Snappy September - Day Eleven - Sleep Snatchers
I've talked many times before about suffering from insomnia and how, at 2am, it can make you feel like you're the only person alive - and certainly the only person who has 'Shoop Shoop Diddy Whap Cumma Cumma Wang Dang' by 1982's Monte Video and the Cassettes on replay in your brain.
What makes it worse is that everyone around me has that natural ability to fall asleep at a moment's notice. An ability that seems to have entirely evaded me no matter how strong my desire. Envy doesn't remotely cover how jealous I am of their skill. Dad used to claim that he was merely 'resting his eyes' when he'd doze off in front of the cricket only to wake instantly the second someone dared switch the channel and he was famous for nodding off during school staff meetings, at church and the second he was no longer the driver on long trips.
Milly, like all dogs, treats sleep as an extra curricular activity.
If there are no pats, walks or meals to be had, then she might as well enjoy a nap. Anywhere, any place, any time.
Her 'bedroom' is our lounge room, her 'bed' a beanbag situated directly in front of our entertainment unit with the big woofer speaker (how appropriate) in the corner closest to her head. Despite being assailed nightly with surround sound via Lord of the Rings, AFL games and DVD series such as Entourage, Frasier, Seinfeld and 30 Rock, she's out to it all.
Look at her little smile of utter contentment...!
Love Chunks is also a master and he's passed this skill onto Sapphire. From birth I was able to vacuum around her cot during a sleep and not wake her and she's become quite the entertaining sleep chatterer as well, calling out all sorts of things from "No, not the blue pants, how is the creepy clown supposed to run in them?" to "Who annoyed the ferret? Come on, own up!"
But my insomnia is my own problem. An inability to stop completely; to ease my mind into a gentle awareness instead of an all-encompassing sideshow featuring pointless reminiscences, replays of the days' events, incomprehensible worries about tomorrow and several songs I'd prefer to forget forever. Multiply that by five when depression kicks in and perhaps a mere triple-strength when Love Chunks' sinus and respiratory system decides it needs to resume snoring again.
The poor old sod has already endured throat surgery to eradicate his snoring and I'll never forget the two weeks of utter agony he suffered when even breathing in air was excruciating. The process involved cutting out the flappy bits at the side of the throat/top of the oesophagus - the fleshy curtains on the side of the stage, if you like. Now fluids gush down his throat like a raging stormwater drain instead of gulping in stages like you and I and .....
..... five years on, the snoring has returned. Not just when he's on his back after a few glasses of red but regularly. On his left side, his right side, on 'dry' days, 'wine' days, busy days, relaxed days, early days, late nights.
It is unpredictable too, so that some nights we turn out the light and I tense up, expecting the pitch-perfect imitation of a bellowing elephant stranded in the bog to emerge to instead hear shallow, soft breathing that eventually means I can drift off to sleep.
Other nights - now more often than not - it's like sharing a bed with a full-strength whipper snipper. Because I've kicked the sleeping pills and haven't taken anything for the past six months, I use relaxation exercises, meditation, stretching, breathing techniques (had to add 'techniques' there in case you thought, 'Silly old bag; everyone has to breathe') and visualisation to quieten the mind and get around four or five hours a night.
But if the outboard motor is at full throttle none of that works and after a couple of hours, I give up and creep into Sapphire's bed. There the volume is far lower, but there's quite a few 'Pudda pudda pudda pudda' farts that make me flatten the doona against my chest to seal the gas in and sometimes a carelessly flung hand to the face but sleep is eventually achieved.
Love Chunks feels bad about this and apologises every morning that he wakes up and finds my lump not next to his. His bedside table has become a mini over-the-counter chemist as he sprays, snorts, swallows and blows his airways clear before flicking out the light.
A day after taking this snap, he went to the GP and has another box to add to his sad little collection - antibiotics, as a last resort before seeing an Ear-Nose-and-Throat guy in Yarraville and Sapphire's Allergy Chappy in East Melbourne.
Time will soon tell - allergies? A set of regrown throat curtains or something unforeseen?