Are you sleeping enough?

One of the services that I use to monitor the “world” of the internet is Stumble – I click on the Stumble icon in my browser, and it randomly jumps to a new website based on general categories I’ve indicated an interest in. I also periodically get a newsletter where they highlight some sites I might like based on reviews I have written on their previous recommendations.

One recent newsletter caught my attention with an article about SLEEP. Probably because the last couple of years I’ve had a real problem with getting enough. I am certain that I haven’t slept 7 consecutive hours in over 3 years, and there are whole months that go by (especially in spring) when migraines and arthritis pain tag-team to force 2 or 3 tries at sleeping to reach an accumulated total of 6-7 hours.

Anyway, this article was worth a careful reading to me, and I thought some of you might like it as well.

http://time.com/4672988/the-sleep-cure-fountain-of-youth/

Freaky . . .

After several days in a row with bad weather and migraine complications dumping on each other, I was desperate for some sleep yesterday as my wife left for work.

I actually went to sleep rather quickly – but it didn’t last long. About 2 hours later, I was sitting up from a dream that was so bizarre, and uncannily realistic, that I couldn’t get it out of my head. I spent the rest of the day playing video games to distract myself, yet even when my wife got back home, I still felt as if I’d just awakened from the dream.

It started off as simple as it was ominous. My wife had lost her job because the state had made huge cuts to it’s total budget for higher education. Because she’s tenured, her contract required a year’s severance pay, and she had a year to continue her work while polishing her resume’ and looking for a new job. Still, without a guaranteed income, we were faced with loosing our house. Then, out of the blue, I got a phone call from a childhood classmate. The little 1-traffic-light town I grew up in (founded by a war veteran just after the US Civil War) had lost touch with it’s roots, and I was the only honorably discharged veteran of my age group. In fact, there was only one other veteran my age, total. Such is the fact of life in a small town. So, they needed me to “come home”.

I told the caller that I’d consider the idea, but I had 2 conditions. First: I wanted a full-time job as a cop on the city police force, with appropriate benefits. The second was that there had to be a full-time job for my wife in the city annex of the county library (since the county seat is 24 miles away). It only took them 20 minutes to agree to both conditions. That was the end of the dream.

Then things got even more surreal. When my wife got home, she was fit to be tied. Just before she left work, the university president sent out an email to all university employees stating that, because of revenue shortfalls, the state was facing a $1.5 – 2 Billion financial crisis, and as a state regent’s college they had to be prepared to make some painful cutbacks.

I still didn’t get any more sleep until after 1:30 AM this morning.

While I still can . . .

I have a confession to make.  The reason I haven’t been posting much the last few months is that I am having a rough time with this arthritis in my left hip.

Remember a while back when I posted the story about how the bone tumor in my left leg was found?  It was caught VERY early because I am so tuned in to how my body feels that the onset of the tumor was enough to trigger severe pain and keep me from walking on the leg.

So, imagine being that sensitive, and living with actual problems that have shown up on x-ray and MRI tests for a couple of years.  Ok, those problems wouldn’t normally bother even me so much, but for the last 3 months we’ve had rain or storms in this area every day – except 4.  I’ve counted.  Sometimes they are east of us, as far away as Springfield, Missouri.  Sometimes they are south of us as far as Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Well, you get the idea.  Keep drawing a circle – Broken Arrow, OK, Chanute, KS, Ft. Scott, KS, Nevada, MO.  Any storm that has yellow and red coloring on the Weather.com radar image and is as close as any of those places will cause me enough discomfort that I can’t sleep.

Here is what the VA said about my hip when I (finally!) got the results of an MRI that was done at the beginning of this month:

1. Mild degenerative changes in the left hip joint.  
        
       2. Minimal inflammation involving the proximal vastus lateralis
       and gluteus maximus muscles adjacent to the greater trochanter.  
        
       3. Mild cellulitis in the subcutaneous fat overlying the lateral
       hip.  
        
       4. Subcortical lesion in the posterior left femoral head is
       stable in size back to May 2012 CT with signal characteristics
       suggestive of a small enchondroma. Consider followup MRI in one
       year to insure stability.

See – according to them, even though there are 4 problems going on in the same hip, they are all mild and merit only being monitored.  But, as I said before – my sensitivity is such that these are interfering with my sleep.

And that is my real problem.  I’m down to only sleeping about 1.5 to 3 hours at a time.  Add to that this – I absolutely can’t sleep at night because the heat has been so bad during the day that I am forced to do laundry at night, and only 1 or 2 loads per night.  As I’m writing this, it is just past 0500 (5:00 am) here – and the temperature is 79F degrees with a heat index of 83F.  The sun hasn’t even started to come up yet.

I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be thinking clearly enough to do these blogs, so this is a head’s up.  I’m going to pre-schedule as many Saturday Posts as my WordPress account will let me, and then hope for the best.  But, to keep from sounding like a broken record, I won’t keep updating you all the time about how bad the weather is or how my arthritis feels.

 

The universe aligns itself . . .

totally against me.

No, not really.  Just against what I would have preferred; and I’m smart enough to know the difference.

To recap – a week before yesterday, I had to make a long trip to a VA hospital to get an evaluation of my migraine headaches.  From then to Sunday, I felt terrible.  I finally figured out that it was probably due to my eating something totally not allowed on the PALEO diet while I was having breakfast that Monday morning.

The proof that I was right was that less than 10 minutes after I started eating a Mediterranean Salad with grilled chicken strips, I started feeling better.  It was exactly what I needed.  When my wife got ready for work yesterday morning, I was completely ready for a restful 8 hour sleep.

And right after she left, the people who live across the street took advantage of the first real break in the storm system pattern we’ve had for the last week, and fired up their lawn mowers.  That lasted until 10:30 am, more or less.  Then they fired up the weed eaters to do the edging.

I didn’t get to actually try to sleep until after lunch.  I can’t fault them for what they did.  I can’t complain that the weather finally broke and gave us ONE mild weather day.  But, I would have liked the chance to go to sleep earlier.

Schedule tug-of-war

It never seems to end.  In the interest of trying to keep our monthly expenses under control, it seems the best time to do laundry is in the middle of the night – either in the winter when it helps heat the house during the coldest part of the day or in the summer when running the dryer doesn’t over-tax the air conditioner.  The major problem with that is that all the people who do maintenance on our house (mowing, tuck pointing, window replacement, plumbing, electricians, etc.) all work during the hours I’m more used to sleeping.  Oh, and let’s not forget those long-haul trips to VA health facilities that always throw a monkey-wrench in my schedule because that isn’t just one or two hours – it’s an all day trip.

Well, I’ve got another VA trip coming up, and we thought it would be great if I could, just this once, actually have my schedule adjusted to where I’m used to being up the hours that I need to be awake for that trip.  I was going to try to stay up until noon (local time) today.  It’s almost 8am right now – and I’m burned out.  Oh well, I stayed up 2 hours longer than usual – it’s a start.

About migraines . . .

There is no doubt about it . . . after 15 years of dealing with migraine headaches, I can assure you that the #1 worst thing about getting them is the pain.  It always feels as if half your forehead is exploding.  Sometimes that comes with extreme audio sensitivity.  I once had a migraine while someone was mowing their yard – 2 blocks away – and the sound of the mower made the pain worse.  Sometimes the migraine causes visual distortions instead – which can range from a slight “halo” effect to everything you see all the way to total blindness.  I’ve experienced both extremes.

But, have you ever considered what the #2 worst thing about getting a migraine headache might be?  It might surprise you, but not if you know that a migraine can last from 3-4 DAYS.  It’s sleep deprivation.  When you get a migraine, you can’t sleep properly, so you drift off whenever you can, and the pain wakes you back up as soon as it can.  It puts you into a yo-yo cycle that just leaves you feeling drained.  You don’t get the quality sleep that you need, so even the sleep you get doesn’t help.

Oh, and the #3 thing about getting a migraine?  Well, I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me it is that I haven’t yet found a medication I can take for them that will actually control/prevent the migraine without causing worse problems.  The last med my doctor tried me on actually triggered a migraine.  The first 2-3 that the doctor wanted to try all were known to cause hallucinations, so I never attempted to take them.

I’d love to try one of those TENS units that is specially designed for migraine treatment, but at a cost of $400 that has to come out of our pocket . . . . .