September 27, 2008

I'm not asking for much, really...

All I want is one good night’s sleep!

Those of you who know me know about my current struggle with Meniere’s disease. Although the worst symptom is the vertigo and it’s wonderful close friend, extreme nausea, I am currently only having a bout of that about once every 2-3 weeks or so. Not fun, but at least the diet seems to be lessening their frequency and occasionally even the intensity.

One of the more irritating symptoms, at least for me, is the tinnitus. I notice it infrequently during the day, mostly because work is always so busy and there’s always lots of noise around me, so I don’t focus on it as much. Night times, however, are another story... It doesn’t matter how tired I am at night when I finally collapse into bed, as soon as I lay down, my ears kick into overdrive, screeching with wild abandon. The exact sound is hard to describe: the closest I can come is to the annoying tone that plays on TV before a severe weather alert, but in a much higher pitch that goes on forever and ever...

Just as an aside: Wouldn’t it be nice if God would use this obnoxious little system that emergency planners have created to give us information about upcoming storms in our own life?! I could stand it more if I knew there was useful information forthcoming.

BLEEP... BLEEP...BLEEP... Long screech, then a deep mechanized voice:

"The following message is being brought to you tonight by God. SEVERE WARNING:
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, purchase the rug you won’t quit coveting at Home Depot.
It doesn’t matter if it is on sale. It doesn’t matter if it goes "perfectly" with your new decor. You don’t need it. Just a hint: You MAY want to save every penny for the fuel pump that plans to die on you next week. I'm just sayin.'"

BLEEP...BLEEP...BLEEP...

ANYWAY, back to the topic at hand. Because of the screeching every night, I am having a terrible time getting to sleep. I have tried drinking a cup of sleepy-time tea before bed, but even though I love the taste, it doesn’t knock me out, plus drinking it at night and being on diuretics is not a good combination! ‘Nuf said there...

I’ve tried taking melatonin, which I’ve heard is all-natural, but it leaves me feeling way too tired the next morning, regardless of how small a dose I take.

I’ve tried something by the company that makes Tylenol PM (Pharmacist Preferred!) called "Simply Sleep," which deceptively promised me that I’d "fall asleep fast; wake up refreshed" in its lovely lettering. It MUST be true if it’s in italics AND bold!! Needless to say, I have spent many moments between midnight and 2:00 a.m. composing hate letters in my head to the advertisers of this product who duped me into buying the 100-capsule bottle.

Eventually I drop off from sheer exhaustion, but the alarm clock doesn’t seem to care that I’ve only had 4 ½ hours of sleep... Rise and shine, you poor schnook!!! By the time 5:00 p.m. on Friday rolls around, I am barely able to lift my head up off my desk. I LIVE for Saturday mornings when I can sleep in. That knowledge is what keeps me going. But last night was one of THOSE nights.

I somehow managed to keep myself awake long enough to pick the boys up from the homecoming football game. They really have no idea what a sacrifice they are requiring from me to still be functioning well enough to drive at 9:30 p.m. on a Friday night! Then Braden hadn’t eaten, so he HAD to go to McDonald’s for dinner, so we waited forever with the teeming hordes there.

Finally home, and off to bed for me! I’m so tired, I just KNOW I’ll fall right to sleep this time. And you know, I was almost there until Tom came to bed at 11:00, and the nightly snore-fest began. If I flounce around and "accidentally" aim elbows in just the right spot, he’ll usually roll over and it goes down in volume to a more tolerable level. I quit looking at the clock around midnight, so I must have gone to sleep shortly after that. Then, at 2:30 a.m., Stitch, our sweet-natured but slightly neurotic black lab, started barking. He never barks, so I decided I’d better get up and check to make sure things were okay. Everything seemed to be in order, other than Savannah had moved out to the couch in the living room and was sound asleep there. So, back to bed for me. Unfortunately, Tom was once again in full snore mode, and no amount of flops, jabs, or even kicks seemed to help. I finally gave up and went to fold myself into the loveseat in the "sitting area" of our room. No good... I could still hear the snuffles and snorts just as clearly. I can’t go into the living room, because Savannah’s already claimed the couch. WAIT! I’ll go into her room...

Oh, but FIRST I think I’ll step square into a fresh pile of doggy diarrhea left in the hallway by Annie sometime during the night. YES! That’ll set the right tone for a good night’s sleep! Then, when I recoil and leap in horror at that squishy, gooey feeling between my toes, I’ll make sure to land with my clean foot in ANOTHER pile! After cleaning up the mess, both on me and in the hall, I staggered into Savannah’s room. I now understand why she has been asking for a new bed. That is THE most uncomfortable mattress I believe I’ve ever laid upon. Back to the loveseat... nope, still too noisy there. By this time, it was almost 5:00 a.m.

In desperation, I flipped on the bedroom light (Tom didn’t even flinch, nor I may add, subside in his deep breathing routine), found the combination to his highly guarded footlocker, dug out the keys to the camp trailer, dragged my blankie and pillow out across the driveway, and went to bed in quiet solitude to sleep until noon.

At 8:00 a.m. Savannah came looking for me, and now here I am again...

Goodnight all; wish me luck!

3 comments:

Lois said...

All my love and sympathy. I have the opposite problem: I can actually look you in the eye while we're talking and fall asleep. Not good when you're interviewing the governor.
I just realized that Amos Siddoway, your great-grandfather, probably had Meniere's. He'd get unexpectedly dizzy (a woman's skirt pattern once made him throw up, quite famously in family lore). When I can't sleep, I try to name a friend for each letter of the alphabet. IT's so boring but absorbing that it NEVER fails. Ann Church, April Davis, Arnie Erickson, Al Fogelman....
Love you.

SOMETHING HAPPENED SOMEWHERE TURNING said...

Trace,
I'm with you on the nausea and the getting dizzy. Not a day goes by when I'm not experiencing it. The sleeping really bites, I'm not getting any of it. But the tinnitus, that trumps all the other stuff I got going on. Can't you ring somebody else's head for more answers?
I feel for you, and I miss my salt too.

Robert Schmidt said...

How do you function the next day after a day like this? In your office, you need to develop a system like the one used to monitor air quality in the valley. Here's my suggestions for how you approach the problem:

"Green Day: It is a good day. You can bring your requests for assistance to Tracy. I will smile pleasantly, not kick the dog, hum to myself, and be a team player.

Yellow Day: Conditions are questionable. Try to complete your projects without a great deal of my help. You'll have trouble distinguishing between a smile and a grimace. I will push around small animals in my way, talk to myself, and, if the building catches on fire, you are on your own.

Red Day: The bells are ringing in my head, Tom's snores can be heard over a fleet of B-52s, and my whimpering would arouse the passions of Mother Theresa. I'm sympathetic to the extinction of certain dogs. Professors who ask for assistance will find a burning bag of doggie doo on their front porch on my next Green Day. I know where to get the doo, and I know how to use it.

In the meantime, I'm going to sharpen my elbows, get a cork for those damn dogs, and have a pleasant night at the Crystal Inn."

RS