In my last post I mentioned that the Pain Doctor had me discontinue a medication abruptly. Even though I had recalled reading that you’re not supposed to stop this particular one like that, I knew that this doctor wouldn’t appreciate having a patient point something like that out to him, so I didn’t. And, after all, he was the doctor and I assumed that he knew what he was doing. It wasn’t until my friend Dee pointed out that my anxiety and inability to sleep and stay asleep were withdrawal effects that I realized that I should have geared myself down on my own. But, by then I had gone a couple of days without taking the medication and I hated the thought of starting over. Thus, I decided to just “tough it out.”
Toughing it out has meant waking up at about 2:10 a.m. every morning and being unable to get back to sleep. The first time it happened I was upset and frustrated and tossed and turned, all while trying not to hurt or disturb my newly healed leg. It was a very negative experience which started the next day off all wrong.
So then I decided to embrace this new challenge. When I’d wake up, I’d find ways to fill the time. One morning (night?) I worked on remembering all of my elementary school teachers’ names and I got them right all the way through sixth grade. Oddly enough, high school teachers were harder. Only the really good and really bad ones made an impression.
Another night I got out of bed and went downstairs in the dark and peered out my front window. Right when I parted the blinds, a deer looked up from my stepping-stones where he had been feasting on a buffet of berries. He stared at me intently and I stared right back, careful to avoid any sudden movements. It was a special moment, like we were sharing a secret. I wondered where the rest of his family was and if maybe he, like me, was unable to sleep.
Later, when I returned to bed, I was still not able to fall asleep, so I did one of my old tricks. In my head I picked a book I’d read and enjoyed and began casting for a movie of it. That may sound easy enough, but finding actors and actresses in this day and age to perfectly fit a character can take forever, and that’s even using people who are already dead. I don’t think I’ve ever completely cast a whole movie…at least not yet.
Another night, another 2:15 a.m. awakening. For a while I just listed things in my life I’d like to change, but realized that that’s not an ideal activity when you’re already on the precipice of depression. So, once more I slipped out of bed. I turned off the burglar alarm and then, wearing only my slinky Hollywood nightgown, slipped out onto the balcony and into the chilled night air. I stood at the railing, gazing out into the night and listening to the nocturnal sounds of the wind and critters in the underbrush. I noticed a light on in a townhouse across the way and wondered what the story was there. Was a couple up fighting because the husband had only just gotten home? Was a mother walking the floor with a sick baby? Was someone suffering with a toothache and counting the hours until the dentist’s office opened? Or did someone just fall asleep in front of the television? Whomever it was, I felt a camaraderie toward my fellow night stalker.
But although I’m trying to make lemonade out of lemons one more time, I hope my body reverts to normal soon. I’m not a napper and this getting by on only four hours of sleep is starting to take its toll. But still, there’s something to be said for those wee hours of the morning when I have the world almost all to myself. I can be Queen Of All I Survey…and I like it.