Give Me Sleep

Someone was outside raking leaves at 6:00 am this morning. On the continuum of noise, raking leaves is not as loud as say, blowing them, or a car alarm, or an electric saw, or hammering, but when sleep has become a huge issue, anything can be a problem. And those leaves are dry and noisy. In the middle of the day maybe my brain could package that sound as classic fall, but at 6:00 am all I can come up with is thoughtless fucker.

I appreciate that like me, he (I looked out the window and checked) may be having problems with insomnia, but unlike him, I’m lying wide-eyed in my bed, quietly irritated with a pillow over my head, until I give up all hope of getting back to sleep and start quietly typing. How about being productive inside your house, buddy?

The other day when I woke up at 6, I got dressed and went in search of the guy who took down 1/3 of a tree in the backyard, left a massive pile of branches in my parking spot, took my money, and disappeared. He told me he volunteers and sets up chairs at a community centre in the market first thing in the morning. It was cold and still dark. I talked to a woman waiting there who told me that, ya, he was a really great guy, he’d let her stay in his small apartment at The Manor (hardly) around the corner, when she had no place to go. He is a sweet guy. I guess he just forgot to take down the rest of the tree. But the good news is, he left his harness behind, so theoretically I could do the rest myself. But only if I had a good sleep first.

Last week’s mindfulness meditation class focused on sleep. They talked about good sleep hygiene. I’m a dirty sleeper. I go to bed at different times. I’m on social media right before turning off the lights. I’ve been known to frequently eat an entire bar of Lindt chocolate-flavoured caffeine late in the evening, in my bed.

But it wasn’t enough to tell me I stink – sleep-wise, they went on to say that deep sleep is rejuvenative sleep. It heals the body. Otherwise, it just stays broken and sore. And that addictive Pam family I’ve been adopted into -Lorazepam, Clonazepam - that shit won’t get me to deep, clean sleep, at least not in a healthy, healing way.

What I hear them say is Your crappy sleeping patterns are a contributing factor to the Lymphoma, and if you keep sleeping using the little helpers, you’ll likely get sick again. My hearing isn’t great, but that’s the gist. Another unhelpful version of blame the victim. And isn’t assisted sleep better than lying awake flopping from one side to the other, thinking about cancer and death?

The great news is that meditation is also rejuvenative. I start to get the feeling I’m at Sleep Country, being told a new mattress will solve all my problems. What’s a borderline insomniac to do? I decide to dump the drugs with whom I’ve been involved for the last year.

Yesterday I bought Magnesium and Melatonin. Two people in the health food store swore they worked. And as you may remember from my discussion with some random woman at the health food store about Epsum Salts, baking soda and getting rid of chemo toxins, I listen to strangers.

I did everything right. I turned off the computer. I took the natural pills. I meditated for almost half an hour. Then I lay there. Awake. I’m getting sick. My throat hurts and I feel like crap. Unlike others who seem to sleep and sleep when they’re sick, for me illness, like alcohol, is a stimulant. I’m hoping that’s why my attempt at cleaning up my sleep act was a failure.

My body is crying out for the Pams, and even though according to my meditative guides, it was like being adopted into the sleep version of Honey Boo Boo's family, it was home. I just want to get back there.

There’s a harem of drugs lined up on my bedside table begging me to sleep with them tonight. I’ll have another couple of threesomes with Maggie and Melanie but I’m not sure how long I can hang in.


Do you do the body scan in your meditation class? That always puts me to sleep pronto. It's not supposed to; you're supposed to be awake and meditating but for me it's very effective as a sleep devise. I have the recording by Jon Kabat Zinn and it's great although the trick is to listen to the tape and not to try to fall asleep. If you try to fall asleep, you won't. But if you listen to the tape and try to do what it says, there's a good chance you'll fall asleep.


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