Friday, August 12, 2011

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

When my husband and I were dating, he took me on a hike. After a couple hours of climbing, I needed a nap. I stepped off the dirt trail onto the rocky slope and lay down. I slept for an hour, amusing passing hikers and giving my husband a foretaste of our traveling life together. I have missed great swathes of Africa and Asia curled in the womb of the passenger seat while my husband serves as both driver and navigator.
Like everything else, the stroke has changed my ability to snooze easily. I put on the foot brace, the arm brace, and position the pillows just so – then get an itch under my left shoulder blade. Or I struggle to pull the covers over my icy left side and, in the process, break a sweat that requires everything to be thrown off again.
Thankfully, I am now able to sleep on my sides for brief periods. But this requires rearranging everything, so rolling over is a major commitment. And getting up in the night? To ambulate, the boot has to come off. Sometimes those devious Velcro straps conspire to stick to each other while I'm in the bathroom so that I have to pry them apart one-handed in the dark when I get back.
I spend plenty of time lying awake, my husband snoring happily beside me. My solution: audio books on iPod. Now if only I can figure out how to stop the earphones tangling.


  1. Mmm. Sounds like you are getting a lot of reading (listening) done! I had to laugh when you talked about naps. I need them too--and so does my husband. So instead of one person napping while the other drives, we just pull up under a shady tree and snore together. I do hope all those books make up for the itchy shoulder and the lost zz's.

  2. You facial expression says it all. I hate to let therapists get hold of my brace or splint because they match up every square inch of Velcro and forget they have two sets of nails to pry it apart. Half an inch of contact is sufficient to keep Vecro straps out of my way. The weird thing is I've learned to take off my Saebo Stretch splint in my sleep so I rarely get thru a whole night with it on (oh well). I leave my leg brace on to control my ankle when I lie on top of the covers during the day. Bed mobility was like sheet wrestling for a year after my stroke so I can't imagine what it takes to maneuver around another person in the bed.

  3. I love your courage and humor in this challenging situation. Reading your blogs encourages me and gives motivation in my job search. You are awesome!


  4. My girlfriend had just adjusted her brace and was wiggling her pillow around, trying hard to get comfortable after some exertion. I thought of your post and shared it with her. We laughed about the velcro and we both love the pic.

  5. Hi Marcel,
    I will be forever filled with gratitude that it only takes 2-5 pages of Sandra Cisneros' Caramelo to close my eyes and sleep, no matter what position!
    What a great use of your time to fill it with listening to books! (Maybe Caramelo would be a good one to listen to on tape.)

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