Monday, September 21, 2009

The Best Cure for Insomnia is to Get a Lot of Sleep

Sleep. Elusive.

I don’t bitch too often. I think. So allow me one blog post to have a little pity party. Indulge me.

My pity party centers around my night time routine. And keep in mind that what you are about to read has been going on for two years now.

As I get ready for bed, I pop a Benadryl. Allergies decided to invade my living space when I was in college. Injections used to take care of them – until it became inconvenient to trek to the nurse and the needle once a week. Much easier to buy and pop a pretty pink pill each night before bedtime. Allergies solved. That’s a good thing.

I slide into bed and close my eyes. I pray for sleep.

I roll onto my right side because that is where my body – after 17,155 nights of practice – naturally rolls. Ouch. Immediate sharp pain in the gut. My stomach rebels. For the last two years, my chronic IBS gifts me with intermittent pain – and sleeping on my right side is a sure guarantee of discomfort. Why? No one knows – it’s a medical mystery. My right side has had much poking and prodding over the last year to figure this mystery out – to no avail. I do, however, have a pretty pale blue pill that will eliminate this – but I rebel against taking it – you’ll see why, later. It has an awful little side effect.

I begrudgingly roll over to my left side – where my gut feels much better – but my body can’t get comfortable. It just doesn’t feel right. I try to sleep – but can’t – and so I squirm. And twitch. And toss. And avoid turning.

After 17,155 nights of sleeping – it is instinctual for me to raise my arm over my head. It may look silly – but it helps me sleep. To quit the tossing and squirming, I lift my arm over my head. But now we have a problem. If I sleep on my left side – it is my right arm that goes over my head. Pain. Immediate pain. My shoulder – whether it’s bursitis, tendonitis, or a torn rotator – whatever – does not like my arm over my head. It rebels. Ouch. The doctor has said to take Motrin and to quit putting my arm over my head when I sleep. Uh huh.

So – now I’m in a quandary. Sleep on the right side – pain. Sleep on the left side – pain. What to do, what to do? As I ponder my choices, the minutes tick by on the clock…tick…tick…tick….the rest of the house is quiet – hubby and kiddies and pets all snoozing away. I am so jealous.

Every night, I will eventually give up and give in to the drugs. I’ll climb out of bed and go take the pretty blue pill that will calm the stomach and allow me to roll over to my right side where I am most comfortable. But it will NOT let me sleep. No, dear readers – this lovely blue pill- although it is miraculously eliminating all stomach pain – has a slight side effect. It causes insomnia. Seriously. No more pain – but no sleep, either. Are you kidding me?! Insomnia? Life is cruel, huh? Now you know why I struggle taking it – do I choose the pain? Or do I choose the sleep?

Sigh. I must chase the blue pill with a pretty white pill that has been prescribed to bring on sleep. It fights the blue pill for control – and eventually wins. But it takes a long time to "kick in." Several hours after slipping into bed – I slip into a drug-induced dreamless sleep that will NOT leave me refreshed in the morning.

Only to repeat again the next night.

Stephen King has a novel, Insomnia, which I read about 20 years ago – and it terrified the hell out of me. It sometimes feels that my nights have become something out of this book. Which is truly scary. It might just cause me to lose some sleep. (ha – can’t lose your sense of humor over things).

Peace. (yawn)

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