Last night I slept very poorly. That is, I slept poorly when I slept at all.  It was really difficult to fall asleep, and just as I was drifting off, an hour and a half since coming to bed, dear spouse began shaking the bed with his hiccups!  Fortunately I was able to see the humour in the intermittent earthquakes, but was now awake enough to fully realize just how badly I hurt.  Achy arms, achy legs, really sore spots on outer hips and thighs.  I down some more meds and smear on the bengay and aspercreme, then try to get comfortable enough to get drowsy.  Deep breath in, breathe out slowly, count each breath on the outbreath.  After five breaths, repeat.

Try lying on my right side, then on back.  I don’t even try my left side.  I haven’t been able to tolerate lying on my left side for more than thirty years now, since I was in my twenties.  When I could still work a full day, and even go to a meeting in the evening.  Knees up and feet flat on sheet, then knees down.  I manage about 4 breaths before I just must move position again.  To stay still magnifies the pain unbearably.  Relaxation seems impossible.  Deep breathe in, breathe out slowly, count each breath on the outbreath.  After five breaths, or four, repeat.   This isn’t going to work.

I get up, carefully, for dear spouse is back asleep now, and position myself in the lazyboy chair brought into our crowded bedroom for just this purpose.  It’s deep into the early morning hours by now.  Sometimes lying in the lazyboy pressures my muscles a bit differently, and I can fall asleep.  Then again, sometimes I can’t, and then I walk around the house a bit, go to the bathroom whether I need to or not, and alternately feel sorry for myself, or recognize that many, many of us in this world cannot sleep through pain, or fear, or worry.  A bad night, so common among feeling souls; yet even common experiences are lived through the individual details:  comforts, pains, warmth, chill, security, fears, alone, with others also suffering.  Another long night.

I smear on some more bengay, really massaging it in this time.  Oh —- thumb joint is aching too.  Smear some liniment on the base of both thumbs.  Settle in. Can’t sit still, the pain is so bad in my legs and hips.  I squeeze and release my buttock muscles, my thigh muscles.  Squeezing in rhythm, counting, trying to distract myself, counting to one hundred squeezes now.  Okay, now I’ll try squeezing and holding.  Let go, try to relax.  No?  Squeeze and hold again.  And again.   Fifteen minutes, a half hour —- is the pain lessening?  A little, I think.  The time between squeezes lengthens a bit, then a bit more.  My mind drifts.  Ahh, I think, I must be relaxing enough now to get drowsy.  Oh blessed sleep.  Healing sleep.

An hour and a half later I’m awake again.  More bengay, more massage, more squeezing.  Drowsy, relaxed.  But am I still awake, or just dreaming that I’m still awake?  Ninety or so minutes later I’m fully awake again.  This time the bed seems inviting, like maybe I’ll be able to sleep there.  Dear spouse is not there — it must be nearing 6:00 a.m.

I doze.  And then the aches in my leg wake me.  Change position, reach for the bengay.  Start to drift off. . . . oh, back hurts.  Turn over.   Ah,  pressure relieved.  I see the sunlight through the blind now.  A little more bengay might help.  A little more massage, more conscious breathing and relaxation of muscles,  another drifting off, finally.

When according to the bedside clock the time between drift offs and wakenings comes down to 10 minutes, I give up.  I go through my morning prayer affirmations then crawl out of bed.  Try to be conscious not to groan aloud.  Slowly and carefully I pull on yesterday’s clothes, make the bed.  Slowly.  Carefully.

Good morning world.  Here I am.

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