Sleep Studies Suck

When I started this blog, I think the idea was just for me to start a new hobby: writing. I just felt like writing.  But, other than catharsis, I wasn’t really sure what the point of the writing would be.  I thought about what sorts of things I know a lot about or have a strong interest in, and I’m sort of all over the place, but I knew my blog was supposed to have some sort of cohesive theme. So, I picked a topic that dominates most of my life:

Morning Grouchiness.

Which is really All-Day Grouchiness, at least in intermittent episodes, but that doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it. So, A Morning Grouch was born – the expert in waking up feeling like shit every day. Being tired every day.  Being kinda grouchy because I’m feeling tired every day. Tired. Tired. Tired. Bitchy. Tired.  I’ve been feeling this way for about 20 years.

I wrote several posts about some of the issues, like my vivid dreams, my restless legs, and my paradoxical reaction to some sleep medications, but after I became pregnant with my first child the blog has largely veered from the original topic, and I’ve just written whatever comes to mind, without holding myself to expectations about the number of posts I publish, or the relevancy of topics I write about.  I refuse to allow this hobby of mine to become work.  I’m not tied to the blog in any way other than it just feels good to write sometimes, and to connect with some other people out there who get me.

But because of the blog, I’ve found myself exploring my sleep issues more and more and I have finally decided that it is not okay that I am feeling this way, and that I am going to do something about it.  After talking with my osteopath about some of my sleep issues he thought I was a for sure candidate for a sleep study. We both thought I probably had sleep apnea, to him my symptoms sounded like a no-brainer.

A lot of people have asked me what my symptoms are since they tell me they had no clue I had sleep issues (especially my grandma, who once she found out I went through a sleep study has been incessanty asking, “How have you been sleeping?” even though I’ve been sleeping the same way I have for the past two decades. Shitty, Grandma. Every night my sleep is shitty).

My sleep issue is such a big part of who I am, and it affects me significantly on a daily basis, yet I guess if you don’t talk about things enough, or in the right way, no one has a clue what’s going on inside of you.  I’m guessing they just thought I was a bitchy asshole for no reason.  But, see? I have a reason.  Maybe I’d be a nice person if I wasn’t so tired all of the time.

Here is a gist of my sleep crapola:

1.  I never wake up rested in the morning.  More often than not, I literally feel more tired in the morning than I did when I went to bed.

2.  I have crazy, vivid, indescribable dreams.  Every night. Every nap.  I dream before I’m asleep, and sometimes after I just wake up.  I’ve put a few of my most normal-sounding and describable ones here on the blog, but most are so bizarre that I can’t really explain them.  A lot of them are violent and a bit disturbing. The crazier and more vivid the dreams are, the more tired I am when I wake up.  I hate dreaming.

3.  I get super exhausted, almost every day.  Excessive daytime sleepiness. It’s a thing.  It sucks.  There are many times when it takes literally all my energy to keep my eyes open.  ALL OF IT.  No energy left to be very productive, no energy left to be nice.  I have to force myself to move, being idle and trying to stay awake is a horror.  I’m dizzy, I’m weak, I can’t focus. I have a horrible memory. Yea, I know. Everyone’s tired.

4.  I can fall asleep any time.  Any where.  I’m a huge fan of the power nap.  It’s not unusual for me to try to arrive a bit early to appoinments, so I can sleep for 10 minutes in the parking lot. I have never fallen asleep somewhere where I really knew it would be unacceptable, such as a work meeting.  Even though forcing myself to stay awake is often torturous, I can do it. But, given the opportunity, I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Falling asleep has never been my issue.

5.  I can not find a pattern, or a cause, related to my level of sleepiness and fatigue.  I’ve tried sleeping for different number of hours per night, I’ve tried no caffeine and even (gasp!) no alcohol.  I’ve tried diet changes and exercise and have seen zero differences (exception: running over 20 miles per week really helps with my restless legs. It also gives me a jolt of energy, perks me up and helps my mood).  Some nights I sleep through without waking up, sometimes I wake up every few hours and have significant insomnia .  Nothing. Matters.

6.  Once I had babies I realized it literally didn’t matter what time I get up, or how many times I get up in the middle of the night, or how long I’m awake – I’m always the same amount of tired. This was somewhat liberating, actually, since people often complain about how tired they are after having kids, but for me, it’s been almost exactly the same as it’s always been, except now I sometimes get up in the middle of the night to soothe a child, or to put away dishes, read, write a blog post, or work on my kid’s baby books.  I occasionally get up at 3.45am to go for a 4.00 jog, though even that seems crazy, even to me, when I do it, it works and I feel no difference to the rest of my day. Same amount of tired.

The biggest difference now that I have kids I feel like I should probably be a functional adult, where before I could sort of be a hot mess and it didn’t matter a whole lot.  It is very hard for me to sneak in my power naps when I’m at home and the days of being able to lounge all day louge binge-watching Netflix are soooo long gone.  If I really need a nap and I can’t get one I am RIDICULOUSLY tired and OUTRAGEOUSLY bitchy. One small thing can suddently set me off or can cause me to feel completely overwhelmed.  My husband knows this all too well.  This has been a large factor in prompting me to try to fix the problem.

My first sleep study was a typical polysomnograph.  They put me in a fake-ish looking hotel room where they spied on me with a camera all night long and were able to talk with me through a two-way speaker system. If I had to pee in the middle of the night all I had to do is say, “Jody, I have to pee” and Jody would come over straight away to unhook me so I could carry the cords with me to the (unvideotaped) potty.  They hooked me up to a million electrodes, including some on the chest and legs, and offered me the t.v. remote if you need to watch a bit before falling to sleep.

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See the little camera they spy on you from on the ceiling? (top left)

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Lovely picture. And bathroom with no camera (hopefully)

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The weirdest thing about THIS is that this the room you meet with the nurses in, even during just an office visit. Sleep study.

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Holy hell. Yes, this is what I looked like all hooked up, ready to go to sleep for the night. The wires are surprisingly light and not nearly as cumbersome as they look. The nose thingey measures air you exhale OUT.

After my sleep study, I felt like I slept like I normally did and was fully expecting a sleep apnea diagnosis within the next 7 to 10 business days. When I got a phone call at work telling me that I did not, in fact, have sleep apnea, I almost burst into tears. I might have frightened my coworker with my emotions.

My husband acted confused, “You’re upset because you don’t have sleep apnea?”

“Yes!”

Sleep apnea you can fix. Fairly easily, with a CPAP machine.  Now, I felt hopeless.

The tech who gave me the test results over the phone told me that the doctor would like to meet to discuss some of the other symptoms I had expressed in the sleep questionnaire. Things like the excessive daytime sleepiness and also one symptom I had no idea was at all a real thing, or that had anything to do with sleeping difficulties, until I checked “yes” to it on the questionnaire.

7. Cataplexy (maybe. Or not).  Which I now know means episodes of sudden, involuntary, muscle weakness, typically triggered by strong emotions. Cataplexy can vary greatly, from hardly perceptible facial drooping and shoulder sagging, to complete muscle paralysis and collapsing on the floor. I have no idea if my feelings are what cataplexy is, but based on the description on the questionnaire, I felt my symptoms fit. I even have a sound that I hear in my head when I feel whatever this feeling is.

I had often wondered if that feeling of muscles suddenly draining was normal, or if other people felt it, but figured it was just me being overly-emotional and dramatic and didn’t over analyze it. After I learned that this was a thing, it made me wish I had paid more attention to it before.

Based on these other symptoms, and a few irregularities he saw from the data from my first sleep test, he wanted me to do another type of sleep study – a daytime sleep test called a Multiple Latency Sleep Test (MLST).  This measures sleep latency (how quickly you fall asleep) during the day, and what stage of sleep your brain slips into.  It’s a pretty cut and dry measure for Narcolepsy – you should not be entering REM sleep during the day after you’ve had a full night’s rest (they have you do another nighttime sleep study the night before, to ensure any daytime sleepiness isn’t due to you being out drinking all night the evening before).

MLST day

MLST daytime study – no hoses up the nose, thank goodness.

sleep study 2

sleep study 3

So, I took four naps, every hour and a half after I woke up.  The first nap I was so anxiety ridden that I had a hard time falling asleep.  I was worried about not being able to and I wanted the test to accurately reflect my typical ability to fall asleep at the drop of a hat.  It took 11 minutes.  The next three naps I fell asleep in 5 minutes, 4 minutes and 3 1/2 minutes.  Pretty short sleep latency times.  While I dreamt during all 4 naps, I never fell into REM sleep, so the result =  no narcolepsy.

Fucking fuck.

I seriously sobbed.

My husband asked, in typical jack-asshole fashion, “wait, you wanted to have narcolepsy?”

I wanted a fucking answer.

So, I got some bullshit diagnosis (severe idiopathic hypersomnia!) that basically means I’m really, really, really, tired all the time but they don’t know why.  Ironically the med treatment they suggested is the same as what they suggest for narcolepsy.

So.  Looking to find other answers now.

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As If Moms Need More Proof Sleep Deprivation Is Real

A lot of people say they never understood exhaustion until they became a parent. That wasn’t the case with me.  I’ve dealt with exhaustion from sleep issues, and depression/anxiety, so after Baby Grouch Number One was born I think I actually felt better in the mornings than I used to.  I was tired, of course, but I was always tired and honestly having a kid just gave me an excuse to get up and keep moving, and I didn’t feel any worse, most of the time, so I just focused on the gift that is motherhood and welcomed the fact that I felt like shit, on most days. I felt the same amount of tiredness that I used to, but at least I was being productive, and I had newfound happiness.

But, once Baby Grouch Number Two came along, I began to understand how those other people felt. I hit the ground running.  With two, there was not much time for resting postpartum, and I had to keep moving.  I still do.  There is no down time.  The house is constantly a mess, my arms are constantly carrying my little ones, along with bags, bottles, books, baby dolls, diapers, wipes, sippy cups and peanut butter crackers.

So, there’s coffee.

But holy hell, I am TIRED. And even though people always ask, “is the baby sleeping?”  it doesn’t really matter if the kids sleep through the night or not, it’s the cumulative effect of sporadic mid-night wake ups, waking up to pee, hearing phantom baby cries, hormonal changes (hello night sweats!?! ugh) and Mom Ears – supersonic hearing that cause me to wake up when my husband rolls over, or my daughter coughs, or when the tree branch scratches the window outside the dining room, downstairs, on the other side of the house (we’re getting that tree cut down soon).

There is not enough coffee in the world.

Recently there was a study about how moms are sleep deprived, even several months after giving birth.  So, there’s the scientific proof.  But we moms don’t fucking need it, do we?  No. We don’t.  We know it’s real based on the stupid shit we do when we’re in such a state. Here’s my latest:

1) I went jogging with a pal the other day.  Which sounds good, until you hear the rest.  We meet at a local gym (that neither of us is a member at), park our cars and jog from there.  We are typically gone for about an hour or so.  On our last jaunt, I was exhausted (shocker) and had to walk the last half mile.  I got back to the parking lot and my pal was still there.  I thought maybe I wasn’t that slow, since she was still there stretching, but NO.  She was there to tell me, “um, your car door was open this whole time”.  I left my car door open, for an hour, while we jogged.  She looked concerned.  I was embarrassed, since this was one of those friends who you really don’t want your crazy to show, you know? But, she’s seen it, that’s for sure, so oh well. Thank goodness I live in freaking suburbia because my wallet was in my trunk, safe and sound.

1b) I was reminded that I was also pretty loopy after having just one kid.  I went jogging once and didn’t realize until about two miles in that I was wearing two different shoes.

mommy brain

2.  I drink coffee all. day. long.  I have to or I will stop moving.  So I turned on the Keurig the other day and turn around and see this:

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I forgot to put coffee cup under the spout.  Eff.

3.  I have to pee a lot, from all that coffee, but I’m even screwing up peeing.  I went to the doctor and was supposed to pee in a cup before heading to the room.  I went in, peed, came out, and realiized I forgot to pee in the cup.  The nurse came in the room and gave me a quizzical look.  I gave her a head shake, and a shoulder shrug while saying, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I forgot”.  I had to laugh becacuse it feels like there is literally nothing I can do about this kind of crap. I accepted it, chugged some water and tried again later (I had to focus, but I was able to complete the task)

toilet

4.  I got in a fight with my husband, I forget about what (of course). We were arguing and then went to the grocery store and then was so tired I forgot I was even mad at him.  Probably for the best, but still.  You know how annoying spouses can be.  So that’s some serious tiredness to completely forget that shit.  And then, I remembered what I was mad about later, and I didn’t even care.  So tired.

5. I’ve lost two car keys in the last few months.  Those fuckers are expensive.  Did Toddler Grouch toss them in the trash?  Are they in the basket they should be, I just can’t see them through my exhausted glassy-eyed gaze?  It’s a modern day mystery.

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I’m all about scientific studies, so YAY SCIENCE for discovering we’re all sleep-deprived.  Even though we already knew.

Quite frankly, it makes me feel better when I hear that I’m not alone.  It’s things like this (it’s HILARIOUS – click it!) from Momastery‘s Facebook page, that make me smile and think that what I’m going through is perfectly normal and perfectly fine.  I can laugh at myself, (and let’s be honest, a little harder at the other acts of sleep-deprivation that are not my own) and keep on truckin’.  Peace out, fellow Mamas, who do so much, with working brain cells so few.

Any sleep-deprivation stories you want to share with me, so I feel less alone?!

Parenting: Reasons to Panic #2: The Sleeping Newborn

I have vivid memories of Mr. Grouch, in his college apartment, during muggy summer months.  I can picture him, stripped down to his whitie tighties, sprawled across his twin bed, with the oscillating fan one centimeter from his toes, the soggy air leaving him too lethargic to move. A sexy, sweaty, beast.  The two of us are different in so many ways but in this way we are oh so much the same.  Wait, not in the sweaty beast way.  Well, actually, yes, in the sweaty beast kind of way.  What I mean is, neither one of our bodies can adequately handle the oppressive heat of July, August, September.  Our air conditioning runs on high all summer long and we keep our home chilled enough to be able to walk around the house in jeans and hoodies.  We do not like to be sweaty beasts.

So, when Baby Grouch was born, in the fierceness that is August, as ridiculous as it seems, we felt the need to put a little heater in her bedroom.  You turn on the heater, and then set it to the appropriate temperature, which, in our case, was around 71 degrees, and it has it’s own internal thermostat.  At the time of this episode, Baby Grouch was a couple of months old and was sleeping 3-4 hours at a stretch.

The first night she slept for 6 hours, I woke up, in a panic.  I got that surge of adrenaline that I had become so accustomed to, every time she woke me with her squeaks and squawks, but this time it was because she was quiet.

IS SHE OKAY?

Shrouded with the fear of sudden infant death syndrome, I hurried to her room, and opened the door and a wave of heat hit me in the face.

Then the REAL panic started.

OMG OMG OMG IT’S TOO HOT OMG OMG OMG I COOKED MY BABY OMG OMG GREATER RISK FOR SIDS WHEN IT’S TOO HOT OMG OMG I COOKED MY BABY “HUN! GET UP! THE BABY’S TOO HOT. TOOO HOOOOTTT!”

I was screaming and yelling and flipped on all the lights; I opened the windows and took Baby Grouch from her crib and removed her from the sweltering room and laid her in the hallway all the while still yelling panicked nonsense at my husband.  I unswaddled her and took her teeny tiny body out of the sack.  My heart was pounding out of my ears.  Just because she feels warm right now, doesn’t mean she’s okay.

She opened her eyes.

OMG OMG OMG “SHE’S OKAY!  SHE’S OKAY!”  I’m still screaming. Out loud, not just in my head.

This all happened within a matter of seconds and Mr. Grouch wasn’t even out of bed yet.  Er…he may or may not have been laying in bed, watching me silently while giving me the, you’re-such-a-freaking-crazy-hormonal-wife-I-don’t-even-know-what-to-do-with-you-right-now look.  He said calmly, “I think you forgot to set the thermostat on the heater”.  Indeed, I did.  It was over 80 degrees in that bedroom (probably 20 degrees warmer than the rest of the house) and for weeks I was sick about it.

Looking back, I think about that college apartment in the summer and how we didn’t have central air.  I realize that many people, in summer months, allow their houses to reach heinously high temperatures (and some even enjoy it.  What??).  Some of them probably even have babies that sleep there with them, that are okay.

What panicky sleep stories do you have of your newborn?

Still Sleeping

Nine Ways I’m Going To Be Annoying When I’m Old (Which Also Happen To Be Why I’m Annoying Now)

1. I’m going to misplace everything.  I already do this, so it’ll just be magnified twelvethousandfold.  I misplace my phone about 5 times a day.  I put papers on my desk and can’t find them for 40 minutes.  And they’re right there, on my desk.  It’s exhausting.  My grandmother recently drove an hour and a half away to get her hair done at a salon by her old house, and while she was there she went to lunch.  She somehow managed to lose her car key between parking, walking into the restaurant, eating and leaving.  She thought it must be buried under the umbrellas, shopping bags, papers, and multiple packages of cookies she has strewn around her car, so she made my mom call a locksmith (who totally swindled her and made her pay 175.00 in cash).  After all that, the key wasn’t even in her car.  My mom had to make the 4 hour trip to bring her a spare.  This is the kind of shit you’ll be dealing with in the future, Baby Grouch.

2. I’m not going to be able to hear anything.  I already can’t hear.  I once went in to have my hearing tested because I realized I was making my students repeat themselves and kept telling them they needed to just TALK LOUDER.  It turns out my eardrums work just fine, but I’m allergic to my cat.  So allergic, in fact, that my Eustachian tubes are perpetually stuck together.  Allergen earmuffs, if you will.  What? Did you ask me why I didn’t get rid of my cat? I think we’ll both be better off if I pretend I didn’t hear you say that.

3.  I’m going to poke my loved ones in the eyeballs with my whiskers.  Seriously, I’m the hairiest beast.  You  might think I’m exaggerating, but have you seen my 7th grade picture?  I can only hope that they won’t get so long that I poke myself in my own orbs.  Which brings me to number 4.

4.   I’m going to be blind.  This is going to be a horrible condition in itself, but will be doubly horrible when considering the implications when combined with number 3.  How will I see the hairs that need to be plucked?  I’m already very much near-sighted.  Combine this with impending farsightedness and that means I’ll be nosighted.  Blindness is scary. Almost as scary as not seeing my own hirsuteness is not being able to see if bears are surrounding my tent when I go camping.  Even if I don’t actually go camping, the thought of potentially being in the woods and not being able to spot a bear before it sneaks up on me and swipes my guts out with his claws, gives me anxiety.  My impending nosightedness is not going to improve my neuroses.

5.  I’m going to walk into a room and ask, “What did I come in here for?”  This will happen in every room I enter. Probably even the bathroom.  I will go into a room to complete task A and not be able to remember what task A was until I walk out of the room to do task B.  At this point, I will complete task A, and then completely forget what the hell task B was.  And the cycle continues.  And, I will probably end up peeing myself.

6.   I’m going to list every item I have in the fridge and pantry when guests come for a visit. My grandmother does this and it is annoying as fuck.  Seriously, stop telling me about the 6 different types of mustard that you have in the fridge.   Mustard is delicious, yes, but also so not important. In fact, it is so unimportant that I will choke on a dry pretzel before encouraging you by responding to your nonsensical mustard-speak.  The incessant babble about mustard is making me hate my used-to-be-favorite condiment.  I caught myself Granny Listing the other day to my sister’s fiance.  I basically forced leftover pumpkin pie into his hand and was wasting time chatting about condiments, for crissakes.  We hardly get to talk and I wasted time on CONDIMENTS.  I’m pissing myself off thinking about it right now.  I caught myself after I had offered up half my fridge and then promptly rescinded all of my offers and wouldn’t let him try my strawberry ghostpepper jam (which is REALLY, REALLY good).

7.  I’m going to get annoyed with technology.  I like to think I’m okay with technology now.  I’m one of the ones in our department where I work who is considered somewhat technology savvy.  But, if I’m trying to do something and I don’t know how, I really just want someone to do it for me.  I usually need it done NOW and don’t have time for bullshit – like LEARNING.  I get annoyed when I can’t do something, but I get even more annoyed when someone points out the obvious, like the fact that I should take the time to figure it out.  I still haven’t used Tweet Grid.  Or Prezi.  Or Camtasia.  Let’s face it, I’m not so hot at Instagram.  I think there are a million apps that people use all the time I haven’t even heard of yet.

8.  I’m not going to be able to sleep.  Hopefully I can still blog about it and find others who can relate and help me vent or find the humor in the situation.  Then it’ll just annoy those who hate hearing about my stupid blog.

9.  I’m going to gross you out with my cough. It’s already harsh and recurrent.  I drink water – I cough.  I talk – I cough.  I breathe – I cough.  I sleep – I wake myself up with my cough.  I choke on my own saliva – I cough and cough and cough and tears stream down my face and I cannot get one word out and I cough some more.  Baby Grouch was doing this weird fake-coughing for awhile and I couldn’t figure out why.  As I was changing her one day and turned my head to cough, it dawned on me.  She was COPYING me.  At 6 months old Baby Grouch was already a saucy little Coughy Cat.  So gross.  My grandmother gets a cough every time she eats.  One bite and it’s all cough cough cough cough… and she gets an amazed look on her face and says, “Oh! I’ve got a tickle in my throat!” She always acts surprised, like the same thing didn’t happen at breakfast and lunch and dinner for the past 20 years.

How are YOU going to annoy your friends and family when you get older?

I Stalk My Family When They Sleep. And Take Pictures.

My husband and I met on the soccer field – we were on the same intramural team at MSU in 1997.  We talk about this long ago age in “pounds ago”, instead of “years ago” since we were once both young and spry.  Sometimes we still play on coed teams together, or he plays on his own team and I do other things like yoga or jogging (running a half marathon next weekend – wish me luck!)

Awhile back, he started complaining of a groin injury.  For some time, he had to do some physical therapy and take a soccer break in order for it to heal.  It helped.  At one point though, within the duration of this soccer break, he started to mention that the groin injury seemed to be returning; this confused him since he hadn’t been playing.

It’s old news that I have horrible issues sleeping.  Since I am awake periodically throughout the night I am able to easily spy on observe the other people in my house as they snooze.

My husband sleeps like a rock and awakes refreshed every morning.  For this I alternate between being envious and murderous, depending on how tired I am.  He does have one weird sleeping habit though.  He sleeps with his knees bent, with one leg upright, foot planted on the bed, knee towards the ceiling.  I snuck a picture of him doing it while he was sleeping the other night.  This is what it looks like:

This just looks uncomfortable to me.

This just looks uncomfortable to me.

I have no idea how he is able to hold his leg like this, while sleeping.  If it were me, my leg would topple one way or the other.

When he mentioned the groin injury recurrance, it dawned on me that THIS could be the cause of the injury, not his efforts on the pitch.  It must take some effort to keep that leg up, dontcha think?  He asked that if I see him doing this, I move his leg so it is lying flat.  This means that nightly I’m shoving his leg over to get it down in an effort to help him avoid a sleep-related injury.

So, imagine my giggles when I peeked in on Baby Grouch the other night and saw this:

babyknee

I know she’s in a sleep sack, but you can see her left leg bent up just like his if you look closely! Follow the pink sleeper lines.

Oh, and here's another!  Caught her during nap  time after I originally posted this.
Oh, and here’s another! Caught her during nap time after I originally posted this.

You Need Sleep!

I was recently contacted by a very friendly chap named Peter, who has turned some informative facts about sleep into exceedingly cute info-graphics.  Not only does the data look accurate, but it is easy to read, properly succinct, and, most importantly, super cute.

My personal favorite facts include:

1) Not getting enough sleep increases the risk of being overweight (which means I shall forever blame my love handles on my horrible sleep patterns).

2) Cognitive functionality increases 40% after a 20 minute nap.  I am a huge fan of the 20 minute nap – and more often than not I feel more rested after a high quality power nap during the day than I do after a full night of typical “sleep”.  My favorite 20 minute nap method involves drinking a cup of coffee immediately before taking the nap, so by the time you get up from the nap the caffeine kicks in.  I can also forever blame my apparently slow processing speed and dull nature on my ghastly REM cycles.  Hurrah.

See for yourself how lovely and cute fun facts about sleep can be!  Clicking on the picture will take you directly to the original source.

Provided by: MedicalBillingandCodingCertification.net

Ghosts of Blogging Past

I’m linking up with Mommy Two Cents and Chosen Chaos for Ghosts of Blogging Past, posting a link to a blog entry from my first week of blogging.  Click on the image to read some of the other blogs who are joining up for this one.

I haven’t been blogging very long, so this post, about my husband, is from the summer.  This is the post that made him ask, after getting multiple texts from his friends about the content of my blog, WHAT ARE YOU WRITING ABOUT ME?  I’m not sure he’s actually read it himself, yet.  Here it is!

A Special Fart. One I View Lovingly.

This blog is not about farts. If you are a fart-lover, I regret to inform you that this isn’t going to be chock full of anecdotes regarding gaseous emissions.  However.  There is one special fart that does belong here, as it ties in nicely with the topics of sleeping and waking.

While we were dating, I do not recall my husband being much of a farter.  Nothing note-worthy, anyway.  Once we got married, though, it was like someone turned that lever parallel to the pipe and let the natural gas flow. Usually after an emission, especially a nice loud one, my husband will look at me with an impish grin, and I will look back, repulsed, roll my eyes and say, “That’s gross”.  This is our routine.  In fact, sometimes my husband will just say, “That’s gross” for me, in a mocking, high-pitched voice.  At least he knows how I feel.  However, early in the morning, while I am still buried under my piles of blankets, I hear a different kind of fart.  It has a different timbre.  It is longer in duration.  Much longer.  It sounds slightly forced, but nothing painful. It’s like the equivalent of a loud yawn.  And this is the indication that my husband is going to get out of bed.  There is usually about a 5-10 minute window where he checks the news or Facebook on his phone, and then he arises.

I’m not even sure he knows that I know he does this.  Keep in mind, while he bounds out of bed, full of enthusiasm for the day, I am curled up in a fetal position, blankets tucked around me tightly, head buried in my pillow.  I may or may not be groaning a bit, in despair.  Each night, the sheets on my side of the bed become twisted and ripped from the mattress, so I am  laying directly on it (sidebar: this means that my cat, who sleeps at my feet, is also laying directly on the mattress and then my husband gets mad that there will be cat hair on it. Sigh.  I can’t help what I do in my sleep!)  My hand is poised to hit the snooze button so I can avoid the inevitable torture of placing my feet on the floor.  I am so exhausted at this point, that I don’t believe I have ever had the energy to respond to his vaporous alarm clock, I’ve never told him that I named this special little guy.  And I certainly have never told him that even though my face has a scowl, my eyes are squeezed shut, and my garbled response to anything he asks me is completely incomprehensible, that, for some reason, that sound makes me smile.  Well, at least on the inside.  That sound reminds me that he is such a better morning person than I am and I know that it makes him happy to greet the day with his flatulence.  And that makes my heart happy, too.  That’s true love, right there.

An Un-Sexy Sleeper

In the 7th grade, I was skinny and slightly gangly.  I had large rimmed, tortoiseshell glasses, and shiny silver braces (always with gray rubber bands).  For some reason, I cut my hair cut to slightly above shoulder length, which was a poor choice, for me.  It curled under in an unattractive fashion.  My hairdo often involved putting half of my strands up into a ponytail at the crown of my head and then pushing the entire thing forward, creating an odd, offensive little bump of hair above my forehead.

Yep.

I hadn’t yet realized that waxing was so easy, so accessible…so important. Consequently, I had substantial, Groucho Marxish eyebrows. We’re talking thick, thick fuckers (or shall I say fuckER, since there was a bridge of hair above my nose, connecting the two furry beasts.  Look closely).

I was also quite mustached.  YIKES.  After having braces for a few months, my orthodontist gave me headgear.  It was an old school metal contraption in which long, curved metal pieces were pushed through tiny holes on the brackets attached to your teeth, and a cloth strap held the metal piece in place, as it pulled your upper jaw back, leaving your teeth achey in the morning.  Half of the time I would fall asleep with the headgear on, and then wake up in the middle of the night finding myself being stabbed in the neck by the metal pokey pieces; I would often rip out the headgear in my sleep.  Looking back, that seems rather dangerous.

Can you imagine those metal tines poking you in the neck? Ouchie. Image via Wikipedia

20 years later, I’m not too much less of a dork (I do, however, have a LOT less facial hair).  I’m starting to think I may be turning into an Un-Sexy Sleeper.  Much like in 7th grade, I am starting to accumulate horrible sleeping contraptions.

Un-Sexy Contraption # 1:  Bite Guard.  I clench my teeth, which likely accounts for the headaches I frequently wake up with.  As a result, sometimes I will wear a bite guard.  They really do help to lessen the headaches; I hate wearing them though, so avoid it unless absolutely necessary.  What tends to happen is my jaw will be normal/relaxed, and over the course of a few weeks it will tighten up a little bit every day, until it gets to the point where just touching the joint that connects my mandible to my skull results in excruciating pain.  (Today is one of those days, so I highly recommend that you don’t talk to me today.)  Then, I’ll wear the bite guard for a week or two, until it is relaxed again.  The cycle repeats.   Why not just wear it every night?  Issue #1 is that the thing is just effing annoying.  I try asking my husband a question and a series of mumbles comes out. I have to suck up the spit before pulling it out from my mouth, and then hold it in my hand while talking to him.   Not attractive.   Issue #2: is that when I sleep on my side, many of the bite guards tend to create a pool of saliva that builds up and then spills out of my mouth.  Wet.  Gross.  Issue #3 is that I eventually bite through the bite guard and have to buy a new one.  I haven’t gotten one from the actual dentist yet – maybe those would last longer.  Downside = they’re crazy expensive.

Un-Sexy Contraption # 2:  Wrist Guards. We moved into our house a little over a year ago.  The house had been a foreclosure, and the people who moved out left it completely begrimed.  The carpets were soiled.  There were tiny black handprints located 3 feet above the ground, around the perimeter of every room in the house.  There were pieces of cut up straws scattered around (I wonder why they lost the house…)  There were chocolate chips EVERYWHERE.  After the slobs family moved out, the house was vacant for over a year and a half, so a colony of spiders took over and created webs that had to be cut through with a machete every time you entered a room.  After buying the house, I scrubbed the walls for a week straight, until the rags no longer came away black.  We replaced all of the windows, the carpet, much of the plumbing, stripped off roomfuls of flowered wallpaper, removed mold, repaired holes in drywall, gutted and renovated bathrooms, and repainted every wall in the house.

Who the hell puts picket fence wallpaper in their kitchen?! Gah.

The prep for painting included sanding all of the trim.  I sanded trim for hours and hours.  And hours.  It killed me.

Sanding trim = worst job ever.

A result of this torturous act was that the muscles in my forearms turned into burning, feeble, mush.  Finally, I refused to sand anymore, since I was literally injuring myself.  (We ended up just painting over the unsanded trim and it turned out fine.  That really pissed me off.)  Ever since then, my forearms seem to become exhausted very easily.  Recently, it got to the point that they were constantly hurting, and I had trouble typing or doing anything that required repetitive motion.  I couldn’t even practice yoga as much as I wanted, and that totally freaked me out.  I NEED YOGA.  So I went to my OMM doctor and mentioned that I thought I might be getting carpal tunnel.  Dr. Golden (yes, that is his real name) asked me what my symptoms were and checked my arms out.  He said he didn’t think I had carpal tunnel, but he knew what the problem might be.  He thought that when I slept, I was keeping my wrists bent very tightly, so my palm was next to my forearm, and the strain on my tendons was causing the pain.  As soon as he said this I pictured myself settling in at night, (or when I woke up in the middle of the night), and I saw my wrists tucked tightly into my arms. Sometimes my wrist was tucked under my chin, sometimes under my shoulder.  But yes, I was definitely doing this.  I tried keeping my wrists straight, but found this to be incredibly difficult, so I started wearing wrist guards to bed.  I felt immediate relief when I woke up, and even got a satisfying pop when I cracked my carpals in the morning.

Un-Sexy Contraption (?) # 3:  Mismatched, Non-Pajama, Pajamas.  This week is Homecoming week – and thus, Spirit Week, at the high school I work at.  Each day students and staff can dress up in a ridiculous pointless enthusiastic way to show their school spirit. (I dress up solely so I can wear jeans and tennis shoes).  But, Tuesday of this week was Pajama Day.  I thought about dressing up, but…my pajamas?  To school?  No freaking way.  I wear scrubby blue sweatpants that have some mysterious stain on the right thigh (salsa? I do love my nachos…).  They are too big, so I have to cinch them really tightly around the waist.  If they come even a tad bit loose, they start to slide off and my bum crack may or may not emerge.  On the top I wear a mismatched t-shirt from 1999, or, on a good day, maybe a mismatched tank top.  Not school appropriate.  As I eyed the students and teachers in their pajama wear, I realized that maybe I should make at least a tiny bit of effort in terms of looking a little less like a schlump when I sleep.  I mean, I’m not striving to be a snoozing fashionista, but maybe I could…match.  Or, maybe I could wear pajamas that fit properly.  A new pair of pjs, combined with the occasional non-usage of Un-Sexy Contraptions 1 and 2, could go a long way in ensuring I don’t turn into the Un-Sexy Sleeper.  Even though my husband loves me as I am, he might appreciate this gesture.

We Wants It, We Needs It. Must Have The Precious.

I recently received a box from my cousin Maggie (aka my dealer).  I had been anticipating the arrival of this box, which contained My Precious, for many days, and every time she asked me, “Is it there yet?  It should be!”, I’d re-check the mailbox, then have to walk back to my house, in a depressed state, since it was never there.  Humph.  (That’s a lie, I NEVER check my mailbox.  Thankfully, my husband does.  However, did you picture me walking across the street, with slumped shoulders, so disheartened that I didn’t care if I got hit by a car?  Cuz that’s how I felt). The package took ages to reach me.

When I finally saw the box (on the kitchen counter, brought in by my husband), I felt the rush of serotonin, creating a chemical surge of happiness, while simultaneously imagining the sound of a trumpet (do do dah DOOO!), and envisioning an angel in front of me, the box cradled in her porcelain hands. Yes, I was that excited.

This picture illustrates how I felt, opening the package. Image via Pinterest.

I tore that sucker open and tossed the box in the trash.  I let Maggie know that I had finally received the package and she asked me how I liked the stickers.  Stickers??? Hm.  I didn’t notice any stickers?  She laughed, and said, “Atta girl.  You and I will be besties at The Betty“.  But she thought I was kidding.

Curious about what she meant by “the stickers”, I went to the trash and plucked out the discarded vesicle.  Sure enough, in my haste to get to the goods, I missed out on the embellishments decorating the package.  When we go to France, to restock, I”ll have to pick some of these up as well, they’re pretty cute.

Tunnel vision – didn’t even see the Eiffel Tower.

My Pretty, My Precious: An Update

Recently I posted about how I tested a sleeping pill, that my cousin Maggie sent to me as a gift, through the mail, in a beautiful fleur-de-lis envelope.  I was afraid to try the pills initially, since sometimes things that are supposed to make me sleep have the exact opposite effect.  But, after taking one, I found myself pleasantly surprised and perhaps even a bit hopeful about the effects of the drug, which I started calling, My Precious.

Maggie gave me all kinds of advice about what I should do prior to taking My Precious.  She expounded the fact that I should ingest no caffeine or wine that day, and I should sleep with earplugs and an eye mask.  I didn’t abide by all of those rules, I figured I’d just try taking the pills to see what effect they had, and then go from there if I felt they had potential.  No need to skip out on that glass of wine, if the pill wasn’t going to help anyway.  Baby steps.

Last night, I popped two of the little French pills down my gullet, around 10.30pm and shockingly, I didn’t wake up until the morning!  Not even once, just to pee.   I’ve been thinking about this for a good 15 minutes or so, and really can’t remember the last time this happened. So far, so good.  I still had some weird dreams, but they didn’t completely drain me of my energy.  Side effects included a bit of dry mouth, and also dry eyes.  In fact, I think part of my dream involved my eyes burning.  It is highly likely that I slept with my mouth gaping open and my eyes open wider than usual.  Perhaps the eye mask would be a good idea, after all.

Maggie has promised to send me more My Precious (I’m sure she is on her way to the post office right now.  Right, Maggie?!) and is generously sharing her supply with me.  Once “we” run out, we’ll have to take a trip to France, to restock.  I’ve never been to France, so I am hoping these work, not only so I can feel somewhat rested, but also so I have an excuse to travel.

I’m sure there is a drugstore, chock full of My Precious, near the Eiffel tower. Photo courtesy of eiffeltowerfacts.org