Nitrous Oxide (dental procedure) and insufficient Vitamin B12

A not good time was had by me. I’m not writing about this so I can get pity or sympathy, but so that at least if someone on the Internet talks about it then someone else who runs into it and can’t figure out what happened might learn an explanation for it. Also, I’d like anyone who spoke with me to know that the time may just be gone for me.

On Monday night, I had a lot of stress (from my extended adult family) and a scheduled dental appointment I could not change and apparently a non-clinical deficiency of Vitamin B12 (and maybe a congenital tendency).

I found this out by having a really bad 48 hour nitrous oxide induced trip after the dentist’s appointment where I had memory problems, cognitive difficulties and difficulty with paranoia, identity and continuity.

This is apparently not unknown and actually not that rare. From the medical research I could do on the Internet it looks like somewhere between 5% and 20% of folks who go on nitrous oxide have this reaction at least one time in their lives. I think the primary issue here is that we’re not usually aware when our B12 is low. Also it seemed like there was mention of a congenital factor in this issue but I didn’t find a coherent, reliable pattern in the literature.

Anyone who called me or e-mailed me or did anything with me on Tuesday or Wednesday of last week be advised that I likely have no or unreliable memory of it. Also, if I did anything odd, that would be why. I apologize for it, but there it is. Thursday may be iffy as well. I’ve been taking a lot of Vitamin B12 (it’s water soluble, so like C, if you overdose you just flush it) since then and things seem to be back to normal.

I guess that it’s good news in a way – I got to find out what I am like when I’m like that for long periods. Apparently most people thought I was a little off but didn’t see anything serious. So the disturbance was mostly internal.

Internally, though, I thought I was broken, insane somehow or just damaged. It was intensely frustrating, especially how the discontinuity would interrupt my thought train, or I’d have to back up and figure out what I’d done. Fortunately at work my work has lately been very detail oriented and documentation oriented, so I could do that.