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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Just Call Me Sleeping Beauty?

Having not left the house for two days, I'm afraid to say that I've not got an awful lot to report this evening!
I have frustratingly slept away two precious days of my life- and although there may little change there, the related frustration of this never ceases to sadden me.
Once again, I could not sleep for love nor money last night and after hours of reading on my Kindle, watching numerous episodes of 'House' on my iphone and perusing over Twitter on my laptop, I finally fell asleep at 11.30am THIS MORNING!
I am exhausted from this insomnia which is plaguing my life right now. Despite this, I do know part of the reason why this is so bad. I also know a way in which I can improve this situation in part.
Why? You may me ask, am I not doing so then?
Pain is the main factor in my insomnia, but the secondary factor is most certainly the itching and tickly sensation that affects my skin all over my body every day and more prevalently every night!
The itching is a symptom of my Arachnoiditis, (my degenerative neuropathic condition), as well as also being a side effect of the copious levels of morphine that I have to consume each day for the pain also associated with this!
When you are talking about dealing with hideous chronic pain, itching may seem a very trivial symptom to complain about- and you're right- in comparison, there is none!
However, when it is nearing 3am and you have taken extra morphine in order to cope with the pain and you are then subjected to this uncomfortable itchy sensation at a heightened level because of the said extra morphine- I can assure you, this becomes a very horrid situation where reaching for the antihistamines that will relieve these feelings to some degree, enough to allow sleep to take me- suddenly seems very appealing!
The problem, ( or more aptly- one of many problemS!), occurs in the fact that these antihistamines cause severe fatigue, on top of the fatigue caused by my morphine and other drugs- coupled together these drugs cause me to sleep easily through to 1- 2- 3- 4- even 5pm!
I can set up a myriad of alarms and phone calls from my husband in order to wake me from this deep slumber- NOTHING makes a difference!
What can I say- just call me Sleeping Beauty!
Facing the difficult journey ahead that Garry and I plan to take in order to hopefully become parents, (if that is, that I am deemed physically able to do so), I've found myself paying even more attention to this issue than I perhaps usually would; as at the end of the day, what baby is going to understand that.. mummy had a tough, painful and uncomfortable night and that they may just have to hang on for some food as mummy's medication make her sleep lots?
Yeah, exactly!
Faced with this catch twenty two, I have done the only thing that I can, and adjusted the only variable possible in this situation.
Over the last two weeks, I have removed the antihistamines from my life, with a very clear and dramatic affect- I was able to be awake when I set my alarm to make me so! Hurrah!
It's a small thing that we all take for granted, but when you are unable to wake when you plan to, it becomes an extremely frustrating and unbearable situation!
For the first week of this medication change, despite only getting between 3 and 6 hours sleep, I was able to face the day at a normal sociable human hour.
Second week of my experiment and things have not gone quite so well to plan. This itching is really not very nice and really affects my ability to go off to sleep.
Another factor is that once I am awake in bed in pain or itching and the clock is edging ever closer to 2 or 3am  and the house is quiet and the world seems a very lonely place- the anxiety and worries in my life tend to bubble to the surface with dramatic and devastating affect!
And there we have it- when the anxiety, itching and pain concoction has gotten that little bit too much, I reach for the antihistamine. However, when you're only taking these pills (which have a side effect of fatigue), as a last resort when it all becomes too much at 3am- you tend to not wake up to 1pm minimum!
What do I do?
With no other non-drowsy antihistamine options available that are strong enough for my symptoms, the only option I feel that I have is to explore those options which involve me controlling what I can with my mind!
I'm planning to now try meditation in a hope that I can cope with my physical symptoms even a fraction better and probably most importantly control my emotional symptoms as much as is at all possible.
1.24am and I'm nearing the end of writing my blog, (it probably doesn't help much that I find it best  to write at night when everyone else in my flat has gone to bed), and I am nervously anticipating the difficulties of the night ahead!
These night time problems, are yet another unseen, unknown and often underestimated element of my life with my disability.
When I catch up with friends or family in the daytime, it is so easy for them to see me dosed up on my morphine and recovered from my difficult night and to take away a false perception of how I am doing.
I have no problem with this, and the reason that I do dose myself and pretend that I'm... ''absolutely fine honest!'', is because I often want to avoid always talking about my depressing situation and I want people to think that I am fine- but the issue comes when you need the same people that you are misleading to understand why you have to let them down last minute for a dinner or a drink as you are unwell!
For me there are SO many elements of my disability that I hide from even my closest of friends and family.
Who wants to be sharing the many personal and sometimes embarrassing problems that the high levels of morphine cause and plague me and others with disabilities with every single day?
Who wants to always be talking about a subject matter that is on the whole quite depressing?

On that note, I am conscious that this has not been the most concise, captivating or upbeat of posts and for that I sincerely apologise.
The perfectionist that I am learning, with the help of my 'shrink,' to identify myself to be, wants to stay another hour or two and rehash this post to a much more articulate and engaging piece; but the sensible and responsible person I am working on making myself, is urging myself to promptly switch off the laptop and stop putting off the inevitability of bed!
Wish me luck. I'm off to count those sheep!

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