November 21st, 2009

Wake up and smell the roses!
  • bikz

Curiosity Kills

Every bulimic has heard of ipecac. In any lengthy piece of literature about bulimia, abuse of syrup of ipecac will be mentioned. It seems like the perfect solution. One spoonful of this, and you puke your guts up. Much better than the water weight you lose on laxatives, much easier than spending ages bent over the bog with your finger down your throat, hoping against hope that you get it all up - this does it for you, and you'll puke until there's nothing left.

You know the warnings. You know that it can kill. But also, you know that you binge, and you can't keep it down. Especially when your finger stops working .... ipecac is The Way.

I personally remember buying my first packet of Senokot. The woman at the counter looked me up and down, and said, "these are only for occasional use". I felt a triumph in that, as in, "this woman's so thin that she must have an eating disorder". When thinking about going to the pharmacy to buy real ipecac, it's not like they can stop me because I'm too thin, that's hardly legal - but they'd stand there trying to. Also, I don't know if ipecac is sold in the UK. So I ordered online. Typically, without breaking the bank on a massive first aid kit with a tiny bottle of the syrup, I couldn't find any - but my curiosity, like ipecac itself, was killer.

First of all, cough syrup containing a minuscule amount of ipecacuanha does not work as an emetic. It isn't potent enough to make you do any more than gag a bit. (Oh yes, and a lot of dribbling. My mouth was like a waterfall.) On the plus side, it treats your cough, it tastes nice, and a low, dilute amount is nowhere near as dangerous as the poison control would be. But to be honest, danger wasn't high on my list of priorities, taste even further down, and I don't even have a cough. Getting my lunch up was what I wanted.

And so, ipecac. What have I achieved? I've got my badge of honour saying "I tried ipecac", but what good is a badge of honour when I don't want anyone to see it?

If you got hold of poison control ipecac, you may have thrown up. A lot. The black and white "down and up" won't have been as easy as you thought. You may have been really ill, and had to go to hospital. I may not have tried real syrup of ipecac, but I've read enough on it, and felt the desperation to use it so much so that cough syrup was "worth buying". (Yup, my futile attempt at recovery's going great.) Curiosity kills. Literally.