Saturday, August 11, 2012

How to take a nap.

The Big E.  Here in the Northeast, it's the state fair of Massachusetts and other New England states all combined in one large hoop-de-doo with big time country acts, food, food, food, and of course, food.  But that's not the Big E I'm talking about.  And both my MS brethren and sisters, and my BP'ers as well, know this one.  It's (all together now) Exhaustion.

Now this has been a fairly good week for yours truly with errands and projects keeping me rolling right along, until of course, about seven o'clock or so at night when everything starts to slow down on its own.  But by Thursday afternoon, after watching the ballgame on TV, I became aware of that odd feeling that maybe only those of us who have this/these two things(s) understand.  Everything in your body just wants to stop.   And you try to keep going, but eventually, even if you drink eight lattes in a row, once you get out of the bathroom and straighten up the living room 7, 8, or 9 times, you crash.

And, my fellow citizens, you end up like this:

And that's how I found myself on Thursday, but not in a suit.  When I was working, you might have seen this, but now picture this guy in a t-shirt and shorts.  Also I'm more of a legs together and arms at the sides kind of collapsing napper.  Your mileage may vary.  I just fell on the bed, assumed the  described position, boom, out for two hours. No turning.  No dreams. Flat out unconsciousness.  And you wake up feeling refreshed for about five or ten minutes and then that drab feeling, the Fog, comes over you and you wait until its time to go to bed.

I remember my first day of real retirement.  My wife left to go to her job on a cold January morning and I was seated on the couch, book in hand, tea cup warm, and classic music on.  All those years of hard work and now I was ready to -

be out of it for the next three hours.  I just closed my eyes for a second, I swear, and boom.  I had just gotten up, for God sakes, had breakfast and sat down.  What was that? I thought.  That won't happen again, I hope.  And it didn't until the next day. Two and a half hours. The doctors felt that I was still winding down from my job, and dealing with my MS diagnosis.  Earlier I had had the sleep apnea tests and the doctor there told me I did not have sleep apnea, but I was one of the exhausted people she'd ever met.  Which is better than being one of the most exhausting people, I guess.   

Being asleep means you don't bother anyone.  Unless you're in their spot.

Being asleep also means you are not dealing with anything at all.  Unless one you are not dealing with wakes you up and lets you know you are in their spot.  Like your dog.

Sometimes you have to make sacrifices.  So for me and many others, whether it is MS, BP, the results of drug interactions or side effects, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or whatever ailment, the naps come whether we want them or not and many times when we don't want them.  Like here:

This has literally happened to me when I've been writing this blog and other projects.  I'll look at the screen and feel my head go right down.  It's sort of like you're your own bobble head.  Bounce once, look up and around to see if anyone saw you (this is more a work thing - if you're fortunate enough to have a cubicle [in this case, at least], you can probably squirrel away for a few minutes), and now try to get back work, concentrate on the letters on screen, try to form an idea and then see the idea fade into a thought about last night's TV program (climb in the back with your head in the clouds and you're gone), and bounce, there goes your head again.  Latte time.  Walk around, talk to a co -worker, try to see if they're awake or wander around the cubicle farm until you find another poor soul doing the bobble dance, and when she wakes, give her that knowing nod.  Oh, yeah.  I see ya, sister.  You're secret is safe right here.

Now since I've been home, the little bobble head naps may extend for three or four minutes, and I can open my eyes and go right back to what I was doing.  I used to watch my father do the same thing when he'd watch television.  He'd laugh at Archie Bunker, bobble head, come back and keep laughing.  But he had something great to laugh at.

Now this version I don't like:

I love to read and have plowed through many books in my year and a half at home, much to my wife's consternation.  Not that she minds me reading, but I'm like the fellow here, reading a number of books at the same time, and the pile is pretty high.  Jackie just does not know where to put all the books.  I figure I've to keep the mind challenged as much as possible so whether its a book on MS, history, baseball, or following Captains Kirk and Picard on the USS Enterprise, there's always five or more books going at any one time.

The crappy part is when I'm enjoying a story or an interesting historical discussion, the brain decides, OK, that's all for now, thanks for reading, eyes shut, we gone!  Then I open my eyes and continue reading, trying to get the feeling of what's going on on the page, and then I'll a quick glance at the clock.  Wow, that half hour went fast and oh, crap....  OK, never mind.  Keep going or put the book down and do something around the house.

So in naming this little tome how to take a nap, in reality there is no "how to" to it.  It's just going to happen.  My only recommendation is that if you want to take napping to its proper heights, there's only one way to do it:

Oh, yeah.   I seeeeyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaakj ;jklg hu

Sorry I think I.....well you know.

Serious post thought: a tip of the cap to writer Lauren Hillebrand who suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome, but still was able to give the world two fabulous books: Seabiscuit and Unbroken.  

See, its not so much how much you nap, it's what you can do when you're not napping that's the challenge to this.

More soon. MS and driving. Thanks for reading!

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