It used to worry me that my sleep is SO choppy. All the recent articles on the subject of sleep say we need to sleep undisrupted for a night’s sleep to get the most benefit from it. This is something I have not been good at the many decades. Now more than ever this is the case.
I have nearly all my life had to waken during the night to relieve myself. Since the effect of this disease on the urinary track. these bathroom trips have become longer. Never easy when it becomes an issue to try to empty, get done and on your way back to bed realize you really haven’t emptied completely so back you go,
In fairness I suppose I should explain something else.While during the day, I can fall asleep during a conversation (Yes, when I am talking!) or with the laptop on my lap, at nighttime, I have restless leg syndrome. For those who have not experienced this, I pray you never do. It begins as a tension in the legs. It escalates and exactly as it sounds makes you feel you MUST get up and move around. While moving around, the sensation lessons, but seems to recur once that movement stops. For me the feeling also is felt in my arms and my torso and neck. It is an awful feeling that might best be described as leaving me wanting to climb out of my skin. I have used medication which lessened the intensity early on. But didn’t solve it and seem to have lost the effectiveness in time. I used TENS machine, Lidocaine patches, ice packs, baths, showers, exercise before bedtime, and of late exercise while it occurs. i am not sure how, whether the expenditure of energy or the improved circulation from exercising, but this does help to release some of that muscle tension.
Last night I went to bed, truly tired, sleepy. My neck and spine pain had worn me out. Yes I had taken my pain med . First the 4 dogs took turns barking to go out- separately of course. Add to that a couple of extra trips for myself. Eventually this would repeat a couple of times. Returning to bed each time, it was becoming more clear that this horrible feeling just kept escalating. I tried meditation as well there medication. The torture continued bringing with it a bit of increased anxiety. So out of bed for myself this time. Got on my stationary bike. Now usually I would turn on a light bright enough to clock myself or keep track of distance. For whatever reason I just got on with a dim light on in the room. I honestly don’t know how long or how far I went on the bike. I just went on it, not working up a sweat but going until muscles were tired out. Not thoroughly exhausted as I didn’t want the muscle spasms to come. Nor did I want to have the burst of energy that can come from a strong workout.
Did it work? It worked well enough. I did go to sleep less tortured. It isn’t easy adjusting to sleep interruption. Much of my life I have lived with it. Trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, and waking in the middle of the night (3 AM almost like clockwork) unable to fall back to sleep until nearly time to get up. I used to hate it all. Now I find myself trying to appreciate anytime I am awake and aware of my surroundings and of the people I love. Of course there are those times when I have been SO exhausted that it nearly brought me to tears to have to get out of bed. But when that comes over me, I begin to count my blessings.In the end what isn’t better by counting our blessings? I remember Bing Crosby singing that song in one of his musicals…White Christmas or one of those holiday movies about the quartet forming an act to save the old colonel’s (or general??) resort in Vermont? It is an embracing warm innocent thing to do. It re-alligns our perspective. It keeps us in check in prioritizing.
DO I wish I did not have this condition to live with? Of course I’d rather be living a life of my choosing, but I can’t say that my life has less quality in terms of what it has made me aware of, what I have learned. See there comes a point of a totally naked brutal honesty that comes when you deal with a chronic health issue. You can’t fool yourself forever. Eventually life says : Not one more step, not one more word until you find how you are going to handle this. As much as there are days I want to hide away and pull the dirt over me, But there is just too much living to be done than to let that retreat happen.
Living fully requires every access to the knowledge learned from previous experiences as it is within those experiences lies our preparation for what happens today and tomorrow. SO embrace the solutions or the actions that lessen the weight of your burden. DO not be so arrogant as to refuse help when needed. DO not be afraid of what tomorrow brings, know it or not you’ve been groomed for it. And never be afraid to turn to the higher powers that be. It’s odd how in times past people were badgered for not being faithful people. Then it became not cool and uneducated to have a faith and belief you walk in. Well, Regardless of what the world believes I belief in a higher being, who put together the perfect way for us all to find forgiveness for our sins and to turn to inner strength to gather more enlightenment in strength and courage. I am not ashamed of my beliefs. I am not ashamed of my faith. AS a nurse I had seen much over the years…and as a patient have seen more. There are things that occur that are not things that can be logically scientifically explained. Some call these occurrences miracles. Others say they’re rare but but explainable if one considers the possibilities. I can tell you though there are things that defy definition- that is all. There is no shame in admitting that when you see it.
In finding a neurologist, we have to accept our roles in the getting an accurate perspective about what we face , what is available for help, and what we choose to do about our deficits. When I finally found a neurologist, I thought this would be my neurologist for life or nearly so. That turned out to be pitifully inaccurate. From what I have been told, this is not unusual. Many people will have a number of neurologists as well as other kinds of specialists. When dealing with a chronic illness, you find out how you are doing as a patient, as a former nurse. It isn’t a better life . But a life worth reading requires someone write down that story… or share it by the spoken word.
I found out that our personal heroes, are often those people we would like to emulate. Often the biggest difference between our heroes and ourselves is the initiative necessary to accomplish something for someone else. the allowances we make for ourselves must be measured against the excuses people so often give to get out of something. Sometimes we are just too exhausted. Often we are feeling overwhelmed when it comes to any venture that brings us closer to nature. We say that we don’t have time. We say there are organizations already doing something that we think of as being helpful. Sometimes it is pride that keep people barricading themselves from the use of something meant to simplify our lives. but eventually I tire reading my excuses, my reasons for not diving into a project that might help myself and/or others.
I have always held those who go out and take a morning swim early in the day, alone. There is something uplifting about taking on the challenge first thing in the day. You come out of it feeling invigorated. At least that’s how I felt when I have done it. Perhaps a new summer plan.