Entry 175: Case History–Withdrawal Symptoms

As Hurricane Sandy approached, our daughter’s boyfriend Alex arrived with a large duffel bag, intending to spend the duration of the storm and its aftermath in our home. During the following days, when we were left without cable service, I was able to observe the following symptoms of withdrawal:

Excessive pacing. Subject displayed periods of constant movement, but covered very little ground. His frantic pacing would not even be from one end of a room to the other; it was  more likely to be from one side of the kitchen counter to the other. At times he simply shifted his weight from one leg to the other as if he had to go to the bathroom. It turns out that the duffel bag he had brought was filled only with many pairs of socks and some frozen pizzas. We now knew what all the socks were for; at this rate of pacing he would wear them out quickly. We’re not sure about the pizzas.

Restless leg while seated. When seated, and even while eating, subject’s right leg would bounce uncontrollably in time to some rhythm only he could hear. Girlfriend would try to end this by pressing gently on the leg. When that didn’t work, she would try some calming words, such as “WILL YOU STOP IT!”

Trembling of thumbs. Subject’s thumbs appeared to be experiencing some sort of muscle memory, often flicking around rapidly as if trying to communicate in an obscure sign language.

Lack of self-control. Subject would watch any previously downloaded material or play any game, solely out of boredom. Subject was observed watching a documentary about an unfunny comedian, then suggested playing a game which he had purchased years ago and which had 30 pages of instructions and which was largely incomprehensible.

Loss of intelligence. Although normally of average to above average intelligence, subject seemed incapable of absorbing even the most basic strategies of a child’s card game.

Manic facial expression. Subject’s eyes would occasionally move from side to side quickly, while at other times they would glaze over as if heavily sedated. Subject often observed giggling for no apparent reason. 

Deterioration of Speech. Subject lost the ability to speak coherently, frequently mumbling unintelligibly so that only his girlfriend could understand what he was saying. Often, not even she could make out his mutterings. This would result in exchanges such as:

Alex: [Unintelligible]

Parent (to daughter): What did he say?

Daughter: He’s bored.

Alex: [Unintelligible]

Parent (to daughter): What did he say?

Daughter: I don’t know. 

(UPDATE: Further investigation of this symptom revealed that this is, in fact, how the subject always talks.)

Desperate measures. As soon as feasible, subject fled the safety of our home to seek out relief from withdrawal anxiety. This involved circumnavigating toppled utility poles, and loose, possibly live wires. The purpose was to locate his next fix, and he finally located a source at the public library of the next town. Once there, he was able to get back online, and symptoms instantly lessened.

While our hearts go out to all those who are suffering immeasurably more than we are as a result of the storm, we ask that you please keep Alex in your thoughts. Because if we don’t get our cable back soon so he can get online, I might kill him.

See you soon.

P.S. Our power is out, too, because there are downed utility poles and wires all over our neighborhood, but we have a generator, although the generator is running out of propane because we can’t get a propane delivery because the propane truck can’t get into our neighborhood because of all the downed utility poles and wires.. Connecticut Light & Power keeps saying that “We are assessing the situation.” That statement would be more accurate if you put a period after the fifth letter of the third word and deleted the rest of the sentence.

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One Response to Entry 175: Case History–Withdrawal Symptoms

  1. Ruth Flaster says:

    Hope things getbetter soon.Send Alex back to his family. The younger generation just doesn’t get it.

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