Sleep Does Not Welcome Me
Wrote this a few mornings ago but my pocket computer barfed, and so here it is a little late.
It's been easily over six months since the last time I achieved some sort of satisfying, sound sleep.
The night prior to breaking my leg, for one reason or another, I didn't actually get sleep, and had a very very short nap before hopping onto my steed and riding off to confront that ill fated event. I suppose I slept like a baby the following night in the hospital, strung out from all that had happened and pumped up on morphine. They finally left Al and I alone enough to attempt to sleep around 02:00, only to be woken up at 06:00 to begin prep for surgery. I started to shake uncontrollably in my bed, at which point I looked up at the nurses, very puzzled and informed them that I had no idea why I was shaking. They seemed more alarmed than I, providing a solution of additional morphine, which worked rather well. I suppose that sleeping through the surgery counts too, to some extent. That was the last time I had woken up to seeing a very comforting male bodied face, my general doctor who had heard what happened and come by to check on me post operation. He told me they did a good job sealing me back up, everything would be fine and to go back to sleep, and so I did after mumbling a thank you to him.
All in all the next morning I was able to get up and walk to the bathroom (mostly) on my own. Thank my lucky stars, thanks to those wonderful human beings who dedicate their lives into medicine and the craft of reassembling others whom attempt to live life outside of everyday fear.
After that sleeping in the hospital was obnoxious. Different nurses checking in on me through all hours of the night, the IV needle poking the pit of my elbow, kinking the IV tube, too cold, too hot, needing help peeing, some machine I can't see is beeping, trying desperately hard not to think anything at all about how much of a financial cluster fuck this will all eventually be. They gave me drugs, pain killers, liquids, and a slew of substances I will never be able to recall again. It helped, but with only one specific thing, to make me ignore the pain generated from the trauma that hit my right femur, hip, and ass. It wasn't until the 2nd or 3rd night that I realized sleeping will never be the same for me again. What I didn't understand at the time was how much more the lack of sleeping will effect the rest of my waking life, than the minor fact that it'll be a good year or two before my right leg will feel remotely like it used to.
To help with coming off of one of the drugs (either of the Oxies), my doctor prescribed Ambien (in addition to an anti-anxiety pill, because withdrawals suck). I tested it out for a night, thought it to be amazing, and shared that revelation to a friend. He in turn told me an Ambien story of his own, where he woke up (sleep walking) in the middle of the night at his girlfriend's, walked to the corner of the room, decided to relieve himself, did so right there, then crawled back into bed with no memory of doing so (his girlfriend however was more than willing to remind him). Even after hearing that I decided to try Ambien again a few nights later, and when I found my cane the next morning sitting somewhere other than where I left it before going to sleep (no pee puddles though!), I put the drug away and haven't touched it since then.
I'm (mostly) off the meds now, taking supplements to help my bones and joints. Doing stretches and PT at home to rebuild the leg. Walking more than a few blocks is a little bit of a stretch, but on a good day I'm pretty much up to my old cycling self again (can't wait for Spring time actually). The range in that join (femur to hip) is still a little bit limited, trying to sit cross legged is not possible, and generally I need to fidget after a few minutes of sitting in the same position.
Sleeping is another story, I didn't really realize how much I tend to do so on my sides. Laying on my right puts pressure on the hardware in my leg and the muscles that are still healing. Laying on my left brings the weight in my right leg into an odd spot that induces cramping. Every night has turned into this dance of switching positions, attempting to sleep on my back or belly, pretzel configurations with my limbs trying to find some sweet spot that will take something longer than half an hour to become agitated, prompting me to toss and turn again. This has caused me to avoid having other close ones over for the night as I simply don't want to them to get woken up constantly by my rotational marathon, and also avoiding staying with others elsewhere since I'm very much used to the firmness of my mattress and all others I need time to adjust.
Recently about two months ago it's gotten a little better. I can deal with sleeping on a sleeping pad while camping just fine. Fighting less in an office chair. Not waking those sleeping next to me as much. I am more ignorant of my leg cramping up. However even though my physical agony is turning into something tolerable, sleep still doesn't welcome me. I find myself being up till past midnight working on projects and other things, reading the far reaches of the internet. Going to sleep exhausted, waking up somewhere between 03:00 to 06:00 most nights and not really being able to get myself back to sleep till around 08:00. Even now, as I write this, I've been awake for three hours starting at 05:00. Went to pee but was fine, was hydrated, not hungry, mostly warm, no real leg pain. My body just decides that about 4 hours of sleep is all I need and that it's time to wake up.
I turn into a zombie for the rest of the day, waking up late, having an extremely hard time getting myself out of bed. I feel more short tempered with friends, my eating habits turn more cut back, going through my day with less energy than I want to. Surprisingly though most of the time I don't feel anymore sleepy or wanting a nap, which is strange, my body simply tells me sleep isn't a now thing.
I've (re)instated a no laptop in bedroom rule, which has sort of worked but mostly failed since the rest of the house has been so horribly cold. I've been trying to cut back on acidic foods after 18:00, but that's been rather hard as I haven't been cooking for myself much lately. Dropping back on my alcohol intake. Showering before bed. Herbal teas. Simply avoiding the internet and only reading fiction. Getting into bed earlier than midnight and doing nothing till I fall asleep. None of it seems to help in any sort of significant way.
So after laying in bed for thirty minutes right now, staring at the ceiling for another forty minutes and wasting some other amount of time flicking through my RSS feeds, I thought it best to write all this down. Maybe doing so will give me some new insight as to what's going on. Because without sleep, my waking days feel more like dreams.