“…To Sleep Perchance To Dream…”

sleepI 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. 🙂

Lydia!

22 Replies to ““…To Sleep Perchance To Dream…””

  1. I hope you get some quality sleep.
    I don’t have kids, but I have been a nanny, and I’ve worked full-time, and I’ve cared for a parent. Caring for a parent was by far the hardest. Don’t sell yourself short.
    Do what you can.
    Change what you can to make things easier on you.
    Be gentle with yourself.
    You’re doing the best you can.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I have done all three of those and I agree that caring for my Dad was the hardest. He passed in 2012 but lived with us for the last 4 years. Plus I looked after him a lot when he lived alone before that. I guess what is hard now is seeing my own health deteriorate and do now want my husband to have to take on more than he has already….even though I know he would do it gladly. Thank you again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel that with my husband too. He tells me it’s an honor, and I know he’d have it no other way. I have to believe him. Make it the best we can. I do as much as I can to take things off of him, but I can only do so much, and that changes depending on the day.
        We do the best we can. We must be gentle with ourselves.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am a longterm insomniac. I laugh at all those articles that say adults need 7-9 hours of sleep – I’d be happy to make it past 2! I hope you manage to breeak the pattern albeit by suffering a nasty bug!😷

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks. I have bipolar and in the years when it was not managed I got two hours of sleep, worked 12 hour shifts (which were only supposed to be 7), cleaned house every night and managed that for months at a time. Even now, like you, I manage on the little sleep I get. I did sleep last night and while my bug feels better I don’t feel rested at all.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. When I began juicing I found one of the positive effects was that it calmed me down. I was staying up until 4 am, only going to bed when I was exhausted and my eyes were on stalks. Like you, I used to have weeks of non-stop activity then have no energy. I don’t remember the last time I had a full night’s sleep and felt rested in the morning. Part of it is always listening out for a child or a parent, part of it is years of pain and never being able to relax enough to sleep deeply, part of it hormonal, part of it is concern for certain members of the family amd trying to work out what to do. But I am much calmer now and am generally in bed between 10 and midnight, so at least I’m having some quiet time. Occasionally, I do have to get up again because I can’t sleep, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was. I do hope things improve for you.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I understand that feeling. However, my doctors won’t give me anything for sleep because I take so much for pain, depression, acid-reflux, etc. There isn’t much that would fit in with all that. And I really don’t want to take more. I am glad you have some help though. There are nights when I wish I could just take a pill and go to sleep for the whole night.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, it was bitter sweet because we had a strained relationship to begin with and Dad was suffering with dementia and I could not bring it up with him or his doctor (or Dad would hate me for going behind his back). My parents took in my Grandfather when I was 16 after my Grandmother died so I knew it was the right thing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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