I have been in love with everything Shakespeare since forever. I even went so far as to take a full course on him in university as part of my English major. I took another on Mark Twain but that is for another time.
I have pulled this quote completely out of context from Hamlet’s famous soliloquy as he is trying to decide to live or die. There are several little gems in there, the best of which is, of course, “To Be or Not to Be”.
However, I picked the title to refer to my sudden reprieve from insomnia. I am sure it is only because I am suffering from some sort of cold, flu or infection. I have slept the better part of the last 15 hours and will probably go back when I finish this and get some fluids in me (in the form of ginger ale and a fruit smoothie).
While Hamlet was likening sleep to dying and still dreaming about his horrid life, I really do wish for restful and peaceful sleep with dreams. However, with chronic pain causing me to constantly change positions (which wakes me up), I can’t remember the last peaceful sleep I had.
But, with the help of extra cold and pain meds, I at least have been able to sleep and give my body a chance to heal from this latest bug. I will take sleep any way I can get it!
I believe my insomnia started about a year after Dad moved in with us and came home from his first stay at the hospital. He had a care aid from 7 – 8 am to get him ready for the day and I used that time to either sleep or go to the pool/gym for exercise. The day would be filled with getting Hubby off to work, making meals, watching TV with Dad to give him company, normal house chores, helping Dad at night to get ready for bed (9 pm), then talking to Hubby when he got home from work (midnight).
I generally stayed up during that 3 hour period between Dad settling down and Hubby coming home to get things done I didn’t have time for during the day. So, when Hubby went to bed I would have “my time”. This could consist of reading, playing games on the computer, talking to friends on chat, or just relaxing. However, as time went on and my own health deteriorated while caring for Dad, the ability to get to sleep, whatever time, became a challenge.
- I became depressed because I was pushing myself way too hard
- I ended up quitting the YMCA because I just couldn’t get there and when I did, it was like I was starting all over again
- Dad was calling out in the night so I was always “listening” for that
- I would leave my chores such as dishes, getting Dad’s “menu” ready for the care aid in the morning and crushing his pills because they can’t touch medication.
- My mind would be crammed with thoughts of what needed to be done the next day or of problems from that day.
- The pain just got worse laying down and no position was comfortable – this still happens to this day
- My immune system went haywire and I started catching every virus and infection there was including a vicious skin infection in my leg with the knee replacement. This resulted in three weeks of twice a day IV therapy, while Dad was in the hospital for three months.
Insomnia is very common in the world of invisible illness. I know that I am not alone by any means. In fact, my reason for this post is to show how it can happen to us. Most don’t also have to look after an ill parent, but I don’t have children to look after or a job to go to. Still, we all just do what we can and take things as they came.
So, I am trying very hard to be optimistic that this time I may be able to start turning my sleep patterns around. One can only dream. 🙂