Thursday, February 21, 2008

The time I drank Pine-Sol...

[DISCLAIMER: I've gotten some traffic to this story from searches like, "What should I do if I drink pine-sol?" If you just drank Pine-sol, please call 911 immediately. Consuming pine oil can cause injury and death. If you're Googling that because you're considering drinking Pine-sol for fun, you're an idiot.] This is a story from the summer of 2002. It's not for the faint of heart (or faint of stomach). I was living in Venice Beach at the time, still dating Erin, and what I remember most about the setup here is that it was a hot night, really hot. The Venice apartment didn't have air-conditioning, and generally, you didn't notice, because the beach winds usually kept things cool enough, but not that night. That night was sweaty hot, enough so that I was on top of the blankets, wide awake. Looking back, it's possible the incident I'm about to describe took place after sex (Erin was over, after all), but I don't particularly remember sex that night, just the heat. I was very dehydrated, so I asked her where her water bottle was. With Erin, you didn't have to ask if she had a water bottle, just where it was. She was a water-bottle girl, always had one nearby. She told me it was on the table. Actually there were a few tables, a bedside table, a computer desk, and a coffee table by a couch. As far as I can recall, I didn't ask which table she meant, and as you'll see, maybe I should have. I assumed she meant the coffee table. That's where I found it, anyway. A single bottle, the only item on the coffee table. And I began to drink. This is the point in the story I remember most vividly. Drinking from that water bottle. I was a little dizzy, maybe the result of standing up too quickly from bed. But soon, I realized it was a serious kind of dizzy. I figured drinking water would help, so I kept drinking, but a wave of nausea came over me fast. My body was reacting, convulsing almost. I was choking on the water. Erin heard my freaky noises and asked what was wrong, but I couldn't answer. I didn't know what was happening and I couldn't speak. She turned on the light and looked at me stunned. It took me a moment to realize what she was seeing, I was drinking Pine-sol. Before I go on, you may need some background. I have a condition known as Ageusia. It means I have no sense of taste. I didn't lose it, I just never had it. And if you're wondering about smell, the answer is no, I can't smell either. That's called Anosmia. I'll write more about this at a later time, as people usually have a good deal of questions, but it takes us out of the story. For now, suffice it to say, I couldn't smell the pine-sol, and I couldn't taste it. The experience I was having--my body wretching as the liquid passed through--that was probably the closest I've ever come to tasting. I run to the toilet and throw up. In a few minutes, I throw up again. And again. Erin calls the poison-control hotline, and I take the phone to talk to them in my now raspy voice. I say, "I've just dranken pine-sol. Can I die from this?" "How old is the child?" "I'm talking about me. I drank the pine-sol. I'm twenty four." There was a long pause, before the poison-control lady said, "Why would you drink pine-sol?" Usually I'm happy to discuss and explain Ageusia, but this was different. "Can you just answer my 'am I going to die' question first?" "You really shouldn't drink Pine-sol." Thank god for experts. By the end of the conversation, I learned that I would be throwing up for a long time, which I sensed already. As long I was throwing up though, things were pretty much okay. Apparently also, this Pine-sol would have really messed with my sense of taste for the next few weeks if I'd had a sense of taste to mess with. I spent the night hovering over the toilet bowl, with Erin making regular deliveries of water, fuel to my vomit. Once she knew I was going to live, the whole thing became pretty amusing for her. She pointed out that my vomit didn't look like vomit. It was sudsy, bubbly, and clean. "You should vomit on the bathroom floor," she suggested, "and wipe it up between bursts." I was a human cleaning product. Ever since, and I swear this is true, I have a genuine fear of Pine-sol. I shudder when I pass it in the market. I never buy the stuff. I had a cleaning lady who purchased it once and left a bottle under the sink. I had to throw out a nearly full bottle. And of course, I've learned to put-away cleaning products when not in use. I have to child-proof my place, even though I live alone. How old is the child, indeed.

21 comments:

Samuel Brainsample said...

That's pretty hilarious. I've now bookmarked the site, and I'll be sure to check back later.

Also, just so you know, spaghetti carbonara, brick-oven pizza, and pad thai are all delicious. But I imagine that not being able to smell methane and roadside landfills is pretty cool too.

Cameron said...

Thanks for the encouraging words, Mr. Brainsample! Believe it or not, I'm a decent pasta chef and a fan of spaghetti carbonara, despite my tastelessness. For me, it's all about texture. I'll try to have some additional stories of Ageusia for when you return. :)

michael said...

Almost the exact same thing happened to an ex-girlfriend of mine. She accidentally drank some bleach and the poison control lady said almost the exact same thing....maybe it's part of the training...oh, and I'm bookmarking your site too...It will be in my list of "blogs I freqeunt" on my blog if that's cool with you.

jluros said...

I don't suppose you remember when I made you a dish soap and roll of toilet paper smoothie. I don't remember why I made it for you, but I think part of the reason was because you were thirsty, and I was 11, and it seemed like the thing to do at the time. I'm surprised we survived each other's childhoods.

jadis said...

lol erin's comment just made me crack up in trusts & wills.

i got here from the facebook note re: your obama blog, btw. i will be sure to keep up with you!

Matthew said...

I love the disclaimer. Reminds me of my wikipedia user page/out-of-office voicemail announcement.

Tyler said...

As a emergency doctor who had a guy come in tonight who drank not only pine sol, but minty fresh listerine also, I feel for you and your inability to distinguish water from liquid death - and the consequences.
I also envy your same advantage of not sensing the delicate perfume of urine, pine sol, and listerine with some B.O. mixed in. Cheers.

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Anonymous said...

interesting i find mysrlf craving pine sol everyday i have to put a drop on my toungue to satisfy the craving and i can taste it it is horrible

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mustang said...

Thats crazy!!!!!!sorry couldnt help laughing to.i got a drop in my eye and mouth and i was all freaked out. glad you are ok : )