Sleeping Is An Art Form


If I were asked what kind of art sleeping would fall under, I would probably say abstract art because that is the only way I can describe my sleep habits.

Another description would be what I call just plain fucked up.

As a small child, I would be an early riser. I would drive my parents crazy–especially on the weekends–because my internal clock was set to wake up at 6:00 a.m. no matter what. I fondly recall that there weren’t any kid’s shows on T.V. at that hour, so I was left watching Orion Samuelson doing the Farm Report and wondering what the hell pork bellies were.

I’m still wondering what pork bellies are.

Now that I’m on the horizon of turning fifty-one years old, my sleep habits have drastically changed along with my health. One of the advantages of being deaf is that you don’t hear a sound when you’re sleeping. My husband, whom I wrap my arms around at night, snores like a bull moose. However, I can only “feel” him snoring by the rattling of his rib cage as it rises and descends with his breathing.

This ensures me that at least I won’t wake up to a dead husband.

I also don’t have to hear four dogs wandering around in the house during the night, or deciding around one in the morning to chew on a bone and continually drop it onto a hardwood floor.

The disadvantages of not hearing while you sleep is not being able to hear a good thunderstorm. I can feel the wind through the window, but can’t hear it. Serial killers, burglars, and art thieves wouldn’t go unnoticed since we have four alarms in the house: Crusher, Lucy, Otto, and Gunther.

I can’t hear them bark, but they are so loud, my chest actually feels the vibration of the sound their barking makes.

I mean, I can always wear my cochlear device to bed, but frankly, my ear hurts after wearing it all day. I want the super-hero ability to tune stuff out and have a solid night’s sleep.

But, that ain’t gonna happen because….

Even though I am uninterrupted by not hearing any sound, my body has the uncanny ability to wake up every. Single. Fucking. Night. I’m not sure at what time this may be, but I’m guessing anywhere between 2 – 4 a.m. my dreams end, and I’m up like a twelve year old boy’s penis.

The bathroom may be one point, but sometimes I don’t have to pee at all. I refuse to get out of bed. I place my eye mask over my face where it belongs, and not around my forehead where I found it, and try to shut my brain off.

This is easier said than done.

I start thinking of stupid, mundane, idiotic things. Songs I hadn’t heard in years will pop into my head and the endless loop of “Back in Black” by AC/DC starts playing in my head. This is not the type of music that lulls a person back into deep slumber, but rather, makes me want to get a lighter and sit up in bed wishing the band was in my bedroom.

Then my brain decides to play, “Jive Talkin'” by the Bee Gees. Sometimes it’s “867-5309/Jenny:

“Jenny, Jenny who can I turn to….”

My brain turns to stupid shit, that’s what it does. It drifts off into something I forgot to do earlier in the day, or the laundry I forgot to take out of the washing machine, or wondering which dogs are up in our bedroom and which ones are downstairs patrolling the house.

Then I start making myself a fort. A pillow fort. My husband notices this when he wakes up in the morning because he just shakes his head at the sight of me. I have my eye mask on to stop any light from waking me up. This includes the T.V., break of dawn through the windows, or the bathroom lights–turned on like a beacon to a lighthouse–letting the ships knowpillowsaroundhead we’re home. Along with my eye mask, there are pillows on both sides of my head. This isn’t to muffle any sounds because as we all know, I can’t hear shit when I sleep. I’m not exactly sure how this happens, but I strategically place them while I’m sleeping; or attempting to sleep.

It’s like a fluffy Stonehenge.

But, the shit that goes down AFTER I fall back to sleep is making me wonder why my husband is still wanting me to sleep in the same tempurpedic, California king sized bed that he’s sleeping in. It’s quite possible he thinks my reach isn’t that far, but he has found out on several occasions he’s been wrong.

Dead wrong.

At times, after I fall back to sleep, things turn violent. I punch in the air. I’ve punched my pillow, and I’ve punched my husband; a few times square in the nose–while he was sound asleep.

The ruckus I cause can be equitable to spousal abuse, but I have to claim ignorance since I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. And, of course, along with the punches comes very loud yelling. I get loud enough to scare the living dog-shit out my dogs. They scramble out of the room and don’t come back upstairs until my husband wakes up and they get the all clear from him.

The Big Monster fell back asleep.

Here’s a few examples of my outbursts:

“I’LL KICK YOUR ASS, YOU PIECE OF SHIT!”

“i CLOSED THE SCREEN DOOR! i CLOSED THE SCREEN DOOR!”

“I HATE YOU, YOU SON OF A BITCH!”

“I NEED A HAMMER!”

“NO MORE WIRE HANGERS!” (Okay. I didn’t really say that, but I just couldn’t leave it out).

Can you imagine being my husband and being woken up like that? There’s no warning. No tornado siren or emergency sound system going off on television. I just clock him while he’s dead asleep and toss out F Bombs like they’re halloween candy. It’s like having Tourettes, but you are dead asleep and swinging at whatever it is you’re fighting in your dream.

Lastly, I’m no longer an early riser. I leave that up to my husband. Since my disease and vestibular dysfunction puts my brain through a burning workout every day, it demands at least ten hours of sleep. If I get less than that, I’m dizzy more than usual most of the day. I try to wake up early. Really, I do. But, when I open my eyes, my brain says to me, “You and I are not ready to walk steady, Eddie, so go back to sleep.”

brainMy brain is smart. My brain remembered that I went to the mattresses with something–or someone–and needed time to heal and/or lick my wounds.

Never watch movies like Zero Dark Thirty or Lone Survivor before going to bed.

Don’t drink anything one hour before you actually get into bed because if you have to get up to pee in the middle of the night, You’ll be, well, pissed. I’m this close to getting adult diapers…

Don’t read anything that will make you sad or angry before you hit your head on the pillow. The odds of you re-affirming your feelings through pantomime and finger puppets while you’re asleep increases about 80%.

Lastly, if you ever wake up with blood on your pillow, or anywhere on your bed, and it’s not your blood, it may be time to consult a sleep therapist.

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