Friday, August 03, 2018

To be normal...

When I graduated from my Ph.D. program, I bought myself three presents:  Kashi (my first puppy dog), a rare book by Gene Stratton Porter (Kashi promptly chewed on the spine), and what I called a "big" bed.  Up until that point, I had slept in a twin bed.  I chose a full bed, primarily because that was the size that had a GREEN iron frame on clearance because it had (unbeknownst to me) the wrong bolt holes on one side of the headboard.

Even though I have, since 1995, slept in a full bed, I have slept only on one side, taking up even less space than my twin bed!  I decided that I wanted to learn to sleep in the middle of the bed.  In part, I decided so to give my beloved puppy more space on the bed.  In part, I bought the bed for myself and long to be more ... normal.

I sleep in fear.  Always.

In Alexandria, I slept first on the left side and then on the right side.  This is because I slept on the side furthermost from the door.  Once I got Kashi, I slept with a something between me and the door. I believe this is because of the sleep paralysis I endure with night terrors.  You lie there in bed, awake and yet still caught by the terror of the dream.  It is hard to endure because you know you are awake, but you are still in the dream.

Amos is loving having all this extra room in the bed.  His preference is to sleep by the front window, which was my side of the bed.  Since I slept on just a sliver of the mattress, there was no room for him.  Now, he can stretch out to his heart's content.  And he can travel back over to his side of the bed and stretch out there.  Only his greatest preference is to press his body up against mine, so he has been sleeping just off-center.

It has been a hard transition for me.  I find myself gravitating to the left again.  And I find myself staring at the door in fear.  And then I feel such shame that fear still binds me so.

I will say that I have enjoyed being able to roll over to the left without falling off of the bed.  And I have finally been able to sleep on my right side after two and a half years—darn that pacemaker! I have not particularly used more space, because I now sleep, primarily, with my knees drawn up to my shoulders or at least to my waist.  Doing so flattens out the small of my back and means less arthritis pain.  I also will sleep a flamingo.

Whole decades of my life had me standing like a flamingo, on leg tucked up against the other.  I am not sure when I stopped doing that after I moved here.  Or perhaps before I moved here.  I actually do not remember the last I did, but it was probably around the time that I was getting diagnosed with dysautonomia.  Balance has become such an issue with me.  Try standing with your eyes closed and your feet together.  I do that and bad things happen.  Think for a moment.  You usually have your eyes closed washing your hair, right?  You cannot do that if you are chronically ill.  I stand and close my eyes in the shower and chaos will follow as I tilt my head back to wash or rise and I realize that pre-syncope has started.

But flamingo standing?  I started that as a young, young child and kept it up ever since.  Well, until very recently when I gained all that weight from the gabapentin.  And until I started having less and less control of my balance. I miss that stance.  It anchored me.

Ah, but I digressed.

It might seem a strange thing to be trying to learn to sleep in the middle of the bed.  But I do hunger to be normal wherever possible. 

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