I have mentioned in passing that last week I worked the 4:30 am to 1 pm shift at the Skunk Works. The shift itself is, well, just another Engineering shift, albeit one with several hours of live news (meaning the occasional hurried duct-tape repair) and a lot less adult supervision. I've worked it before and as long as you don't mind being up and about while others are snug abed, it hadn't been especially dreadful.
I even started with sufficient sleep.
What I didn't start with was.... Oh, not much. I was out of oatmeal. I was out of B-complex vitamins -- I don't take massive amounts but what I do take makes a difference. And at the Skunk Works, we'd just received a remarkably complex device with two (count 'em) two befuddlingly complex manuals (hardware and software) of the sort that tell everything except how to make The Widget actually do anything.
In the back of the cupboard, I had some time-release 500-mg niacin and to what I use instead of a mind at 0300, that was just as good as the B-100 pills, right?* Ate something, not much, scrubbed up, got on the scooter and off I went.
Took about three hours before I ran outta steam, badly, and spent the next five fighting to stay awake and make coherent notes anent The Widget, In the interim and entirely unbeknownst to me, the "time release" had behaved more like a slow fuse than an hourglass: about an hour into the day, my ears lit up, I began to itch all over and my temper, usually mild-to-quietly-snarky, went very short indeed.
I didn't associate the symptoms with the pill, just gulped my coffee, seethed and kept on beating my soft, fluffy head against the gritty brick wall of Systemic Documentation Failures: How To Hide The Forest In The Trees.
At the end of my day, I was in no shape to ride but it's something of a long walk even not pushing a small, heavy motorized vehicle, sooo... Did well enough, if the near-miss at a huge steel plate laid across the width of one lane counts. At least it was a nice adrenaline hit!
Once back home, I decided I'd better stick the car for the rest of the week. And I realized I was too sleepy to go hit the market.
Next day, same thing, different vehicle. Right down to the hot flash and itchiness and lousy temper. Still didn't put it together.
By Friday, my mood was abysmal, the flushing and itching was hittin' each and every morning, and I had developed a couple of disturbingly sizeable mouth sores. It was at that point that a light clicked on and I typed "symptoms niacin overdose" into Google.
Yep. A week it took. And the symptoms are a more than close match for mine.
...Though I did sleep most of Saturday away, droppin' the not-exactly-time-release overdose was all it took. No more red-hot ears and face, no more crawling skin, and the delightful other problems were gone.
Now, if I can just get The Widget working (couple'a teensy little issues to resolve), things will be back as normal as they ever are!
* Not even hardly.
YANKEE RADIO TOOL KIT, #106
4 weeks ago