"Hello, my dear friend. It is so nice of you to come by and visit me. You fill my days with endless minutes, each one ticking by with excruciating slowness. What's that? Oh no, I don't mind the visit. Um, pardon me for seeming like an ungracious host, but when exactly are you leaving?"
My guest doesn't really talk and its not one that you can usher out the door. I am quite familiar with this guest and she has visited me many times in my life. I think of her as a muse, maybe not of anything constructive and I am sure that she has driven many to the brink of insanity but still she inspires in people something that they didn't know they had. If you are still scratching your head and wondering who I am talking about. It is my sweet friend, Insomnia.
Yes, she has decided to visit me again. I'm not exactly excited by her visit this time (not that I ever am) and yes I know that it is a medical condition more than it is a presence but have you ever wondered what it was that keeps you awake for long periods of time. It could be a number of things; the presence of stress, the presence of fatigue, the presence of excitement or the presence of worry. If all of those are present and accounted for, then why shouldn't insomnia be as well.
It hasn't been too bad, this time around. I have been able to go to sleep at about one or two. Then it is a night of waking up every half hour or so to stare at the open doorway to my room for an hour or two. That is always fun, the way my eyes slide from door to clock, from clock to ceiling, from ceiling to the sleeping form of my husband, from my husband to my door. Sometimes I sit up, defeated into believing that I should just get up. Then I lay down and realize that with only two hours sleep, most of it interrupted, there is no way I can get up at 3:30 in the morning and start working. So I lay down and begin my wanderings again. My husband's alarm at 6 tells my weary mind that it is time to go to sleep finally, and I tumble into a deep slumber until 7 when I need to get up out of bed. Usually I get about 4 hours of sleep, not too bad but I'm sure I can do much better.
This isn't the worse case of insomnia that I've had. The worst was when my oldest was only a year and a half. I went 6 weeks with only one to two hours of sleep each night. I'm not sure how I managed those 6 weeks but I was pretty sure that I had the whole world figured out and if people would just listen to me, they too would understand the meaning of life and the secrets of the universe. Actually, it wasn't quite that bad but I had very clear ideas about the war in Iraq and it turned out that somehow my weary mind must have rooted out the truth because all my allegations came true a few months after that. Too bad I didn't tape myself but I did manage a "See I told you so," to my husband.
The end of those 6 weeks came in the form of a couple drinks with a friend. I ended up drinking 2 Margaritas over the course of several hours, I know the heavy drinker. I'm not sure if it was because I hadn't really had a drink in almost two years (9 months spent pregnant and then not wanting to drink after my son had arrived) or if it was because I was just so tired. Anyway, two drinks, I was drunk. She drove me home, dropped me off at my door. I stumbled in, baby was sleeping, husband was playing a video game and I went to the bathroom, threw up, stumbled into bed and slept until 6 the next morning. I was so embarrassed that I had gotten drunk but the next morning I felt magnificent. The insomnia was gone, my unwanted house guest had left and I could function again without being a conspiracy theorist.
I'm not quite back in the same spot today but I really want to sleep. Last night I thought I could, I was tired at 10 and I shuffled into bed by 11. I think I was asleep by 11:30, a feat for me even when I don't have insomnia. Turns out both kids wanted to stay up last night. First I woke up to both of them giggling in their sleep. I love listening to that sound. It is an uncontrolled laughter. The way laughter should be when there is no fear of being embarrassed if you snort or shoot milk out of your nose. It is a full laugh and hearing kids laugh in their sleep makes you feel like the world is right, at least for a moment.
So I listened until they fell back into a dreamless or at least a quiet sleep. Then I fell asleep again almost instantly. I awoke a few hours later to first one, then a second request to sleep in my bed. Soon I found myself perched on the edge of my mattress, my back turning to ice as the blanket is pulled away from me, revealing my thin pj's. OK, no problem. I get up, and grab a second blanket. A survival instinct that kicked in by the time my oldest was about 3. (although kids sleeping in my bed is a rare occurrence).
Warm and finally able to curl back up on my 2 inches of mattress, I fall asleep only to be woken up by a loud shout. "STOP KICKING ME!" I jerk awake to find my youngest has turned in the bed and is now kicking his brother in the head as he sleeps. The yelling came from my oldest who is trying to avoid the flailing 3 year old's feet. Instant mom comes raring to the surface, or was it instant drill Sergeant. You, stop kicking, you sleep there, you sleep there, both of you sleep in your own room. No one budged from the bed but I did manage to get some order and the kids were back to sleep before I could even fluff my overcrowded pillow.
A few hours, or maybe minutes later..."I need my pillow." I crack my eye open to see my oldest sitting up. My husband has finally woken up and I hear him say, "Go get it then." I watch my son hop off the bed, run to his room and run back with his over sized pillow that looks really good compared to my flat pillow. He then places it at the end of my bed and my 2 inches is cut in half and I am now perched on the last inch of mattress (you know the part, that hard seam).
"I need a drink of water," rouses me from my doze. What time is it? 4:30am. "OK, I'll get you a drink of water," I say to my youngest as I stumble to the kitchen and pour a fresh glass of water from the fridge. He is asleep when I get back to the room and I take a long drink for myself. The sound of my drinking must have roused him so he asks for the water again. I give it to him, place it on my dresser, stare at the alarm clock for a minute. Okay, I'm not going to be getting up at 6. My husband doesn't need to get up at that time today and I was going to get up to do some work before the kids got up. No way is that going to happen so I reset the alarm clock for seven and squeeze back onto my edge of the bed.
5:00am, the cat, my prince, my old man who I love dearly has decided that it is time to get in on the bed action. He doesn't like to be wedged between people but prefers to lay beside me on the outside of the bed. Somehow in my sleep, I have managed to squeeze my legs into half an inch of space with my son on one side and a ten year old cat on the other. My neck is groaning in pain from the strange angle I am sleeping in. My left arm is numb and seems to be attached to the headboard somehow (my attempt to keep it out of the way has resulted in shoulder strain). The cat is purring softly as I try to ignore the aches and pains that are already there and the new ones that are starting to form. Only a few more hours and I really need the sleep.
5:30am "I love you Lobo, but you really need to sleep on the couch," I say as I gently push the cat off the bed. He shoots me a dirty look and I know that he will be mad at me when I get up but that extra inch of room is like having a seat in first class open up. Heavenly. I glance at my husband who is still sleeping on his stomach. How can he get that much room and I am on the edge of the bed. I fight down the urge to wake him up but I figure if I did that the kids would wake up. I try to settle back down, my first class seat reverting to economy (or worse) after I realized how much room my husband has.
The shrill cry of the alarm clock pierces the room. I ignore it. No way am I getting up to get that one. The kids are still blissfully asleep and I pretend to sleep as I hear my husband climb out of bed and turn off the alarm. I feel him looking at me and hear him sigh. He is probably thinking that I should get up first for a change. I listen to him having a shower, the kids slowly wake up and start laughing and talking. I try to ignore the indications that day has started but climb out of bed to get them dressed.
My husband comes out of the shower and I gripe at him and the fact that he didn't get up once to help me last night. He says, "You need to wake me up to get me to help," I bite back the retort but think to myself, If I have to wake you up then I might as well do it myself.
I say instead, "I did and you didn't get up."
He looks at me blankly, "Really? I don't remember getting up at all last night. You know you really have to kick me to wake me up."
I grind my teeth and flee the bedroom to have a shower because I am pretty sure another minute would find me kicking him to make sure he was up. As I close the bathroom door, I am sure I can hear the muse, Insomnia, laughing at me and my foiled attempts at sleep.
So this is where I leave my ramblings. I know I probably sound a little strange but hopefully, I will be fast asleep tonight and my kids will sleep through. If not, I will ramble tomorrow and maybe just maybe I will feel much better with each rambling.
Take care for tonight and happy dreams to those who can sleep.