Gonna Make You Sweat - 11.17.97

Quite a few essays back, I was talking a lot about dreams and even wrote up one that I had recently. One thing that I didn't really talk about is re-occurring dreams and nightmares. Although I don't have any trouble with either one of these now, it used to be a big problem with me when I was really young.

I'm not quite sure of my age when it all happened, but I had re-occurring dreams for about a year when I was very young. They weren't caused by any traumatic experience, or from watching a scary movie. Instead, it was more of a medical condition. I'm not sure what the name of it was, but it caused my fever to jump 5 degrees or so in only a short amount of time. I would be sleeping along when suddenly my temperature would rise and I would wake up drenched in sweat.

My nightmares didn't even really start right when the fevers did. The first couple times I had them, I would toss and turn until I woke up. My parents would hear me thrashing around in the middle of the night and come in. The first time, they didn't quite know what was going on. They pulled me out of my bed as I was crying and took me into the bathroom and plopped me down in the bathtub. The cold water would surround my body and eventually I was able to calm down enough. The fever would subside and I would go back to bed. It didn't take place every night, but only a few times was still enough to put quite a shock into both me and my parents.

One night, it happened a little worse than normal. My parents had put me into a cold bath, but it wasn't helping. My temperature was very high and it wasn't going down any. I barely remember any of it, but my mom tells me that I was hallucinating, screaming and hitting her while she was trying to calm me down. After awhile, they packed me up and we bolted to the hospital emergency room where I was finally cooled down and given sedatives to put me back to sleep. Also that evening, the doctor gave me a prescription medicine that I was to take in order to help my condition.

When I awoke the next day, I remember my mom getting out the bottle of medicine I had been given and telling me that I had to take it. She popped it open and poured out my dosage of the thick liquid. I watched as the amber-colored medicine coated the spoon and wondered how it would taste. I held my nose and closed my eyes, but it didn't make the taste go away. It was the most medicinal, bitter tasting substance that had ever crossed my palette. It was so horrible that I got a shiver through my body and rushed for something else to wash it down with. There was no amount of sugar that would help this medicine go down.

After somewhat getting the taste out of my mouth, I asked my mom if I could see the bottle. She gave it to me and I held it up in front of the light to look at it a bit closer. The bottle was one of those old, brown ones and it looked almost like the color of the medicine when the light shone through it. The medicine inside moved from side to side sluggishly as I tipped it around. I quickly gave it back to my mom, not wanting to associate with it any more than I needed to.

After a couple days of taking my medicine and nothing happening, I thought that everything was working. The disgusting junk must have actually been doing something, because I sleeping whole nights without problem.

Then one night, it all started again. This time, I remembered my dreams vividly, because they were ones that would continue to haunt me. Instead of monsters chasing me or anything else, the thing that scared me about my dreams was very simple. It was the medicine. In my dreams, I would be walking around as if awake. Everything was normal and in its place, except for one thing. No matter where I looked, everything was shaded with the dull brown I had seen that day when I looked through the medicine bottle. Everything looked as though it were being seen through a brown filter. I even remember looking out the window in my dream, only to see that the sun had a dull, brown glow to it.

There was one other thing that scared me about these dreams. Whenever I tried to grasp something, I couldn't. I would pick it up, but it would slide through my fingers like sand and then fall back into place exactly as it were. I couldn't pick up anything and I couldn't open doors or windows. I was trapped in two rooms of my house as the dull brown haze enveloped everything. I would then start trying to scream, but absolutely no sound would escape. In my dream, I would run frantically from room to room, trying to find a way out, or even yell for someone to help me.

Even after the fevers had subsided for good, I would regularly have these sorts of dreams. Eventually, I figured out how I could control them more and I stopped having them all together. To this day, it is the only time I've ever had re-occurring dreams and nightmares. It sucked for me that just happened to be combined into the same thing (with a dangerous fever to boot).