Mike Kueber's Blog

October 13, 2013

The lost night

Filed under: Culture,Medical — Mike Kueber @ 2:28 am
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There is an Academy Award-winning movie titled The Lost Weekend.  In the 1945 movie, an alcoholic writer goes on a binge that results in a foggy memory of a weekend.  That sounds like to a more recent movie titled The Hangover, but without the alcoholic component.  While visiting Aneta last week, I had a similar experience.

On one of my first days in North Dakota, I went golfing in McVille with two old friends.  After playing nine holes, we decided to have a beer at a McVille bar before returning to Aneta.  One thing led to another, and after four rounds of light beer, we finally headed back to Aneta.  We were planning to have a beer in Aneta’s bar, but I suggested the weather was so nice that we should drink instead on a friend’s patio.  While my two friends drank beer, I took some spiced rum and diet coke from my car’s trunk.  Soon another friend and the wife of one of my friends joined us for this Happy Hour party.  I remember having one 12-oz. diet coke with two shots (my standard mix), and then starting on another around 6 pm, and that is the last thing I remember of that night.  The next thing I remember, I was waking in the driver’s seat of my car at 5:30 am.

What the hell happened?  According to my friends, we had a really good time with a lively conversation.  Then my friend’s wife made me a drink, and unbeknownst to me, filled my glass half full of spiced rum before adding some diet coke.  When another friend expressed concern that the drink was too strong, she responded that I would let her know if that were the case.

Well, apparently, I didn’t complain and proceeded to consume most of the drink.  My friends decided there was a problem later when I fell over walking behind their garage to take a leak.  Wisely, they decided I shouldn’t drive home, but after driving about a mile toward the family farm, I persuaded them to let me sleep it off in my car.  That worked fine for us, but his neighbor reported that she was surprised at 2 am when she took her dog outside and saw a man taking a leak alongside my car.

According to Wikipedia, this phenomenon is called a blackout:

  • Blackouts are commonly associated with the consumption of large amounts of alcohol; however, surveys of drinkers experiencing blackouts have indicated that they are not directly related to the amount of alcohol consumed. Respondents reported they frequently recalled having “drank as much or more without memory loss,” compared to instances of blacking out.  Subsequent research has indicated that blackouts are most likely caused by a rapid increase in a person’s blood-alcohol concentration.

The rapid increase in BAC appears to be what happened.  I always drink at a moderate pace and never drink shots, and because I’ve never blacked out before, or even fallen down while drinking, I plan to consider this incident to be an aberration.