This New Waking Up At 5: 30AM Is Seriously Getting On My Nerves

If (when) I get cranky during this post you can blame it on the lack of deep, constant, uninterrupted sleep. I’m cranky just thinking about it. This has been the fourth or fifth night in a row and correlates beautifully to the new medicine to raise my blood pressure.

True, I am not passing out and smacking my head getting bumps the size of baseballs but still, as any chronic pain or Fibromyalgia patient knows, sleep is our vacation. I wish I would be kidding but I’m not.

Insomnia

Insomnia (Photo credit: Alejandro (Lì Delfos))

Literally, going on vacation stresses our bodies more than staying in bed, not that it isn’t worth the risk at all. So, this old body now awakens way too early in the morning and today it’s not even a sunny morning but a gloomy gray one. Of course, I try to go back to sleep but it never works. Also, I can’t nap anymore.

Fibro: The Way It Is, make something better, make something worse. A trade-off. Ugh, I’m disgusted but with Fibro or any Chronic Pain Disease when aren’t we totally fed up? Usually I can handle it very well and I am NOT a complainer but now I am definitely cranky. If I can’t run around and have some semblance of a normal life at least let me enjoy my sleep and sweet dreams.

I guess that’s too much to ask, isn’t it? I’m giving this drug a few more days and then I will begrudgingly call the doctor as promised. I know he is just going to give me one pill after another to try but I wanted fewer pills not more. Granted, passing out at any time definitely had its disadvantages and the fact that no one call feel my pulse was a little scary but there must be something in-between?

Before you tell me about any type of herbs or supplements I am NOT allowed to take any, because of the chronic kidney problem. It’s time to do some deep breathing, now that I’ve written my frustration out here, hopefully I’ll feel better soon.

If not, there is always leftover pizza with grape jelly.

IF I had some.

Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies (Photo credit: fritish)

Since I LOVE FOOD and SWEETS maybe it’s time to make Nestle’s Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies. Just one, maybe two before bed with a very large glass of milk. Milk is medicinal, it helps you fall asleep.

That is, of course, why I will bake cookies today, all in the name of science.

Fibro UnFriendly

English: A zombie

Image via Wikipedia

If Fibromyalgia was a mood and not a chronic illness, it would be grumpy, mean, hateful and cranky. It would be the scariest monster that rages everywhere, over my bed, not even bothering to hide but willfully taunting me in the open. Once constant factor is the weather and its changes, enemies.  I want to set up all the old green plastic soldiers that my son used to play with constantly and place them on the Batmobile and fire truck and police cars and surge through dividing lines. I want to storm the troops of Fibromyalgia pain and run them over completely. In my fantasy, all that would be left in their place would be peace and pain-free living.

I know, I’m living in a dream world but it is better than the one that I am living in now. At night, which used to be my savior, snugly asleep under the covers, has now become another battleground. Pain wakes me up, the newest pain is in my arms and elbows and I never feel well-rested. I try to ignore it at night but minutes later it wakes me up again. I imagine the enemy mocking me, sneering at me as if to say “you thought I was only going to appear once then go away for the rest of the night? HAHAHAHA” ‘That is what I was hoping for’ I try to mumble under my breath.”FOOL” they spit blood right back in my face.

Why do all these new pains seem to intensify after my visit to the Rheumatologist when the blood work is in? Liver function? A little high? Sediment rate? A little high?  Auto-immune disease? Yes, I have that too, an auto-immune disease of the thyroid, known as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. When is it too high and what do they do about it? A question that has never been answered so far. Should I take Tramadol, “you could give it a try.” I don’t want to give anything a try, I’m frustrated and tired and inflamed and I just want a definitive answer which I know logically I won’t get. The answer is “let’s recheck your blood in two weeks.”

I’m frustrated, even the small flight of stairs in our house seems insurmountable. My ten-year old dog can come up and down those stairs better than I can when I am in a Fibromyalgia Flare (if that’s what this is, we rarely know for sure.) I have to grab unto the shaky metal banister and pull myself up, hear myself groan out loud, the sounds coming from me are more animal-like than I would care to admit. I try not to emit these sounds when my children are home but sometimes I can’t help it. They know I have this illness, but it doesn’t mean I don’t want to protect them as much as I can.

I drove away their monsters when they were little, why can’t I drive away my own?

please, let me fall back asleep

Insomnia...

i fall asleep so easily it’s like i have an instant iv drip attached to my hand, it’s a relief for my aching bones and over-active mind. i snuggle into my favorite position, two pillows beneath my head; my brown hair pulled back in a ponytail with a thin black elastic band. i’m wearing only a soft, red, popeye cotton tee shirt. i dream about swimming and floats and old friends and the artist known as prince and friendly unknown neighbors wearing j.crew sweater sets. in my dreams my son is three again, i don’t need freud to figure that one out. he’s college bound and i am feeling nostalgic, oprah is leaving me too.

i wake up automatically at 4am and at the same time every night for the last few weeks. i desperately want to go back to sleep and i try but it’s of no use. i play every game, try every trick and nothing works. i give up and drag my computer to the tiny extra bedroom/office to see if there is someone awake on the other end of the screen. usually no one is. i know it takes time for me to fall asleep, usually between two and two and a half hours and there is not much i can do about it. i have been through this pattern before, i just want it to stop.

i’m so tired but my head and body are still awake and they won’t give up the fight no matter how hard i try. i try not to try and that doesn’t work either. i notice things in the room that i haven’t noticed before, forgotten dusty books, a paperweight with dainty blue flowers. my dog has followed me in the room, she is so used to coming downstairs with me at around ten for a snack that she is confused.  i sit cross-legged on the bed, surrounded by clean laundry, my eyes wandering to my angel statue, my daughter’s first ballerina shoe that i framed, boxes of writing since high school, a mini twa jet i keep in honor of my father. my whole life is in this room and around it.

i want to be back lying in bed beneath my royal blue quilt, and a an old comforter in a cherry covered duvet. i love any pattern of cherries, they make me happy. i want to sleep but i know i can’t, my head is like a ticking clock. my teeth and jaw ache, it’s probably tmj, i think clinically. i remember i never called my friend back yesterday and i don’t like being rude but it will have to wait until tomorrow. sorry, but of all people i know she will understand. she suffers from fibromyalgia and chronic pain issues too. apparently sleep problems are common among us in the tribe.

finally at around 6:30 i start yawning and crawl back in bed keeping my eyes averted from the clock on my bedside table. i have stayed up long enough that i think it will be ok, my eyes close, again. all the colors become white, the fresh air coming from the window is softly soothing. i beg the birds not to come out and sing for just a little while.

Those 3AM Monsters

I am trying to picture a small, clear glass bowl filled to the top with plump blueberries sprinkled lightly with sugar.  The color, taste and texture of a red-green mango ripened to perfection. I am trying to remember the rare moments in time that life feels perfect. The moon making my bedroom alight as if someone forgot to turn off the downstairs lamp. The first smell of spring after an especially long winter.

When I cannot sleep, like last night between 3am and 6am,  I tried to remember things that make me happy. It doesn’t help me fall asleep but once in a while it fights off the anxiety that lurks in my stomach and slows down the racing of confused mind; I wish I could tell you it worked last night but it didn’t. Nothing did.

Everything seems worse at 3am, doesn’t it? The bed is lumpy and the pillows are too hot, I turn them over and around but nothing works, they are either too plump or not plump enough. Sometimes I take my hand and try to finger the softness of my pink and beige fuzzy blanket, thinking that may calm me down, but no luck.  I reach across the bed to where my husband sleeps and I take my hand and try to wrap it around his arm or lay it on his back; but even that reassurance does not help me chase the terrors away

In the past when I could not sleep I would take my flashlight and sneak down the uneven, noisy, stairs and my dog would follow me. Every time she sees me get up from bed with a flashlight she knows it’s snack time and she joins me; she is my snack buddy. It’s our own little secret and everything I taste, I give her half. A slice of hard salami, a digestive cookie, a slice of sharp orange cheddar cheese, toast with butter. I like our time together, my dog and I. We are both getting older and yet it affects me more to see her almost- white chin, than any wrinkles I may have gathered on my cheeks. I watch my best friend try and jump on my bed and I know it is not as easy as it was when she was much younger. She is turning nine on March 1st and I worry about that too.

Without the sleep I so desperately need everything is dark black and I still feel scared. Breathing exercises don’t work, counting backwards from 5,3066 does not work. I feel frightened and  confused and at 3 in the morning every thought or fear that I have are magnified one hundred percent.  I am anxious, I worry about little things that I need to do, not that they are difficult, just that I have not done them. Everything balloons up with intensity and my body flips from side to side to see if I can find comfort in a different part of the bed, deeper in or throwing off the blankets or taking my night-shirt off.

Children know all about the monsters in the dark. As parents we sweep closets and look under the bed with flashlights and leave a light on in the hall or a nightlight in the corner of a room. We will do anything and everything to make our child feel safe, comforted, cherished and loved. Grown-ups don’t have the privilege of people taking care of us. There is no one to sweep under the beds for us or shout random phrases for the monsters to flee.

We cannot be so easily reassured. We suffer through the hours, the minutes, the seconds, it takes for our brains to slow down; until we are so over- tired that we drift off to sleep without the comfort of knowing it.