Friday, November 28, 2008

43 Things: Sleep better: More complaints

In my previous entry on sleeping, I didn’t discuss how my chronic pain affects my sleep. Nor did I mention the noise factor. So I should mention these things, just to have the full picture.

My apartment is situated on the second-floor, above an often used alleyway. My bed is situated so that my head is directly beside the window, which I have to keep open a crack for air circulation. From early morning on, and sometimes all times of the day and night, there are trucks bombing down the alley. In the relative silence of ‘sleep time’, these trucks sound like 747s taking off a run way. My neighbour has also described the sound like this. In addition, there seem to always be loud drunk people walking and hanging out below my window. This is especially bad on weekends. This makes it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep, and I often get woken up in fright of these noises. Often the drunks are screaming and swearing at each other, whether in conflict or rowdiness. I can’t move my bed – my apartment is so tiny, the current arrangement is the only one that gives me enough space. I can’t sleep with my head at the other end of the bed – my floor slopes downwards at enough of an angle that beads roll to the far wall if I drop them. I don’t want to be sleeping with all my blood rushing to my head.

The pain. My whole life I slept on my side. Since I have had the back pain, I have no choice but to sleep on my back. It is always more difficult to fall asleep on my back, and difficult to remain on my back while asleep. I have support pillows that I use under my knees. Last night while I was trying to fall asleep, I could feel pain in my back despite lying in the proper position. I don’t know what else I can do, I can’t afford a new mattress. Last night my legs were killing me as well, and I had to take extra pain medication, 2 melatonin, and a zyprexa in order to get to sleep. I woke up today at 7 a.m., worrying.

Then there is my feet. On a good day, the pressure from my heels on the mattress creates a burning pain. On a bad day, my feet are ice cold and extremely painful. That alone can keep me awake all night. Sometimes putting my moccasins on doesn’t even make them warm, because there seems to be absolutely no circulation, and massaging my feet doesn’t create any. I have to put an electric heating pad directly over my feet. So going to bed requires all sorts of props, drugs and rituals. And still I don’t get quality sleep.

Taken together, these two entries detailing the problems that affect my sleep are overwhelming. Enough to go to my doctor with. It is ridiculous, when I think that most people just get into bed and sleep. Writing out these entries earlier in the week made me feel very hopeless and depressed. I wanted to give up, but how can I? I can’t even lie in bed all day like a depressed person, it becomes so uncomfortable. It’s getting to the point that no position can relieve my pain, and that is a frightening place to be.

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I sometimes write things that I don't really mean or believe. These are not to be taken literally, nor as definitive statements about me or my beliefs. Thoughts and emotions are transient, and I reserve the right to change my mind, generalize, exaggerate, give strong opinions, or write other possibly offensive statements. I don't lie, but I may say something that's not true to check whether I believe it or not, or to make a point. Call it creative license. This is my blog, and do have the right to say what I want. I'm using it in creatively therapeutic ways. Whatever the reader may think of me and my words, please believe that my core intentions are always good and I never willingly hurt anyone.