Night of Hell due to Acute Alcohol Poisoning

Yes, you read that title correctly. Yesterday, I spent the entire night at the hospital. Not for myself, but for my roommate, Harley. And no, it wasn't because she drank too much and was irresponsible. She was going out with a few co-workers to see a movie, and before they saw the movie they were going to have a simple appetizer and a drink at the restaurant across the street from the theater. That would be very simple, where you wouldn't except a night of hell to come out of. But unfortunately it did, as somehow their one drink (shown below) each were spiked with something. Either powdered alcohol or GHB.

Just a side note before story time of yesterday's adventure with acute alcohol poisoning: I'm not going to mention the restaurant by name in this post as I don't know if it was the fault of the restaurant or someone who slipped something into Harley's and her friends' drinks between the time they were made by the manager that evening and the time they went to their table on the patio by their waitress. Plus the general manager was ever so kind and had filed the incident with the health inspector and said if there were any medical expenses from the Emergency Room visit they would cover them for Harley. However, I will probably never be going to that restaurant in the future personally because of this.

Each of them had ordered a margarita as they were at a Mexican restaurant and split a tray of nachos. Plus many food critics say they have one of the best house margarita's in the state of Minnesota. All perfectly fine as they were going to go see a two hour movie before any of them were going to drive. They each had also eaten dinner before arriving to the restaurant, so it wasn't like they were on an empty stomach by any means. And I want to state that Harley can typically have one drink and be 100% fine. But when they got their drinks, something wasn't right with them. We checked with the general manager of the establishment and they claim they make a batch of margarita mix with only 4 oz. of tequila before adding triple sec and margarita mix that is used for hundreds of people that order the drink. So it wasn't like their drinks should've had too much alcohol in them.

But everyone at their table tasted that it was strong, maybe even too strong looking back on it. One took a few sips then decided not to finish it for one reason or another. The next had half of hers and felt drunk (As a note though this is a story about what happened to Harley, this individual was still feeling drunk when she left Harley and I at the hospital five hours later). Harley had finished hers as she figured she would be fine after the movie was over, and if not she planned on calling me to pick her up.

They then went across the street and got their tickets for the movie, and shortly into the movie the evening took the turn for the worst as my roommate became violently ill and vomiting. Her friends got her to the bathroom then called me to quickly get there to take her home. But the second, I arrived and heard what happened I knew it wasn't so simple. It took a little convincing to get Harley to leave the stall and get into my car so I could take her to the hospital.

Once there, which was maybe two hours after they had left that restaurant, we were treated like we were all just a bunch of drunk individuals and they completely ignored my remarks and requests for a GHB test for Harley. They did all the other normal tests like blood alcohol level, electrolytes, white blood cell count, etc. Which we had to wait several hours for the result, at which point her friends had left as they had to work really early in the morning. So I was left trying to keep Harley awake, but luckily they said it was fine to let Harley just drift off to sleep as I had always heard never to allow a person with alcohol poisoning to do. But that was probably as she was no longer getting violently ill thanks to the de-nauseating pill they gave her. So it was a welcomed change, as I didn't have to keep her awake and she wasn't vomiting anymore.

When we got the finally results back, we found out her blood alcohol level was 0.156 which is twice the legal limit. One drink should've only, maybe, put it at 0.04 if she had inhaled it and didn't eat anything before or while drinking. And if she hadn't been drinking water at the same time, which she had been. So no where near acute alcohol poisoning as she was diagnosed with. Luckily when she woke up, she was still drunk but at a level that she would normally be at after a normal four drinks. As compared to the equivalent of maybe eight shots when I had arrived at the movie theater to get her.

We also learned, they didn't run the GHB test as I can requested as they thought we were lying through our teeth about the amount of alcohol she had. Which I think is ridiculous, yes we are twenty two but when someone requests that their friend be tested for the date rape drug, you run the test for the date rape drug! And she had every sign of GHB:

  • Trouble talking
  • Trouble standing or moving in general
  • Confusion
  • Gaps in memory/amnesia
  • Extreme Nausea/upset stomach/vomiting
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Sweating
  • High blood pressure

But they at least claimed on the phone that they were going to send what they had from the blood draws over to the outsourced place that tests for that kind of thing. I don't know if it will honestly come back with anything as it was well after two hours from when she left the restaurant to when the blood draw was so any GHB could've been out of her system or undetectable. As of writing this post, we still have not heard back from the hospital on the results.

Harley is doing much better now though she still doesn't remember what happened for the most part, has a serious hang over, and slept almost all day. We're working with the local police of where that restaurant is located and filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau as their drinks were either made incorrectly though they claim they weren't or got spiked prior to them arriving at their table.

But to leave this very dark, unpleasant post on a better, more positive-ish note here are just some tips on how to reduce your chances of becoming a victim of being given a roofie:

  • Don't accept drinks from others.
  • Open all containers yourself if you are at a party.
  • Don't share drinks with anyone.
  • Keep an eye on your drink at all times. If you have to leave it behind, consider that drink dead and get a new one. Also pour it out so no one else can drink it.
  • Make sure you are with people you can trust.
  • Don't drink from common beverages like punch bowls or flasks.
  • Make sure you see the drink being prepared especially if it's from a bar.
  • If a drink tastes or smells strange, pour it out.
  • Have someone as a designated driver who can keep an eye out on anyone who is drinking.
  • If you feel any of the effects above or feel drunk even though you haven't had any alcohol or it's not what is normal for your tolerance and the amount you have drank, seek help immediately.

I still find it sad that this is something we have to look out for especially if you go to a restaurant and hadn't even gotten your drink from the waitress/waiter yet. But unfortunately, it happens so try your best to stay safe.