You Never Have To Ask A Cat If It Is Comfortable….
The thing I most envy about cats is their ability to fall asleep wherever and whenever they choose. Honestly, have you ever seen a cat pacing about not able to sleep? It can’t be due to a clear conscience, as my father always ascribed, but a single-minded focus on shutting down their kitty brains to recharge.
I’d give anything to have that ability. Rest assured I have tried. Oh, how I have tried. I’ve tried every method recommended by friends, family, doctors, witch doctors, late night gurus and online healers.
The problem is that I have not slept a whole night for over 40 years, with a handful of exceptions. Now the doctors do not believe me when I tell them this, but it is the absolute truth. Even the completely exhausting process of giving birth did not allow me a night or two, in fact, I was awake around the clock for about four days when I finally begged the doctor for relief. He had the air conditioning put on. It might not make sense, but it worked. Then the morphine drip after abdominal surgery also worked for a couple of days. But nothing – and I mean nothing – has worked consistently to give me the sweet relief of a complete night of restful sleep.
Has this made me a nut case? Of course! But when I was younger I somehow coped better. It was actually an advantage. Staying up to cram for exams, or working around the clock to put together a live show – people marveled at my dedication. Little did they know that it was something to do other than wander out to the kitchen at 3am to make a peanut butter sandwich. And I didn’t even hallucinate at that point.
Every doctor I have ever been to has tried to address this issue for me. They all start out with the same advice. I dutifully try it, again. I report back that it doesn’t work. We try the over-the-counter drugs, then the prescription drugs, then the rubber mallet to the head. Well, no – the doctor doesn’t recommend the rubber hammer – I do. Then there’s the advice “you have to have a set routine. Don’t drink caffeine or exercise or watch stimulating tv shows or read a book just before you want to sleep.” And “only use your bed for sleeping and sex”. And at some point “have you tried sleep tapes?”
When I was a young bride, I quickly found out my husband fell asleep every single night within 5 minutes of laying his head down on the pillow. After a couple of years of this I finally complained about my inability to sleep to my husband and he promptly brought home a sleep tape. We put it in the player. He fell asleep within 5 minutes and I laid awake listening to the man on the tape. When it stopped I shut it off and laid there staring at the ceiling for the rest of the night.
So I’ve lived with a resigned frustration. What else can I do? If I volunteer for a sleep study I’ll skew the stats all to hell.
“This will make you sleep” the doctor would always say. “I will try it” I would say. Then I would report back and relate that it did not make me sleep. “Hmmm” the doctor always replied. “It should work. “But it didn’t” I said. “Try it for a little longer” the doctor suggested. I did, and it didn’t.
I’ve tried hypnosis, psychotherapy, relaxation exercises, warm milk, chanting, scented candles, a warm shower, a snack, no snack, a tilted bed, no bed – you name it I tried it. Finally, after 40 years the medical community has come up with a medication that works. Praise be. I took it the first time and within 15 minutes I could not keep my eyes open. The next thing I knew it was morning. For those of you who can’t relate to years of insomnia, I’ll tell you it’s better than winning the lottery. Because by the time you get to my age, it just isn’t fun anymore. Mostly because your brain cells stop regenerating and the next day you find yourself dressed in a clown suit on the other side of the country wondering how you got there. However, even with the miracle drug after about 3 weeks the affect wore off and I had to stop. Yeah. But I can wait a couple of weeks and try it again. You know – like shampoos?
So I think the government, or some pharmaceutical company, should invest a gazillion dollars or so into studying how it is that cats sleep so easily and so often. Of course, the cure might make me wary of strangers, never come when called, and start eating out of dishes on the floor. But I’m willing to take that risk.
Until them, I’m switching to a rubber mallet to the head. No, not for me – for the doctor. It won’t make me sleep – but I’ll feel a lot better.