I’ve been exhausted all week. It feels almost like I assume a relapse would feel, like if I went a month without the Lithium. Or without the Seroquel. The physical and mental toll from the “relapse” has reminded me of a few things…
I still have crystal clear memories of how frustrating it was trying to sleep when I was working. Like how for every hour I lay in bed replaying the whole day in my head I’d get maybe forty-five minutes of sleep that felt like I was awake the whole time. Then the alarm would go off and I’d spend the next four hours banging on the snooze button and getting twenty minutes of sleep between hits.
This week I’ve woken every hour, nearly exactly on the hour. I’ve been falling to sleep just fine, but once I’m down and I start to dream something disturbing happens in the dream that wakes me up.
I know I have sleep apnea. I brought all of this up with my psychiatrist today so he’s referring me to a sleep clinic in Ottawa. But if it was the sleep apnea keeping me from sleeping this week, why just this week? The last few people to sleep in my bed mentioned the not-breathing thing. And, apparently, I’ll occasionally reach out while I’m sleeping. Like I’m grabbing for someone, or shaking someone’s hand.
Actually, sleeping with me is something I’ve never recommended to anyone. When I was seventeen I broke my nose playing soccer so now it’s an amplification device. Ever since the break one nostril is wide at the bottom and narrow at the top, the other side is narrow at bottom and wide at top.
So between me not breathing, reaching out for people who aren’t there, snoring like a diesel engine, popping out of bed every hour to get something to drink or use the toilet… then there are the rare times I’ll sleepwalk and mumble and laugh in my sleep.
A friend of mine and myself (I?) went on a road trip a few years ago. We ended up in a nice hotel and he started watching television. I tried to warn him about my snoring but he said something about living with his father’s snoring. When I woke up his bed was empty and the blankets were all missing. He had slept in the bathtub.
Most of the time when a woman sleeps over I’ll start setting up the couch for me to sleep on. Which weirds them out. So I’ll end up in the bed with them and because for the first couple of times I’m so self-conscious that I don’t really sleep they think I’m just being silly about the snoring thing.
But eventually I get comfortable, and I do fall asleep and snore for real and wake up to find them on the couch… at which point I’ll switch with them. There’s usually a slight “told you so” moment. Apparently I snore loudest on my back, but I also go like a chainsaw on my side and when I’m laying on my stomach.
I lived at the Youth Hostel in Ottawa for six weeks back in the winter of 1996. It’s one of the oldest jails in Canada and the “rooms” are actually four cells renovated into one. For the most part I had the place to myself. I was paying, but in winter they open it up for the homeless if they’re willing to clean up the place.
But, I think it was week four, a gaggle of Australians took over and suddenly I had two cellmates. I remember I had been sleeping okay until that point. But then, for two night, I was waking up every hour on the hour and I couldn’t figure out what the fuck was going on. I was repeating my second semester at College and suddenly I was showing up tired and pissed off and I couldn’t concentrate on the work.
Then on the third night I caught the bastard in the act. When I’d start snoring one of the Aussie’s would kick the bunkbed. As far as I can remember right now that was the only time I’ve ever threatened to kill someone.
I’ve also started taking medication for the diabetes this week… 2.5mgs twice daily of Glyburide. The doctor wants to have me up to 20mgs per day by September. I have an appointment soon with a nurse to go over what I should be doing, and a dietitian who will teach me what I can and cannot eat.
He also strongly suggested I start taking Aspirin everyday. I’m a massive risk for heart problems… chronic depression leads to heart attack, diabetes of course, there’s my diet over the past twenty years, the extra 36lbs I’m carrying, then there’s the chronic lack of sleep.
And I’m getting a new prescription for my glasses later this month. I can almost feel myself going blind.
The other thing I was doing this past week was researching the effects of the Spanish Flu on the towns and villages in the region I live in. It’s a project for the local Historical Society. I spent a few days going through the archives of the local paper, starting in January of 1918 and I’ve managed to get to March.
It’s fascinating to read through newspapers like that… I’ve been able to follow these little stories as they becomes bigger and bigger. For example, the first account of the Flu was in an eight line brief in the “International Section” that talked about “an Influenza Plague” in China. According to the brief the government of China was ignoring “bodies piling up in the street”, while the Christian missionaries and local monks cared for the sick and dying.
But there’s no follow-up. The local paper is a weekly so every week for three months there are more and more announcements of people in bed with the flu or “grippe”… two people here, three people there, another over there. But there were so many cases of Typhoid, Scarlet Fever and Small Pox, then the local soldiers dying in Europe or coming back maimed, that the Spanish Flu just slipped right in there. Fascinating stuff.