Huffing and Puffing and Blowing Your Whole House Down
The title was irresistible, just as intended. No, not because of the huffing the clip teased. But because of how much huffing it teased.
A Man Huffed Paint Thinner For 7 Hours And This Happened
Anyone with even a smattering of curiosity would want to know what “This” actually meant. In the six months since the clip hit YouTube, that added up to 1,251,515 anyones.
Make that 1,251,516.
Huffing Gets Ugly
The clip concerns an 18-year-old male named CJ. Our subject apparently picked up a penchant for industrial grade chemicals in his early teens. CJ dug the way huffing caused his voice to erupt in a high-pitched squeal. He also dug the way the chemicals kept him from thinking about himself.
CJ simply thought he was bored though. The inhalant lover also thought he “could stop huffing any time that he liked.”
CJ was wrong on both counts.
One day CJ huffed himself right out of his house and on to the side of some train tracks. Passersby found him incoherent, disheveled and curled up around a can of paint thinner. So they immediately called 911.
That’s where we come in.
At the ER, CJ presented with a distinct lack of muscle tone. In fact, one ER worker described him as “floppy and sloppy.” He was also speaking “incoherent words in an unusually high-pitched voice.”
But that wasn’t the half of it.
It wasn’t hard to deduce CJ had been huffing. What was hard to deduce was the amount of damage he’d suffered on account of that huffing.
“Clearly the inhalants did something to his brain because he doesn’t know where he is,” thought medical personnel, “but maybe they also did something to his muscles because he’s much weaker than normal.”
The ER staff was puzzled. Muscles are controlled through the nerves, not the brain. Did the huffing affect both? Or was it simply attacking his muscles?
When inhalant-soaked oxygen enters the bloodstream things get ugly real quick. In the first place, inhalants are primarily oil and oxygen is made up of good ol’ H2O. Oil and water of course just don’t mix. Never have. And never will.
From then on out it’s really a question of chemicals – or the human body’s attempt to right itself after being bombarded with bad chemicals. In CJ’s case, it’s a nasty-ass concoction called toluene.
While the sickeningly sweet smelling yet colorless toluene is commonly found in gasoline, as well as in paints, lacquers, inks, adhesives, rubber, and cleaning agents, the chemical also has a lot of uncommon characteristics. Most notable of those perhaps is its capacity to vaporize as soon as it comes in contact with room temperature air.
According to the New Jersey Department of Health’s Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet, toluene, which is also called methylbenzene, also has the capacity to accumulate static electricity.
In other words, not something you want yo put into your system. And most certainly not something you want to keep putting into your system. Sure, the brain does have a remarkable ability to snap back from a bad impact. Remember though, that ability only lasts so long.
CJ’s continued incoherence seemed to indicate his brain’s bounce-back date had expired.
Huffing Gets Even Uglier
But CJ’s brain wasn’t the only part of his body suffering from his huffing. His heart was behaving abnormally too. In fact, it seemed to be shaking rather than beating. Needless to say, the med staff was only more puzzled – and further alarmed.
See the heart is a cardiac muscle while the arms and legs are skeletal muscles. While they may look alike, the two are connected to the brain by different nerves. We won’t pretend to understand the in’s and the out’s of CJ’s “metabolic disfunction” (for that you’ll have to watch the clip itself), but once bits and pieces of CJs muscles start showing up in his bloodstream (because they have, in effect, started dying), even we could tell there was no going back.
There’s a whole lot to decipher – skeletal muscle breakdown, a loss of equilibrium, a shutdown of the kidneys. Thankfully Chubbyemu deciphers everything in a clear and coherent manner.
The toluene targeted his brain, nerves, muscles and kidneys – independently. And destroyed his body – permanently.
Oh, CJ eventually made “a recovery.” But “the parts of his brain and his kidney and his muscles aren’t coming back.”
The labcoat-less host behind the Chubbyemu YouTube page introduces himself as “Dr. Bernard.” Now, we don’t know where Dr. B got his degree, or even what kind of doctor he happens to be. We do know though that he’s got a distinct way with a story. We also know he’s been telling his stories since 2015.
Here’s how Dr. Bernard Abouts himself:
I make medical videos, telling stories in medicine. These are variations on cases I, or my colleagues, have seen in the past. The main goal of these videos are to tell a story about people, as we each have a unique story to tell.
Sounds simple enough. Simple enough to succeed. Perhaps that’s why the good doctor has amassed nearly three million subscribers.
Perhaps that’s also why Dr. B ends his About with this disclaimer:
I hold no responsibility over what you do with your or anyone’s body after watching any of my videos. You should not recreate any of the presented situations. These videos are not and are not intended to be medical advice. I do not give individualized medical advice over the internet. I am a licensed provider trained and based in the United States.
That’s it. Well, aside from links to his social media, that is.
BTW: Lest you think we’re short of due diligence, we did try to suss out more on our mysterious doctor. But after noting a murky website, the dormant Facebook page and three separate Twitter, er, X accounts in various stages of (in)activity, we moved on.
Hazards of Huffing
Healing Properties doesn’t want to judge people, but we find it difficult to see much fun in huffing. After all, not only does NIDA claim inhalant intoxication can cause confusion and delirium, but that inhalant abusers may also experience dizziness, drowsiness, slurred speech, lethargy, depressed reflexes, general muscle weakness, and stupor.
Mostly though, NIDA claims huffing may spark belligerence, apathy, impaired judgment, and impaired functioning in work or social situations. Whether that’s after or before the nausea and vomiting, they didn’t say.
NIDA did add though that long-term inhalant abuse can become compulsive use. It may also come accompanied by mild withdrawal.
As you might suspect, huffing is also what’s called a “gateway” substance. To wit:
A recent survey of 43,000 American adults suggests that inhalant users, on average, initiate use of cigarettes, alcohol, and almost all other drugs at younger ages and display a higher lifetime prevalence of substance use disorders, including abuse of prescription drugs, when compared with substance abusers without a history of inhalant use.
All the more reason to steer clear of industrial-strength chemicals.
Listen, if one whiff of something gives you a headache, well, it stands to good reason said something ain’t no good for you. Furthermore, if things begin with a headache, it’s hard to believe how ingesting more could make ‘em get any better.
So yeah, let’s just scratch inhalants off our to-do list.
If by chance you find yourself struggling with chemicals – industrial-strength or otherwise – well, then please give us a ring. We’ll help lead you to a place where such shenanigans are no longer an issue. Why? Because we like you better tricked out in stunning self-preservation instead of that ratty old self-harm.