I can’t sleep.
I’ve used to pride myself on my ability to sleep soundly. I once slept through a hurricane in the Outer Banks. The girls in my college dormitory never kept me awake. My husband’s snores never bothered me.
And now? I go to bed at 1:30 a.m., arrange myself carefully in my nest of pillows, close my eyes and lie awake. Sometimes a parade of unhelpful thoughts march through my mind. Oh yes, I do need to send off the paperwork to the tax guy. I mustn’t forget to make that phone call. Why haven’t I scheduled my mammogram and dental cleanings?
Then I put a halt to those thoughts. I roll over, carefully so I don’t disturb my slumbering husband. I have to lug my body pillow to the left of me, so my roll is something of a three-point-turn. Finally, back in the pillows, this time facing the left and my clock radio which emits a yellowish light.
I rotate the clock radio away so the light isn’t in my eyes. I tuck the covers under my chin. I must breathe fresh cool air all night. Feet must be under covers, nose must be free.
At that point, if I’m very lucky, I sleep.
But this week, at that point, I begin to hack up a lung. I try to muffle the sounds so the snores continue their rhythm. I settle back down and begin to cough again.
Lather, rinse, repeat, every ten minutes.
Finally, I wonder if the DayQuil will help and I stagger to the bathroom to swallow those gigantic orange capsules. (We have no Nyquil. The cough syrup I found in the cabinet expired last November. I am doomed.) It’s past 3 a.m.
Then I wake up and it’s 7 a.m. so I must have slept.
Tonight–soon–when I crawl into bed, I will remind myself that tomorrow I should buy some cough medicine . . . and then I’ll remember that I forgot to schedule my mammogram . . . and then I’ll decide lying on my right side is what is keeping me awake, so I’ll make a quarter-turn, lug my body pillow to the left, make another quarter-turn, nestle my head on my down pillow, make a final quarter-turn and start coughing. And so the adventure that used to be Sleep begins.
I just can’t wait.