I went to my doctor last week for my follow-up appointment; since having my sleep study. I wrote about that and you may read it here. I thought what I wanted to hear from the doctor was that I didn’t have Sleep Apnea, and that I didn’t need to wear a CPAP machine – that was until that is what he said to me.
In actuality I do have sleep apnea, but in his opinion it isn’t severe enough to require that I use the machine. That brings me to the next worse case scenario in my mind. To have gone through all that bad stuff with the 22 electrodes, wires and other torture devices for nothing – or for not having easy fix to the problem.
Taking responsibility for my own actions.
I’ve had a lot of time of my hands the past two weeks – time to think. Time to be honest with myself and to do some soul-searching. It hasn’t been easy. When I first wrote the post about my sleep issues I said I was doing so, in the hopes that I might be able to help someone else that was struggling with the same issues.
Now I need to write about this to help myself.
The day after the sleep study, I triggered an old back injury playing with my dog.
It was 24 years ago a warm summer morning.
John Mellencamp – Pink Houses was playing on my CD player in the car cranked up way louder than it should have been. I was driving to work, singing at the top of my lungs and all was good. John Mellencamp was a rebel, but not just for the sake of being a rebel – he was an artist with a vision. He had something to say with his music. I had the biggest crush on him. I thought he was so sexy in the rough bad boy way – but not too bad. Seeing that video brought me back to my younger self. The young woman who had dreams and plans and wasn’t going to grow old, be overweight or follow the rules.
Sirens were blaring and lights were flashing I was in a rescue squad being taken to the hospital. John Mellencamp and I had wrecked our car.
After hours of being strapped to the backboard and x-rays and cat scans and numerous tests, I was told I was going to be transported to another hospital. When I asked why, I was told that The University of Virginia hospital was the best in the area for handling Spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injury I asked what did that mean? Silence. I was told, PARALYSIS may be involved. Those were the last words that I heard that day.
While talking about my sleep study Dr. Hammond mentioned that I was rather restless in the bed and moved my legs quite a bit. It could be a sign that I had a form of restless leg syndrome – no I didn’t really think so. I just hate sleeping with my sheets and blankets tucked in. I should have un-tucked them before the study began. I was uncomfortable all night long. Low levels of iron can also cause the legs to be restless. Pain, discomfort and being overweight can cause one to toss and turn in the bed.
My doctor told me I needed to spend less unproductive time in the bed. (Mr. Wishes offered to help make it more productive.) The doctor says I need to stop going to bed so early. We counted back from the time that I wanted to get up in the morning – 6:30 am, and arrived to the conclusion that I should be going to bed around 11:00 pm. My schedule for years has been that I would go to bed 8-8:30, read or watch TV for an hour – and move around quite a bit, trying to get comfortable. Most nights I fall asleep fairly easily but then wake in the night and toss and turn for hours.
Doctor thinks if I stay up later that I will be so tired and my brain won’t be as active and I will be able to fall asleep and stay asleep. We both agreed that we did not want to bring sleeping medication into the picture at this time.
It was gently suggested that losing weight would help also.
For over twenty years I have lived with chronic back pain. I have complicated issues with allergies that leave me unable to take pain or anti-inflammatory medications.
My first meeting with the doctor we talked about the fact that lack of good sleep was a cycle that could complicate all aspects of your health and well-being. I’ve thought about it over and over and I realized that the root of my problems really began all those years ago when John and I wrecked the car. The pain was ever-present, I became less active physically and started putting on weight, they cycle had begun.
Being an introvert, quiet alone time is good for me. It allows me time to recharge and reflect on my world. Writing my blog is hard to do. It crosses every private boundary that I carefully put up. Allowing strangers into my world that I would not have contact with under normal circumstances is rather scary. I absolutely write things that I would never say to people I don’t know or even to my friends and family.
I have struggled with this post because I have felt very vulnerable. I have also been rewarded with messages from strangers and new internet correspondents, that have contacted me, thanked me for my honesty and that have just written to check up on how I am doing. I am sincerely, grateful and touched by the kindness that you all have shown me.
Where I am now.
Last weekend, I was feeling a little better and went out to the studio for the first time in over a week. About a half hour into my time out there, I reached for an item at the back of my work table – simple movement but it set my back into spasms. I’ve spent another week, sitting still. I am unable to stand straight or walk for more than a few steps at a time.
Rest is what I need, and time. I am not in the place that I want to be now. I have pain, discomfort, anger and depression.
All those years ago after the accident, I was in a very dark place, but I had a goal to be able to walk down the aisle on my wedding day and stand and take the hand of the man I loved more than anything.
I now have a plan to make myself better. I know this isn’t going to happen over night and it won’t be easy. If I turned my world around then I can do it now.
Until next time,
P.S. I still think John Mellencamp is hot – no worries – Mr. Wishes knows I feel that way.
I remember this shot being taken as though it was yesterday. My eyes were closed not because of the flash from the camera but because I was in horrible pain but I was thinking wow we did it!