Side effects

 Page 71… in a fiction series

Headache… agitation… nausea… vomiting…

Miranda was soaking in the tub contemplating the side effects of her new medication, her favorite recording of Brahms: Sonata for Cello and Piano # 2 in F, playing softly.

… insomnia… weight gain… drooling… acne…

Even though she didn’t think her recent bipolar episode was all that bad, her doctor thought otherwise and prescribed a new drug.

… anxiety… vertigo… suicidal thoughts… and priapism (guys only, but still).

And oh yes, under certain circumstances the drug will kill you.  Sweet.

She slid down into the water, admiring her red painted toenails through a mountain of Mr. Bubble.  While the alcohol-related nausea and vomiting had finally passed, she had mixed feelings about any medication that was almost guaranteed to make her look and feel worse–  as if drooling was going to make her feel better. 

It had been almost two weeks since Drew brought her home from Detroit– sick, severed, and broken.  He stayed a few days, encouraged her, held her hand, and brought her endless bottles of slimy green Gatorade, just as the paramedics ordered. But in spite of her feelings for him, Miranda wanted everyone to go home.  She appreciated his concern, but valued her privacy more.  In the same way, she assured her mom that she was doing much better, that she would call everyday to check in.  When alcoholics are backed into a corner or confronted with their behavior, they isolate.  That’s just the way it is.

The medication made it hard to concentrate.  Replaying the days and nights that she disappeared into Detroit’s dark underworld, Miranda was more curious than ashamed.  Her strange vision of her old drinking buddies at Tommy’s Gotcha, the men who were dressed like pirates that night, was disturbing–  Ramano, Lipman, and the man in the navy blue blazer.  Wait– didn’t he give her something?  Her memory was slow and her thoughts were staggered.  So much alcohol…  she could only imagine.

Miranda stepped out of the tub, wrapped herself in a fluffy white towel.  The face in the mirror  was so pale and thin, and her eyes were rimmed with dark circles. No wonder her mom looked so worried.  For the first time she was starting to see how her drinking was taking its toll.  She looked older than her years and feared that no amount of vanity or magic face potions could repair the damage.  Even so, it was time to go out and look for another job.

While it hurt Tiller to let her go, she understood company policy and the documents she signed the day she was hired.  The nature of her work called for exemplary behavior on the job and off.  Miranda represented Special Services and she had done it poorly. Even though she was sure her boss knew about her binge, (Tiller was omnipresent, nothing got past him), she felt his sadness when he shook her hand and patted her shoulder goodbye.  She choked back tears, knowing how much she would miss him and the work she did for the firm.  She felt very alone. 

Miranda pulled on a t-shirt, put on some red lipstick, and headed down the steps for the door.   Losing her job was a devastating consequence of her bad behavior.  But it was nothing compared to the aftermath that was yet to come.

To be continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

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16 Responses to Side effects

  1. Theresa says:

    “but not the worst”…………..there is even more suffering in store for her? :(

    I played the above musical piece while I read this. I know very little about classical music. I felt so sad. But I’m hanging in there. Eventually it will get better.


    • Linda says:

      I guess the Brahms Sonata sounds a little dreary, but it paints an honest picture. Some days are like that… ; )

  2. Linda, It seems Miranda has still not learned the lesson that we were created to be dependent creatures – dependent on God and one another, not on alcohol. I shudder to think of what worse consequence might come from her most recent bipolar episode. I do hope it is not the loss of Drew’s friendship! Can’t wait to read what happens next. Peace, Linda

    • Linda says:

      Thanks, Linda… Drew is a bit of a puzzle. A great guy and a good friend… but what to we really know about him?

  3. Jan says:

    Isolation. So enticing. So deadly. Miranda has yet to open herself to God, or anyone else.

  4. Larry Who says:

    “…But it was nothing compared to the aftermath that was yet to come…”

    Eyikes! Poor Miranda and this last sentence has me wondering: what else can go wrong?

    Okay, I’m ready. Let’s turn the page.

    • Linda says:

      “The aftermath”… sounds likes what’s left at the end of a war. For Miranda, you can’t see the war because it’s on the inside. But it’s there.

  5. Debbie says:

    Oh those side effects! I always marvel when there is a commercial on tv about a med and they start listing the side effects. Good grief! Is there any better medication out now to help? Pray so! Aub’s on 3 medications regularly for seizures, but when she goes ahead and has one any way, there is a 4th one she takes to stop her from having more. Oh my. I don’t know what is worse, her on the medicine or her having seizures!
    God bless you as you write Miranda’s story and for the next chapter, where things get worse. I’m buckling in with tissues handy. love and hugs!

    • Linda says:

      Hi Debbie… The side effects I listed are for an atypical antipsychotic called Abilify which was not yet developed at this point in the story. Although I haven’t taken it, I’m told it can be worse than the condition it’s meant to treat.

      “Buckling in with the tissues…” Too funny. ; )

  6. ann says:


    I echo the sentiments … There is worse? Oy vey. (I’m afraid to think what could be worse so I’ll just be right here waiting. Patiently? Not so much…)


    • Linda says:

      I know. It’s hard to believe, but look at this girl’s track record. Good or bad, the next big jump will be the last.

  7. Ferd says:

    I can relate to Miranda. I took many losses as a result of addiction, poor boundaries…

    On a lighter note, though, I do have to laugh at the commercials on TV for Abilify. At the end of the commercials they go into this rapid fire listing of its HORRIBLE side effects. Who would ever want to try the drug after that!? Ha!

    • Linda says:

      Ferd, you were the first to nail the drug that matches those side effects. Those TV ads got my attention, too. Nothing like a black box warning to make you feel better!

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