thoughts was 'omg, I feel like a salamander'.
I don't remember much of what happened next, to be quite honest. I remember standing up, then, I was on the ground. I rolled on the cobblestone porch, flailing wildly and popping in and out of consciousness. I was screaming, louder than I have ever screamed before in my life, but I was not in pain. It was pure, distilled, primal fear. I didn't know what was going on, and I wasn't in the drivers seat. I pushed myself along the porch with my heels, my arms locked by my side and my head thrashing side-to-side. My girlfriend screamed for one of my friends to call 911, with an urgent voice I'd never heard, and which only terrified me more.
It came in short, but crushingly powerful, bursts. I was panting heavily, and my friend and girlfriend managed to get their hands on me well enough to keep me in one spot, and they put a pool towel behind my head. Every time I started to convulse, clenched my jaw so hard that my teeth shook, then shouted 'oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck it's happening again'
Every time I started to convulse, clenched my jaw so hard that my teeth shook, then shouted 'oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck it's happening again'
, then involuntarily screamed 'fuck' literally as loud as I could as I felt the need to be stiff as a board and curled in a ball at the same time. There was no 'being quiet' – the convulsions were physically pushing the air from my lungs as hard as possible – and I am sure that half of that neighborhood heard me.
I had my hands gripped on my girlfriend and friend's arms, and I remember saying – or at least, thinking really hard – that I was going to die. It's an odd thing, feeling that you're about to die. I was so fucking sure that I was about to meet my end. I 'saw the light', and as I lay there, shivering in between convulsions, I knew there was not a thing I could do to save myself. There was no peace, there was no calming sensation of moving on to another world – just terror at the fact that I was at the very threshold of death, and there was no struggling or fighting I could do to stop myself from passing through it. Each time a convulsion rocked me, I squeezed my girlfriend's and friend's arms so hard that I left bruises. I was fighting something alright, it just wasn't for my life.
Finally, EMS arrived and I was loaded – teeth chattering and limbs shaking – into the back of an ambulance. I felt the distant sting of a large-bore needle sliding into my left arm, heard the paramedic call for ketamine and Valium, and that was that. I was out cold.
My memory picks up in the ICU – I fortunately don't remember the ER, but apparently they weren't able to stop the convulsions with drugs and I had to be restrained. So there I lay, in the ICU, with restraints on my wrists, forearms, upper arms, thighs, and ankles. I continued seizing, on and off, for 15 hours. They were only able to give me Ativan and sedatives, as they were worried that any more drugs might be too much for my already-shocked system. I only remember bits and pieces, but even so, I cannot properly describe the fearful hell that is 15 hours of restrained, semi-conscious convulsions.
I pulled out my IV on more than one occasion, leaving me with a ragged ruby red bruise on my left inner elbow that still hasn't gone away. I have deep purple bruises peppered with crimson dots on my arms from struggling with all my strength at the psych-ward-grade restraints. I have a series of about 8 or 10 needle holes in a space the size of a dime on my inner right elbow from the constant blood tests. You see, they were worried that I was going to develop rhabdomyolysis – a condition where muscles become so damaged from heavy use that they begin to seep proteins into the blood, which can cause life-threatening complications – from my persistent convulsions and the restraints.
I slowly got better, but I was in the neurological ICU for four days. That first day, I had what's called 'status epilepticus', which is what they call it when you have many successive seizures that don't respond to treatment/drugs. I had to ride them out, and all they could do was restrain and sedate me. About 20 to 30 percent of people who develop this condition die from it.
I wore an EEG for 24 hours, and they decided that I didn't have any lasting damage. I was discharged, sore and exhausted, on the 4th day of my hospitalization and my mom drove me back home to rest.
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