The Hillhouse

The Journey of a Mother and Son

Wired Awake June 1, 2013

My body is so done with all this, but apparently my mind is not.

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing. After all, the non-stop thinking that keeps me awake night after night is responsible for much of the content here on this blog. My mind supplies unending material to work with, and for the most part it’s in two categories: Things On My Mind or Things To Act Upon Very Soon. The main difference is that the first stream of thinking has the potential to make its way very naturally into text; it stays to the point, sorts itself out, then finds a tidy resolution. The other churns ceaselessly, details upon details of unfinished business from the waking day, minor panic at the things left undone, the things that threaten to be forgotten unless dredged up once more before falling unconscious… It all tumbles over upon itself, like a frictionless gear free of its clutch, endlessly spinning… And once more, I find myself still sleepless, hours after shutting the book and turning off the light. My body is to-the-core exhausted, yet it will not surrender itself to sleep. Today was a day chock-full of appointments, errands, rehearsals and more, yet here I am another night, waiting in vain for sleep. I just don’t get it.

Maybe I do. There’s just so much to do, and it’s just me to do it all. I make lists upon lists, and there’s always something I’ve forgotten. I need to backup my computer files to a cloud. I need to contact an aging friend before it’s too late. I need to fold the laundry that sits ankle-deep all over my bedroom floor. I need to make a paper mache egg for Monday’s production of Alice in Wonderland. I must find a way to cut the grass as it’s now knee-deep. I need to plant the garden. I need to make sixty hoops of nine guage wire for the garden. I need to find swaths of garden cloth with which to drape those hoops. I need to get rid of the old toilet which now sits embarrassingly right outside my kitchen door. I need to shovel two feet of chicken poop from the coop so that my birds can sleep free of urea fumes. I need to marry my chicks with the flock. I need to find a friggin chicken sitter for my trip to Chicago (which is in three weeks!). I need to go over the left hand of the Mozart. Am I too late to give money towards an end of the year gift for Elihu’s teacher? That reminds me, I need to get a yearbook for Elihu too. Don’t forget… they sell out fast and it’s first come, first serve Monday morning… but then again I need to be at rehearsal first thing too… how to do both? How long til food stamps? Could it still be over a week? May’s support still not here – and it’s June! Students wrapping up for summer, how will I get by? The next paycheck from school will be the last one til the fall…

And why is my check engine light on when I just had an oil change? Crap. I’m losing it.

Two benadryl, then three… an hour later the fourth one. Over the counter sleeping pills don’t do a thing. Rather, I wake the next day as if slightly drunk and remain tired all morning long… Melatonin? Magnesium? Whatever. Nothing works. I have a few, very precious generic Ambiens left, and they are more valuable to me than gold these days. Neither the local family practice nor my doc accepts Medicaid – so I can’t see anyone right now about a new prescription; I ration the remaining few out and I plan ahead. Just how bad is it tonight? I wonder. Does this warrant such an emergency dose? My weekend will be screwed up and I won’t get anything done if I can’t get to sleep… Crap. If I can just pull out of these last two weeks of school. After that I don’t so much care. Oh, but what about traveling? I’ll need help then, too. Don’t want to waste my biennial visit to Chicago in a sleep-deprived funk. This is insane. It’s nearly three. I’ll take one.

This post won’t likely find a tidy ending tonight. It must end in sleep at some point, right? Back for another try. How very frustrating. So much to do, so little time. So very tired, yet so very wired. See you in the morning…

Elihu woke me around 8:30 by snuggling into bed with me. He stayed quiet as I dozed myself awake. I feel ok on the five plus hours of sleep, and it’s nice to have a day stretching out before me, hopeful and new. Coffee made (my own git-er-done brew of generic ground coffee and Bustelo espresso in a french press. Go ahead, say what you will, I’m no coffee snob) and I am somehow revived – maybe more so mentally than physically. But hopefully a long day of domestic labor will bring me back around to a better sleep schedule. Wired, awake and ready to have another go at it…

 

Senza Sonno May 2, 2013

It’s back. Only now I can’t even get to sleep much less stay asleep. The recent loss of my father’s voice on my answering machine is a low-fi backdrop to a constant stream of worries that plays relentlessly through my head… And each night it seems we get to bed later and later… Phone calls, unexpected visits from friends, desperate final games on the DS before bedtime, more dishes to wash than it seems we could have possibly used just to make dinner for the two of us… various things thwart our plans to retire at a sensible hour. And the later the hour, the more stressed we both are about hurrying up and falling asleep. It took Elihu close to an hour before I heard his breathing shift. He tossed and turned until past 10… Me, I napped for an hour but am back up again, wide awake and awaiting the effects of one of my few precious remaining sleeping pills. I try to go without any pharmaceutical assistance – I really do, but it seems no matter how much I may yawn during the day and yearn for my bed, I cannot depart this waking consciousness on my own… I awake tired each morning after just an hour or two of true sleep. And as I embark on a long, full day, I look forward to little landmarks to keep me going, culminating in that glorious relief my bed will bring…. yet it when I finally get there…. there aint no relief waiting for me.

I’ve shared my love of sleep before. I no longer find shame or embarrassment in my need for a good eight or nine hours of the blessed stuff. I’ve come to believe my body needs it. I feel refreshed and ready when I’ve had a good long night’s sleep. I can go a day or two on scant nighttime naps, but by day three I’m not happy. And tomorrow morning will be such a day. I’d fix it if I could, I’d call a doc friend and ask as humbly as I could for some help, only even if she does help me out, I still can’t afford the full-on, mainstream price tag of the sleeping pills without benefit of insurance. Why do I even mention this? I came to learn recently that my Medicaid has lapsed. Not good. Not even sure how it happened. I’m usually on top of that stuff… (Makes me wonder if they’ll cover my colonoscopy from a while back. Ich. One more thing to stew over while I’m busy not sleeping.)

Not much to do now, think the little pill is fuzzing me down now. That’s better. Maybe now I can drift away. Only four hours left… Here comes the game of the sleepless night; the constant readjusting of one’s justifications – I can do it on three hours if I have to… it’ll be ok… it’s just one more day… how hard could it be?… ok, I’ve got just over two hours. That’s better than nothing, right?

Yes, I’m getting the heavy lids. Thank God! Shoulda just done this hours ago. Better late than never. Better ‘con‘ than ‘senza’. !

 

Sleepless in Saratoga January 31, 2013

Filed under: An Ongoing Journal... — wingmother @ 4:13 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Ok, this is nuts. It’s been going on for a couple of years now, and I’ve had it.

I live a full and busy life. For the most part I’m pretty happy, daily I’m grateful, and never am I idle. My chores start before sunrise and end late at night. I cook two mealtimes a day plus make my child’s lunch. I work a few hours, I practice an hour, I do laundry and dishes daily and keep up on correspondence. I prepare for students, I teach students. I have a great relationship with my son, I love my home, my family is all alive and well… I don’t smoke, I don’t drink alcohol and the coffee I drink is decaffeinated. All in all I’m healthy, and things are goin pretty well. So why in hell can’t I sleep? Oh I can get to sleep initially – but if I get up at night to pee – it’s all over. Likely I’ll be up for the duration, catching half hour naps here and there on a good night. Some nights I just wake up for no good reason at all. Either way, there I am again, watching that stupid clock. I’ll turn the clock to face the other way, but that won’t help. And yes, I know the other tricks – get all your wandering and pressing thoughts down on paper. Concentrate on your breath. Don’t drink lots of fluids close to bedtime… check, check and check. 

I can’t be the only one! I see the commercials for sleep medications – that lovely, luminescent butterfly gliding in and out of suburban bedroom windows, gently coaxing pretty women to sleep… And I myself have taken such medication. Many times over the last five years I’ve depended on em for a true night’s sleep. But I’d very much like to sleep on my own now, only it just aint workin. It’s driving me nuts. Ok, there are two things I know I haven’t tried – exercise and yoga. Those two disciplines, worked routinely into my life might tip the scales. They might be just what I need to find sleep a naturally occurring phenomenon again. Ok. On the list…

Oh, yeah, and speaking of lists, there’s that ‘other’ list too. The ‘low-grade worry’ list that continues, like a ticker at the bottom of your screen on the nightly news…. not enough money so the electric might shut off soon, not enough money but the fuel oil’s nearly out, not enough money so now the phone’s been cutoff, not enough money but sure hope the the kid’s violin rental won’t be cancelled , not enough money, hope the car insurance won’t lapse….did the bank charge me two or thee overdrafts? How much was that total?  I need more students, I need more egg customers… where will I find them? Even then, will it be enough? This is all old news by now, but it’s there, nonetheless, and perhaps it contributes to the problem. Shouldn’t think so, but then again…

My mother insists that this is simply what happens to all women in or nearing menopause. Many other women say that’s baloney. Who’s right? What’s the cause? What the hell is going on here and why can’t I sleep???

Years ago – as in maybe more than 20 – I was an extra in a Sandra Bullock movie, shot in Chicago. Folks were all abuzz in the costume room, but all I was was tired. My husband had long told me I was making too big a deal over sleep. We humans didn’t need much, he would say confidently, we could function on so much less than we got every night. Alright, so I decided to live ‘like him’ for 24 hours to see how true this was. We had a gig the night before, stayed way up, retired way late. Drove him the O’Hare for his next gig somewhere, then I went back downtown to the set. I was shown the cloakroom, told the extras were already on the street but I had a good twenty minutes yet to find a coat and get down to the set (we were given coats to wear, not much different from our own). There was a pile of coats on the floor left by the extras – and it looked so inviting. Maybe, just for a couple minutes. A power nap. Yeah, that’s just what I need. And there’s no one here – I’m all by myself. Perfect. I laid down and slept. When I awoke, it seemed to be lunchtime. I’d missed the morning’s scene, but I’d at least make the afternoon scene. Got in line and put some very good looking food on my plate. I was just about to taste the tip of a perfectly prepared asparagus spear when a very stern woman came up and informed me that this was dinner for the crew, and that the extras were outside, on set. ?? It took me a minute to realize what had happened. I’d been deeply asleep for at least eight hours – through the commotion of lunch break too – and it had only felt like fifteen minutes! Woah. Very Rip Van Winklesque. Kinda disorienting. The woman made me dump my plate into the garbage and leave the building. Ok. I’m going. I wasn’t bummed about not being in the movie, but I was instead feeling quite smug inside. Turns out this girl does need her sleep. Body don’t lie.  

And the name of that movie? “While You Were Sleeping”. Ha! I certainly know that I need my sleep – more to the point I want my sleep – but these days the challenge is actually getting it. Here I go, back to the task at hand… rested or not, see you in the morning.