Sleep deprivation is bad enough for anybody. For those going to bed with autoimmune diseases, being denied sleep can be nothing less than dangerous. I have a proved record as an excellent sleeper, perhaps at my best when I am unconscious. Sleep is a marvelous tool of denial, a comfortable hiding place from the demons that stalk me by day.
So imagine my frustration.
My ability to fall dead asleep when my head hits the pillow is up there with the best of them. If sleep becomes an Olympic sport, the starter’s gun will sound and soft snores echo through the bedroom. But my rhythms are changing, I guess, along with everything else in my body. I suppose that should not surprise me.
Sometime between 2:30 and 3:30 on these dark and frigid mornings, my marvelous journey into the night comes to an abrupt halt. The alarm might be the clarion call to the bathroom or nothing at all. But I am awake. When that dread status registers, my mind jumpstarts itself, and my unquiet mind begins the race.
Hell freezes over. I am awake for hours, a departure from a long history of sleep that satisfies. I never would dream about my physical challenges. Never. It was like life in Disney World, a delightful though artificial reality. Now I lie in the chill, toss and turn and consider my life through the prism of darkness.
And I wake up tired. What a surprise.
The Urologist says my bladder and prostate are pretty normal. I am not feeling guilty about more than my occasional rendezvous with Ben and Jerry. This narrows the cause of my late night sleeplessness to one probable cause. My tolerance for ambiguity is ebbing.
I have lived my entire adult life wondering what is around the corner. Is it baring its teeth and waiting for me? For decades, I was remarkably glib about the possibilities. Say it ain’t so worked for me. The longer that passed for a winning strategy, the more I took it for granted. I was winning.
Now I have turned that street corner and what do you know? The monster has been inside of me all along. And there is no stopping it now. If it is angry, I cannot calm it down. I do not know how hungry it is, but the thing is in charge. Will the stem cell therapy put an end to the beast? At three in the morning, I am not inclined to think so.
I wonder why I am having trouble sleeping?