Wednesday 16 June 2010

Mr Sandman Bring Me A Dream: Insomnia (Part I)

Average night in the Rusty Household: 

Feel exhausted go to bed. Close eyes and think happy thoughts (ie, spin hot guy wheel.  What will it be tonight? Shirtless Johnny Depp, shirtless Christian Bale (Batman Begins only), shirtless Jensen Ackles, shirtless Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn version only, he really needs to be grotty and dirty or it's a no go), shirtless Dave Grohl (don't ask me why, but the man has that weird musician hot thing going on, besides have you heard the acoustic version of Everlong? mmmmm), shirtless....well you get the picture).

Still wide awake.  Spin hot guy wheel again, "why yes Batman I would like a back rub".

Still wide awake.  Realise I need to go to loo.  Try to ignore need to go to loo.  Know that now I realise I need to go to the loo I will never go to sleep until I go to the loo.  Swear.  Get up and go to the loo.

Fall asleep. 

Wake up.  Toss up whether to look at clock.  Know I will be disappointed if I look at the clock so decide not to look at clock. Close eyes determined not to look at clock.  Not looking.  Not Looking.  Not Looking.

Need to look at clock overwhelming.  Look at clock.  Swear.  Turn away from clock.  Close eyes.  Try to relax and find hot guy wheel once more.  Fail and lie there fuming.

Still wide awake.  Go to loo yet again.  Launch myself at bed in attempt to wake up Mr Grumpy so he can suffer with me.  Fail.  He continues to snore.  Bastard rubbing his premier sleeping ability in my face.  Contemplate smothering him with my pillow.

Still awake.  Listen to possums making sweet, sweet, love on my corrugated iron roof.  For those of you outside of Australia, it is not pleasant to listen to rooting possums on your tin roof.  There is screeching and thumping, punctuated with hissing and weird clucking sounds.  It is LOUD.

Still awake.  Go to loo yet again.  Listen to possums continuing to get freaky on roof.  Laugh as one falls off roof, THUMP!  Silence.  Take that nymphomaniac possums.  Rustle, rustle. Damn they are like cockroaches even a two-story fall wont kill them.

Finally drift off.

Wake up again.  Look at clock.  Contemplate throwing alarm clock across room (or at loud rooting possums, or blissfully snoring husband), but apathy wins out.  Go to loo again.  Go back to bed and try to work out the big issues.  Is Beaker or Animal my favourite Muppet?  If Miss Piggy and Kermit had kids would they be Progs or Figs? Is Wile E. Coyote really that dumb, or does he suffer from severe amnesia resulting from repeated roadrunner-induced, coup and counter-coup brain injuries?

Still awake.  Go to loo yet again.  Put a hex on my accursed acorn-sized bladder of stupidity.  Unable to even locate hot guy wheel in my head.  Lie there staring at the ceiling.  Begin to have thoughts of tasaring Jeff from The Wiggles.  You'd wake up then Jeff, you smug, purple-skivvied sleeper!

Still awake.  Get up go out to kitchen and get a glass of water.  If I have to pee myself stupid(er) I might as well pee out water rather than precious bodily fluids.  Stare out at stars and curse Time itself.  Drag self back to bed.  Accidentally (wink wink nod nod) slam bedroom door.  Let loose a stream of profanity as Mr Grumpy continues to sleep peacefully.  Sadistic bastard continues to rub his sleeping abilities in my face.

Fall asleep.

Wake up.  OMG!  Two hours sleep in a row.  Woo Hoo.  Loo yet again.  Pee like a horse.  Where the hell does all this liquid come from?  Is someone forcing water down my throat with a funnel whilst I am zoned out in some sleep-deprived dissociative state?

Pray I fall asleep again before kids get up at 7am (or worse Volleyball practice mornings with a 6am start, damn them and their desire to do before and after school activities.  Why can't they be like normal kids and waste their life in front of the TV or Computer screen)

Drag pathetic exhausted body from bed.  Scull strong coffee from bucket-sized mug.  Throw tablets at face.  Hope some get in mouth.  Fail to notice tablet stuck in left nostril.  Pee like horse yet again.

Throw on jumper over pajamas, find keys and drive kids to bus stop (though the other morning I started driving them down the hill in the opposite direction, luckily it clicked and I was able to turn around and get them to the bus stop on time and no one was any the wiser).  Start day in normal exhausted state.

Repeat night ad nauseum.


Ugh! I hate, no I loathe insomnia.  I've never been a good sleeper but since Bob came into the picture it has become much, much worse.  Now there are times where I sleep.  In fact I sleep like the dead, but this is usually after weeks of no or little sleep and lasts only a day or two.  Basically, it's either coma or wide awake and absolutely nothing in between.

I wouldn't care so much if I could do something when I was wide awake at 3am.  But noooo, that aint happening.  I am even more moronic during those hours.  I tried writing once.  But when I got up in the morning it was a complete jumble of misspelt gobbledegoop, that looked like it had been written by a meth-addled, sight-impaired tapir.

Ask anyone with Bob and they'll tell you the same story.  Insomnia is just part of the package.  What I wouldn't do for a good nights sleep.  (Well I wouldn't do that, you sicko.  Get your mind out of the gutter).  I know back from my PB (Pre-Bob) days that poor sleep screws with your immune system, increases your chances of heart disease, makes you gain weight and does all sorts of nasty things to your body.  Watch The Machinist, bad things can happen with insomnia (hence my Christian Bale fantasy involves his Batman days, not this ickiness).

I can find a silver lining for most symptoms

eg, Nausea = Eat Less = Lose Weight = Fit in old Jeans = YAY,

but not insomnia.  Can't fall asleep, can't stay asleep, can't function when awake = crap! 

I used to teach patients Sleep Hygiene, so this is yet another bitch slap from the Irony Fairy, she is such a cow.

Who knew that narcoleptic cheese-grater man would become my hero.  How I envy that rotund, naked bastard.  Well technically he wasn't naked.  He wore a hospital gown, but combine his enormous girth with his tendency to pull the gown up to his hips to "air" his bits, well he was pretty much naked where it counts (shudder).  Before you get worried, it was not even remotely sexual, especially not for me and not even for him (the man itched with a cheese grater he wasn't exactly familiar with the real world).  It took me a week to complete an interview with this man thanks to the frequency of his narcoleptic attacks.  What I wouldn't give for a week of that (minus the cheese-grater though).

I have tried using Sleep Hygiene techniques and that does help a bit.  I take some herbal tabs with Zizyphus which seem to get me to about 3hrs in a row, which makes life a little more bearable.  But not much is working.  I am tossing up about a sleep study or some sleeping tabs (not that I want another prescription) but thanks to the mechanisms of Bob their isn't a huge amount to do until you get your Autonomic Nervous System sorted out.  And well, that's really going to plan, Right?

(I think Counting Sheep doesn't work for me because I count killer Zombie Sheep)

So there is my woe is me wingefest about my lack of sleep.  I know it's not just my fellow Bobettes who deal with this, so I send a big "I feel you" to all my readers who spend their nights contemplating Muppet offspring and desiring to zap beloved children's performers, rather than enjoying the insides of their eyelids.  Insomnia sucks my friends.  It sucks.

In Part II, I'll actually do some helpful sleep tips which are the basis of Sleep Hygiene.   See I can be helpful sometimes.

The Nocturnal Michelle :)


  1. Michelle you always seem to out do your self, i was laughing so hard my husband said what is wrong with you. So i told him i was just fantasizing about bashing his snoring ass in the head with the alarm clock..then i laughed so hard i almost needed a loo as you Austrailians say! I loved always tho, you are awsome keep up the great work!! Allea

  2. Allea - glad it made you laugh. At least your hubby knows to watch out whilst he sleeps LOL I always forget that 'loo' is very Australian, I've had few people mention that they find it strange :)

  3. A night time hobby, maybe? Go get a paintball gun and some glowing the dark paint balls and let the paint fly. Maybe a set of bi-pods or a gun rest so you don't have to hold it. just point and shoot. Just a thought.

  4. I can certainly relate to each and every word you have written. My up and down and up and down all night has driven me crazy more nights than I care to remember. We decided a few months ago that my problem had escalated to the point that Victor and I have separate bedrooms. Victor works long hours and he simply was never getting a full night of restful sleep because of my wanderings. Drastic measure but we now think we should have made the change a couple of years ago instead of fighting to remain normal instead of dysautonomia normal.
    Dysautonomia and Nocturnal Polyuria - Plugging the Leak -


  5. Insomnia's a great big bitch. Truly. I suffer from it a lot and I do that whole clock thing ALL THE TIME. My mind just refuses to switch off. It thinks about work, calculates numbers, mixes paint colours, thinks about things I'll do when I get my Airstream, worries about things that don't matter and does everything but sleep. Damn thing.

    Also, it may just be me but I can't help noticing this post of yours appears to have a theme involving shirtless men. I think you got away with it though, by switching to fornicating possums.

  6. Sarah - I'm thinking I could use those paint balls on the possums. Now that would be fun.

    Jane - we're lucky in that a truck could hit the house and David would continue to sleep. Most times I'm lucky if I can get him to stop snoring for 2 secs. Glad you guys found out what works, as you say Dysautonomia is a whole new level of normal.

  7. Veg - Damn stupid brain that wont shut off. I tend to think about crap more than important things I wish I could find the off switch as the damn remote is missing.

    Damn you weren't supposed to notice. Okay so there may be a theme, but I have reached my sexual peak apparently so maybe just maybe that's messing with my mind a bit. I also write a lot about bodily functions, I may be heading into weird territory.

  8. See, I already thought you were vivacious. : )

  9. Katiecrackernus - I'll take that :)

  10. I know it's a "woe is me wingefest" for you- or rather, I always feel weird and awkward whenever I write something complaining about my EDS/Dysautonomia. But I want you to know I'm really grateful for this post: I've had trouble with mild insomnia off and on in the past, but I'm in the middle of my first bout of the really bad, can't-sleep-for-days kind, and I was really starting to freak out. Dysautonomia threw all my old ideas of "normal" out the window; I have no real idea what's "normal" with Dysautonomia yet. This post helped calm me down, made me laugh- and gave me something to read other than that damn clock.

  11. Stormagnet - never worry. If you can't vent a bit on a blog about living with chronic illness I don't know where you can. Insomnia is hard, and the longer it hangs around the more it frays your nerves and in turn makes it harder to deal with. Normal is a strange concept when Bob enters your life. It takes a while to work out what your new normal is and it does change over time. I'm glad that the post helped a bit and hope you get some relief soon. :)

  12. Virginia McGowan11 October 2012 at 12:37

    ooh funny,in awe of your abilty to write---! I counted [way back ]getting up most nights it was 20 -25 times.. Doc said he couldn't stand it.. so I said, I actually sit with my pillow behind me....good news though after almost 20 years it's only 4 -5.and I can actually sleep for 2 hours sraight some nights.


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