Monday 20 April 2009

I think I heard a shot....

I had a terrible night's sleep last night. Normally I'm one of the lucky ones, and sleep is not usually something that I have any trouble with at all. I'm a night owl but I have to get up in the morning to get to work, so I very rarely get enough sleep, and certainly not as much as I'd like - the fabled eight hours is something that only ever happens to me at weekends - but pretty much from the moment I put my head on the pillow, I'm out for the count until my radio alarm reluctantly drags me back to consciousness at around seven.

I'd had a couple of glasses of wine with my dinner, read a few pages of my book, and when I turned the light off, I was fully expecting not to wake up again -- barring the odd trip trip to the bathroom -- until C. got up to catch an early flight to Moscow in the morning. No such luck. I got a little over an hour's sleep before waking up at around 2am, and from then on in, I just seemed to be completely unable to settle down.

My left arm was aching, my feet were numb and my thighs were throbbing. I felt a little as though I had insects crawling under my skin looking for a way out. Not a comfortable feeling, sure, but not something that I haven't had to become accustomed to over the last few months. That in itself did not explain why I was tossing and turning. It's possible I was worrying about work, although unlikely; more likely was the possibility that my appointment on Friday at the disease modifying clinic, when I'm going to choose the treatment I want for my MS, was playing on my mind. The cat, contrary creature that she is, decided that tonight would be a good night to sit curled up against my legs. She usually sleeps at the top of the stairs, where she can keep an eye both on us and on her cat-flap, only very occasionally gracing us with her presence on the bed. Even when she does hop on, she is a dab hand at stomping off in a huff as soon as there is a stir of movement from under the duvet. Yesterday though, there was no shifting her: every twist and turn I made in the bed, the cat just adjusted herself so that she was leaning up against my legs again. I was pleased and slightly honoured that she was there, but as I thrashed around, I couldn't help but think I might be more comfortable if she moved. I could have kicked her off, of course. Of course, I did no such thing.

I watched as the sky grew lighter; I picked up my phone and checked Twitter , sent a tweet and then looked at my email. I considered turning the light on and reading my book for a bit, but decided to content myself with a toilet trip and another serious attempt at sleep. On my way back, just as I was pivoting on the floorboards to face the bed, the fleshy part of my big toe caught on a raised nail and the skin punctured. As if I wasn't awake enough already, now my foot was throbbing into the bargain. The cat blinked at me sleepily as I tried to assess whether or not I was likely to bleed all over the sheets. She didn't move when I climbed back into bed, although C. stirred and wondered what all the noise and movement was about.

I dropped off eventually, but before long (and certainly before my alarm went off), C. was up and about and getting ready to be picked up and taken down to Heathrow for her flight. She brought me a cup of tea and left me to get up and do my strengthening exercises before showering and getting ready for a day I felt even less prepared to face than normal.

I know that I'm lucky not to normally have problems with my sleep. One restless night does not an insomniac make, and I'm fairly sure that a real insomniac would laugh in the face of my probably-not-actually-disturbed-all-that-much sleep. But still, it was a rubbish night's sleep and I don't care to see it repeated tonight. If I'm this het up after one night like this, then I don't know how people cope with real insomnia. I'm not sure how much loss of sleep I could take. One crappy night and already I am Jack's cold sweat; I am Jack's raging bile duct; I am Jack's colon; I am Jack's complete lack of surprise; I am Jack's wasted life; I am Jack's inflamed sense of rejection.....

No sign of Tyler Durden yet, but I wonder how far away he is.

"I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off."

Then again, perhaps I'll sleep like a baby tonight and we can forget we ever had this little conversation?


  1. Hello Swiss, long time and all that.

    Yes, that sounds like stress about the docs.

    I know you've been amazingly rational and sorted about the WTs since they started. And I still think your original brain scan post was one of the most astonishing bits of blogging I've read anywhere.

    But maybe the long run-up to the diagnosis might have taken a bit more out of you than you've let out on here - I'm guessing, a bit cheekily really.

    It's also my experience of a different medical condition that although on the one hand it's good to have possible options for treatment, on the other hand the prospect of making those choices is stressful. What if I choose wrong, what if I don't weigh up the factors properly... that was me, but you might be having a bit of the same.

    I suggest: a) get up, with the cat, and stroke the cat and talk to it a bit. Cats are good friends to have in troubled times. And they never say something stupid.
    b) a nice spliff might help, if you ever do such a thing (don't set the cat alight though).

    Good luck on friday.

  2. thanks red. Good to have you back.

    I'm not sure if would say that I've held anything about the WTs back from here, but I do wonder if I've been holding it back from myself. Whilst waiting for diagnosis, I tried really hard not to think about them at all. What good could it do? If the neurologists couldn't say for sure what was going on, how the hell was I going to know? It might have been MS, it might well not. Actually getting a diagnosis has removed the doubt, and I suppose I'm having to face up to the fact that I have a condition for which there is no cure. I can be as phlegmatic as I like (and there's still bugger all I can do, so why worry?), but nothing much is going to change my diagnosis, and my prognosis is uncertain. Maybe I have been storing all that up. I think you're right about the stress of choosing a drug too, not to mention the worries about the changes to my routine and side-effects and so on.

    a) yes, she's very soothing and sage.

    b) I couldn't possibly comment.