Saturday, July 03, 2010

Out of the Twilight Zone

By Belinda

I am tired--no, really, I am tired. And I am tired of being tired.

I have a sense of urgency to "get on with" several things, including making a doctor's appointment to deal with a problem of sleepiness that has plagued me for a long time. I think it's part of entering a new decade and thinking about how I want to spend the rest of my life. Not tired, that's for sure.

When I was in my 20's and 30's I earned my tiredness. I was exhausted a lot of the time but it wasn't hard to see why. Like many other young people juggling work, family and volunteer responsibilities, I worked very hard and for long hours. There was little down time and when I did sit down, I fell asleep.

I fell asleep in church (quite a feat under my father-in-law's fiery sermons;) I fell asleep when our children rehearsed school presentations, and whenever I sat down with a good book. I zoned out and fell asleep when listening to a conversation partner who talked at length. It was embarrassing, but I put it down to a very busy life.

But falling asleep while watching tv or reading became the norm and one of the reasons that it takes me a very long time to finish a book. I can watch the same movie several times and enjoy it because I catch different parts each time. Although it is an advantage to have no problem falling asleep on plane trips, the down side is greater.

In recent years, Paul often reported that I stop breathing at night for long periods. He lies awake anxiously listening for me to breathe again and says that I gasp for air when I do. A classic description of sleep apnea.

I have ignored his urging to see the doctor. I don't know why. Well, maybe I do. I just couldn't imagine myself wearing the contraption at night that I feared would be the solution.

Suddenly though, I began bumping into people who have got help and feel significantly better since doing so. I saw the possibility of feeling more alert; of picking up a book and reading for hours on end again; of sitting in a meeting and not feeling sleepy--and I wanted it so much. Enough to do something about it.

I talked to my doctor and he made a referral to a sleep disorder clinic. On July 18th I go there to spend the night. Three to four weeks later the results will be available.

Now that this is in process I am very excited. It's been so long since I had a day in which I felt fully awake all the way through and I'm looking forward to experiencing life fully energized instead of groggy and sluggish. And hey, maybe there are options for treatment that I don't even know about.

How about you? Is there something you've been putting off taking care of? I encourage you to do something about it this week. I'd love to hear.

7 comments:

Dave Hingsburger said...

Belinda, I wear that contraption every night and was surprised at how unintrustive it was. I think I had pictured a kind of 'iron lung'. And as a result I don't fall asleep during car rides, movies, at my desk. It's almost miraculous. Here's the thing, though, I'm still tired a lot. But that's cause I'm busy and have a whack of responsibilities. So it doesn't take awake the real tired, but it does take away the 'sleep tired'. Good luck with it. Tell Paul to shake you when he notices you not breathing!

Belinda said...

Oh Dave, what hope you add to that which I already have!

Yes, there is a difference between deserved tiredness, and falling asleep shortly after getting up! :)

As for Paul, yes, there is something rather sinister about just waiting for someone to start breathing, isn't there? :) Hmmmm. :)

Dave Hingsburger said...

by the way, about procrastination, the thing I put off - often devastatingly long - is an apology when one is needed.

Karebear said...

I can't put off my letter to La Senza any longer... I must get my book rolling!

Marilyn Yocum said...

I'm a bit late coming to this post, but CONGRATULATIONS for getting it moving, putting it 'in process.' That's the biggest hurdle.

As for me, despite knowing all the reasons I SHOULD get my regular annual physicals, I stopped a few years ago. Between running to doctors with my husband and accompanying my 91-yr-old mother to all of hers....I just didn't feel I could deal with any more. Since things have stabilized and slowed down a bit in recent months, I finally mustered the energy to call for an appointment and get things going again. So I'm totally sympathizing with the victory you write about here.

I've noted the test date and will be praying for clear results that bring an accurate diagnosis of what's going on so that treatment gives you some relief and rest....so you can keep on writing!!!! :-)

Brave Raven said...

I used to procrastinate going to sleep. It somehow felt pointless to me. I once heard the phrase, "I'll sleep when I'm dead!" and owned it completely. I thought I was just an insomniac. Then, I tried a magnesium supplement and the most amazing thing started happening. I couldn't stay awake past 11:30 pm and woke up at 6:30 am feeling great. This is how a nocturnal insomniac becomes a morning person.

Belinda said...

Dear Brave Raven, I had heard of that supplement and forgotten about it. Isn't it amazing that we can get help when something is out of wack? Why do we wait so long to get that help? Silly, silly me! I'm glad you found something that straightened your sleep patterns out so wonderfully.