Right before a long weekend during my junior year, Dutch DJ Tiësto came to town. It seemed like everyone I knew was going to the concert, including my friend who went to a school in the town over from mine. I’ve never been a heavy drinker. I never cared about getting hammered. I just liked going to parties. I used one of my skips for a night class and headed to my friend’s apartment.
After we got ready, I decided to mix a drink. Iced tea and some vodka. Nothing crazy. All of the people at the apartment were already more than a few drinks in. I had family coming up to visit me for the long weekend, so I wasn’t trying to get wasted.
A few more people came by to get another drink before we all headed to the bus to take us to the concert. There were maybe 12 of us. I introduced myself to some of them, had small talk, and then excused myself to go to the bathroom.
I have no recollection of anything after this.
Supposedly I began talking nonsense. I was saying things that didn’t even make sense. Much of it was wordless gibberish.
It was the middle of winter in February. There was ice on the ground because we were in the middle of a bunch of streets where only students lived in the houses. They were too lazy to shovel snow, probably because many of them didn’t even have a shovel. It turned to ice, and the person holding me (when they were taking me from the bus stop back inside because everyone felt I wasn’t stable enough to go to the concert) accidentally dropped me on my head. I hit ice on cement. This I vaguely remember because my teeth cut open my tongue.
That same person dropped me again on the stairs before he finally got me to my friend’s bed. He tucked me into bed and curled up next to me, telling me he was sorry. I felt like I was coming in and out of a coma. I remember catching some of what he was saying. I thought I was raped and someone was apologizing to me. I couldn’t see who this guy was, so I started freaking out as soon as he left the room. For clarification, I was not raped. This guy is one of the good ones. He would never lay a hand on me. He was intoxicated but was also the only guy who knew me, and he had carried me back to the apartment to keep me safe.
When you’re drunk, you don’t think anything is ever going to happen to your friends. You are having fun. You are taking tons of pictures, holding your drinks, buying more, dancing, and probably hooking up with someone. The last thought on your mind when you’re on your way to a rave is “Maybe Katie is on ketamine. Maybe the small amount of alcohol and high amount of ketamine in her bloodstream right now is what is causing her to act this way.”
I woke up to a female friend screaming at me. A pillow to my face got me out of the fetal position I was in as I tried to understand what she was saying to me. It took me three minutes to gather that I did something wrong. I threw up everything in my system. I threw up on her bedspread and on the wall next to her bed. I had blood on my shirt coming down from my mouth. She was yelling at me to clean up the mess I made because she wanted to go to sleep. If I hadn’t been in such a drug-induced state, I would have screamed back. Instead, I took off whatever I was wearing and started cleaning. She threw me paper towels and cleaner. I did my best to clean, but I could barely see through the haze. My eyes were glazed over. I had been crying in my sleep. I had probably started crying before I went to sleep, and then I realized I was still crying.
It was 4 AM. After cleaning and changing myself, I wanted to go back to my dorm room. It was the closest thing to home and I wanted to sleep on the memory foam and mattress pad that my mom bought me two years prior. I wanted to be in my blanket that smelled like the detergent my mom bought me. I wanted to crawl up into a ball with my stuffed animal dog because I was so scared and didn’t know what was happening to me. I could barely speak and I was afraid of the light in the kitchen where I was sitting when I called a cab that cost me $30 to drive six miles. I know this because he stopped at an ATM and I found the receipt in my bag.
When I finally got to my dorm building, most of the people who had gone to the concert were sound asleep. But there was someone in the foyer that looked familiar. He lived down the hall from me. He looked at me and hugged me. I don’t remember really much about what happened. I know he called Public Safety and stayed with me until 6 AM.
I know a doctor saw me. He told me that had I not thrown up I would have died because no one was sober enough to realize how serious this was. I was always the DD, the friend that you call when you have a problem. I was never the friend that you think would have been roofied by a horse tranquilizer.
Apparently I had been in an unexpected dissociative state brought on by someone putting ketamine in my drink. I did not know this until the following Monday when I got my results back from the doctor.
According to DrugAbuse.gov, “At higher doses, ketamine can cause dreamlike states and hallucinations; and at higher doses still, ketamine can cause delirium and amnesia.” The site states that ketamine, in high doses, can cause impaired motor function, high blood pressure, and potentially fatal respiratory problems.
I was in what the doctor told me was a K-hole.
The next day felt like it had been eternity since the night before. I was happy my roommate had gone home or stayed in another friend’s room because I was so sensitive to light. I showered in the dark. I cried all the time. My eyes were puffy but I was hoping whoever remained on my small college campus for the long weekend would not notice. I went to the gym because I work out all of the time. I normally run over five miles a day. My head was killing me so I sat on the bike. After 15 minutes I left. I was constantly throwing up that day but I didn’t have food in my stomach. I asked that guy who I felt had saved me to come with me to the dining hall. I was afraid to be in my room for some reason, but I didn’t tell him. We talked about nonsense, about how much work we had to do. When I was about to thank him, another friend came to sit with us.
My family came to visit me for a couple of days and I pretended like nothing happened. I smiled for the first time in what felt like years. I ate real food and laughed. I cuddled with my baby cousin and felt something that ketamine could never take away from me, although it felt like it did—my happiness.
After my family left, I picked up my test results to see everything the doctor told me in writing. My friend whose apartment I was at said they believed they know who put the drug in my drink, but the person denied it. We have no idea how it got in my glass. I brought my cup to the bathroom with me. Maybe my back was turned and someone slipped it into my glass. I most likely will never know.
I’ve never told my family this. Eventually maybe they will read this or I will tell them. For now, this is in the past. I barely drink. Actually the last time I drank was six months ago for my birthday.
My point for writing is to explain that this can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. I am not telling you to never drink. Just be safe.
You may say it would never happen to you. I always thought and believed the same thing. Until it did.
College has this warped ability to make you feel invincible, as if everything possible in the real world cannot happen to you. But it can, and unfortunately it caught up to me.
Date-rape drugs are increasingly prevalent on college campuses. I recommend the articles below for more info and ways to prevent this from happening again.