Wednesday, June 1, 2016

My Experience with Special K by Rolynn Anderson

You think I’m talking about cereal, don’t you?  Far from it.  Special K, K, or Cat Valium are street names for ketamine.  When used responsibly, ketamine is an effective anesthetic for animals and humans, especially kind to the respiratory system.  In an expert’s hands, the drug is effective, especially as an anesthetic for infants because their respiratory system is still developing.  On the street, ketamine is a hallucinogen, sold in powder or pill form.  A two hour high might be the result; if you’re one of the 10-20% adversely affected by the drug, you might be looking at a nightmare.  Too much of the drug and you’re a corpse.

Why care about K?  For CEZANNE’S GHOST, I was looking for a drug which subdues a kidnapped victim over a period of weeks.  I did my research and picked ketamine.  My heroine, an FBI agent, must fake ingesting the drug, so I had to understand how she would react to it.  Mind you, with only a couple of experiences with pot in my twenties and too few examples of feeling tipsy with booze, I had a lot of research to do.

Then…I had some minor surgery, just days ago.  Same-day service.  A mild anesthetic, I was told; a local used on the operating surface of my body.  No big deal, right?

Until the anesthesiologist shot me up with twenty-five milligrams of ketamine (I found out later).  Guess what?  I’m one of the 10-20% adversely affected by the drug.  The dysphoria I felt was truly alarming.  I heard my voice over my body saying: “Help!  Something’s wrong!  What’s happening?  I’m in trouble.  Help me!”  I could not see the room; only a beige atmosphere surrounded me.  I heard disembodied voices soothe me.  I think someone touched me to show me they were there, but none of that helped.  Distressing does not describe the incident well enough.

Later, the anesthesiologist explained what happened and assured me he offset the ketamine with a drug that calmed me.  When I explained to him my research on ketamine and we agreed I had an episode of dysphoria, he seemed pleased with my level of knowledge.  In fact, he gave me his card and said he’d help with any information I needed about drugs for my novels.


Yup, novel writing is full of adventures and surprises.  And coincidences galore!  I can now describe what my victims endured when they suffered from ketamine’s effects.  Even better, I’ve got an expert to consult when I have questions about drug use.  My scary out-of-of body experience?  Ah, what the heck.  It’s all for the good cause of writing an accurate suspense/mystery novel!    

My books are detailed on: http://rolynnanderson.com  


13 comments:

Krishan Arora said...

Great post. love it. Keep posting like these articles.

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Alicia Dean said...

Ha, is it bad that my mind DID go to the drug, rather than the cereal? :) I'd heard of it, not sure how. SO sorry about your experience, but it was certainly handy for your research. Fascinating! Your book sounds great!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks Krishan. Life is always a good source for writers.

Alicia, you may have more 'experience' than I do...LSD was all around me in college and beyond, but I was too afraid to try it. I hate that out-of-control feeling I had with ketamine. But I got a way to describe it in my book. Yay!

Mackenzie Crowne said...

Wow, Rolynn. Research is one thing but yikes! The out of control thing doesn't work for me either. I would would have freaked! Still, how cool that you'd done the research and had at least a level of understanding. And how cool that you now have a resource contact? :-)

Jannine Gallant said...

Congrats on now having hands on knowledge! Okay, maybe it was a rough way to get it. Ugh. I was also the good girl in college who never experimented with drugs. I never drink more than a glass or two of wine because I hate not feeling totally in control. Hmm, maybe this is why we aren't famous. We don't drink like Hemingway or Joyce or Faulkner...

Margo Hoornstra said...

Terrifying! But all I can think, Rolynn, is 'how cool'! What a way to get first hand knowledge and a professional resource to boot. You go, woman!

Vonnie Davis said...

I don't handle most anesthesia well, either. That "out of body" feeling would have freaked this "need to control things" person. So glad it wasn't a long lasting episode. Research can go wacko sometimes. I'm now sporting a butterfly tattoo on my right ring finger. Don't ask...

Leah St. James said...

Pretty scary, Rolynn! I'm glad you were able to put a silver lining around the experience! Like you and Vonnie, I usually have a strong reaction to anesthesia, so I'll try to retain this in the back of my brain...just in case!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Totally freaked by your experience. I can't stand being out of control of my body and mind. I am so anti-drug now that I won't even do Novocaine unless the dentist twists my arm. I say now because, without divulging too much, I did my share of highs when I was younger. But since you were fine in the end, I say...wow what research!

Alison Henderson said...

I sympathize completely. I have bad reactions to virtually every form of anesthesia and all opiates. I can't for the life of me understand anyone voluntarily abusing them! I've had Fentanyl twice for minor surgery, and both times I was nearly hysterical - not fun for me or the doctor.

andreadowning.com said...

Rolynn, I am now in the middle of Fear Land and VERY impressed with your level of research--but this is ridiculous! Kidding aside, been there (in a way) Once, after an op, they couldn't get me awake--could hear stuff but not move. It's really scary to lose control like that. And, btw, did you ever tell your students you'd taken pot???

Rolynn Anderson said...

Andrea, thanks for the kudo about my Fear Land research. I really had to dig...thank goodness my good friend is a therapist for soldiers with PTSD...but the whole idea of vetting recruits...to determine if they're can handle being a soldier...lots of interesting stuff. Yes, that idea of 'out of body' and hearing self and other people. So weird! And I did tell my students I had two experience with pot...our generation had a habit of full disclosure in the 1970's, especially.

Alison, Vonnie and Leah...you all have reactions to anesthesia. Oddly enough, they might have given you ketamine as an alternative!

Mac, Margo and Brenda - I know, scary to be out of control...I hate it. And Jannine I'm with you on the booze cautions. Nowadays I get kind of dozy with wine...I wouldn't write that well 'on wine.' I don't know how artists manage when they're high...seems like you'd have to start all over when you saw the mess you made under the influence!

Diane Burton said...

What a terrifying experience, Rolynn. Only a writer would think afterward how to use it in a story. So glad you're okay.