Dream a Little Dream

Sometimes the most important events go by unheralded. After waging battle with sleeplessness for a year, when it finally resolved itself, apparently I was so ecstatic (and sleeping) that I forgot to write about it. I haven't gotten more than four straight hours of sleep since the incept date of the bun. I've slept more than that a night (on good nights--and when my husband would bail me out in the mornings by letting me stay in bed) but I haven't had an uninterrupted night of blissful slumber to call my own in so long I can't remember what they're like. While you may not have suspected that I was on the brink of utter madness and desperation, there were many strained and tearful conversations about what the hell we were going to do about sleep in this house. I got sleeping pills (which I couldn't take for different reasons--a cruel irony when one is insane with fatigue and prone to temptation) and we were just getting to the point where we were going to have to make some drastic changes in the bun's sleeping arrangements. Talk of anti-depressants was common.

It wasn't the bun's fault. It's true that he hasn't been a great sleeper. He would sleep well for the first part of the night, but like clockwork would wake up about three or four every morning. This was unfortunate but not the end of the world; however, because of my own bad chemistry when he would wake up, I would wake up. And stay up. And stay up and up and up, until I wanted to cry and scream and beat my sweet husband for being able to snore blissfully while I was counting blue veins in my eyelids, trying any mental trick to fool myself into a coma.

Insomnia is brutality personified, a torture program designed by yourself, for yourself. It is claustrophobia in your own head, the water-torture of self. For something so physically painless (I tell myself, even though I've broken down and gotten a jar of old lady face cream that reputedly sends those increasingly deep eye lines into recession, if not complete remission) it feels like a personal Inquisition which despite utter and complete fatigue (or in fact hastened because of it) is destined to repeat ad infinitum until it has destroyed both your sanity and your family.

Things were desperate around these parts, and I increasingly thought that self-lobotomization was a sensible idea if it would garner me the good brainwaves that seduced the sleep fairy. Counting backwards in multiples of seven just wasn't a heavy enough sedative any more. Even when the bun didn't wake up in the middle of the night, I did. So bedtime, no matter what, was a lose/lose proposition.

Illness came to my rescue. I was so sick last month that for a week I slept through my own bad brain chemistry. I was ill enough that the bun's wake-up calls went by unnoticed, even when I got out of bed and fed him, numb with chills, coughing my lungs out. But goddamnit, I'm just happy as can be that I was struck down by a virus. If it could break the siren's song of insomnia, I was pro-tuberculosis all the way!

Ever since the crud, I've been sleeping moderately better. There are still some pretty gawdawful nights* and the bun, who coincidentally started sleeping through the night on a more regular basis around the time I got deathly ill, still has moments which drive me back into the arms of my old abuser, insomnia. But I'm not about to rip my synapses out one by one with fatigue-induced madness, so we have to call this a victory. *My husband can attest to this. Just last night I had, for the first time in days, fallen asleep without aid. And then the bun woke up, which usually means that I have a long, grueling night of self-flagellation to look forward to, but for some reason I managed to lull myself into sleep a second time, virtually unheard of around these parts. But the bun still didn't have blankets, and my guilty mother-conscience began ringing in my head: "MUST PUT BLANKETS ON BUN."

Rather than tempt fate and wake up completely a third time, I poked my husband dreamily and asked him to do it. He agreed. But being beyond exhaustion himself (and blissfully free of my sleep problems) he fell immediately into a deep sleep again.

Poke poke a few minutes later. "Could you put the blankets on the bun?" I pleaded. "Yeah," he gurgled. I might as well been asking Sir Francis Bacon to do it--maybe even raising the dead would have been quicker. By this time I was climbing rapidly and sadly into consciousness, and was pissed that I couldn't get this fleshy lump to do one thing for me. When after a couple more minutes it appeared my husband had retreated back into the warmth of Endymion, I charged out of bed to do it myself.

"I'll do it," he murmured from the deep covers.

"I asked you twice!" I snarled. I marched into the bun's room, put the covers on him and knew I'd had it--I was cooked.

He begged mercy when I climbed back into bed twitching and completely awake now. "I'm so sorry, honey," he gurgled.

The depth of my ire was delivered in the withering, unforgiving but utterly non-committal "Whatever" I spat before turning over to sulk and count backwards for a few hours. I knew he was completely fried himself, and I wished I could be sympathetic but what I really wanted was to poke him awake so we could suffer together. Or poke him awake just so he could suffer, period.

It takes a certain sort of hero to be married to me.