In the months leading up to his sudden death last week at age 50, Michael Jackson was "adamant" about receiving a powerful intravenous sedative called Diprivan or Propofol, nurse/nutritionist Cherilyn Lee, who treated the star, tells the AP. And just four days before he died, one of Jackson's aides placed a desperate call to Lee, indicating Jackson was extremely ill. " 'One side of my body is hot, it's hot, and one side of my body is cold,' " Lee overheard Jackson saying in the background. She advised him to rush to a hospital, assuming "somebody had given him something that hit the central nervous system."
An overdose of a sedative like Diprivan can cause a person to stop breathing, leading to a buildup of carbon dioxide in the body that ultimately leads to erratic heartbeat and cardiac arrest, an anesthesiologist tells the AP. Jackson did not go to the hospital on June 21st when Lee was called, however he was rushed to UCLA Medical Center on June 25th after falling unconscious in his Los Angeles home and not responding to CPR. Lee tells the AP, "He was in trouble Sunday and he was crying out." TMZ reports that Propofol was recovered at Jackson's home.
Lee says that Jackson was experiencing severe insomnia as he rehearsed for his "This Is It!" run of comeback concerts due to kick off July 13th at London's O2 Arena. She first met the superstar in January when she treated his children for minor colds with vitamins. Jackson reported his difficulties sleeping and demonstrated his inabilities to stay asleep when Lee stayed over one evening to monitor his nighttime behavior. Jackson went to bed with classical music playing on a sound system and Donald Duck playing on a computer he kept in bed with him. After awaking after only three hours' sleep, Jackson said, "All I want is to be able to sleep. I want to be able to sleep eight hours. I know I'll feel better the next day."
"He wasn't looking to get high or feel good and sedated from drugs," Lee told the AP. "This was a person who was not on drugs. This was a person who was seeking help, desperately, to get some sleep, to get some rest." Lee says she advised Jackson the drug was dangerous — "The only problem is you're going to take it and you're not going to wake up" — but Jackson said he had received the drug before, refusing to name the doctor who administered it.
Questions over Jackson's alleged use of prescription drugs have filled the papers since his death last week. "We know he was taking some prescription medication," the coroner's office said when initial autopsy results were released; cause of death will not be established until toxicology tests are returned in four to six weeks. After his three-hour interview with the LAPD, Dr. Conrad Murray stated via his attorney that he did not give Jackson a shot of Demerol as rumored. "There was no Demerol. No OxyContin," his lawyer said.
Today TMZ reported that police search warrants for Jackson's home specified controlled substances and needles, and that the LAPD is also seeking to question the singer's onetime dermatologist Arnold Klein (who Us Weekly named as the father of two of Jackson's children) over prescriptions he may have issued to Jackson. Former Jackson family attorney Brian Oxman also told Us Weekly, "I warned them there was the misuse of prescription medications by people who were enabling him; his handlers, folks who should never have been permitted to allow him to use those medications in the manner I observed."