Three days ago I gave up on denial: I do not have allergies, I have a cold. That's why the eyes are streaming and the nose is itching and my head is so full of fluid I'm sloshing when I nod.
Unfortunately there is only one thing that makes it possible for me to sleep through the congestion: Nyquil.
The trouble is Nyquil gives me nightmares. I haven't had dreams this sick since they put me on steriods in the hospital fifteen years ago. (The dreams involved the never-made-it pop duo Nelson and a flannel pajama factory. Dont' ask.)
I read the ingredients on the Nyquil label. Then I went to the NIH website searching for clues as to why I was turning into a midnight psychopath.
Big waste of time.
There are basically three ingredients in Nyquil: acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and doxylamine.
Acetaminophen is a fever reducer. No interesting side effects but lots of warnings about your liver.
Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant that may also make you drowsy, dizzy, lightheaded or restless. I'm not convinced you can be drowsy and restless at the same time, but maybe you can if you knock back enough of this stuff.
Doxylamine is an antihistamine sometimes prescribed for short-term treatment of insomina. In other words that's the stuff that's supposed to make you sleepy. Unless it makes you nervous and/or excitable, both possible side effects, along with vision problems, dry mouth, and a few others. Nothing about nightmares.
The only thing I came away with from the NIH website was the extraordinary display of pointless warnings our government agencies are capable of churning out.
Favorite non-warning: "Although studies on birth defects with hydrocodone have not been done in humans, it has not been reported to cause birth defects in humans."
Maybe that will be my next nightmare: I'l find myself trapped in the NIH, forced to write warning labels on OTC cold remedies.