Sleep is good. Let’s start out by agreeing with that premise. You can try to skimp on it, you can try to do without it, but ultimately, you’re going to have to lay your little noggin down and sleep. Stretch out on the bed and drift off into the happy land of dreams. Catch some Zzzzz.
Well, it’s nice work if you can get it.
Ever since I hurt my shoulder a few months ago, and especially since my rotator cuff surgery on February 2nd, I’ve come to the dismaying conclusion that my furniture has a vendetta against me. I don’t know why. I’ve always believed we had a relationship of mutual respect, but sadly, that’s not true. My bed is a torture chamber. If I lay on my back, my shoulder rotates out too much. If I lay on my good side, my shoulder rotates in too much. There’s no possible way to lay on my bad side, or my stomach, and for a real exercise in frustration, try controlling the blankets one-handed.
You’d think a recliner would be the answer. It’s not. My recliner’s controlling lever is on the same side as my bad shoulder. I can get IN the chair, by starting the process with my left hand first, but once I’m in, I can’t get out. I’m stuck there, like a turtle on its back, and probably my blanket has fallen off too.
Ideally, with a shoulder injury like mine, the shoulder and upper arm should remain in a neutral position, with the elbow held close to your side. This means, the correct sleeping position is sitting bolt upright, creating the famous Bobble-Head apparition. Not my best look.
I’ve tried. Heaven knows, I’ve tried. I settle myself on our couch, with a chair on which to rest my feet, and I try to go to sleep. Each night I construct a nest with various pillows and cushions, hoping that THIS particular combination and design will guarantee unbroken rest. I have to say, it worked pretty well when I was using some heavy duty painkillers, but now that I’m down to a measly Advil or Motrin, the Princess and the Pea syndrome has taken over. No sooner do I get everything in place, than something begins to irk me. The slightest disarrangement of my pillows, a creased cushion, or the dreaded off-center pajama seam becomes incredibly unbearable, and I have to jump up and start all over again. Instead of a rest, I get a workout.
And these are only my night-time problems. If you sit on your keister all night, you’re just not going to be able to sit a lot during the day. I don’t have hardwood floors in my house, but I have plenty of hard wood chairs. Never was a problem before, but it’s a problem now. I’ve learned to rotate my sitting activities (reading, writing, TV watching, using the computer) with non-sitting activities (walking, doing housework, simple Wii ex
ercises). The rotation is at 20 minute intervals, which is making my attention span drop down to about a three-year-old’s level. It was heading that way anyway, so I guess this is just speeding up the process.
So, my days are difficult, my nights frustrating. If you, my reading audience, feel the slightest bit bad for me, the least you could do is buy my book, Every Little Step She Takes. It’s a fascinating story of a young ballerina seduced by a very bad man, and everything goes wrong, but it’s happy and uplifting at the end. There’s sex and danger and Swan Lake, and a gun, and not a vicious recliner in sight. See? You’re interested already.
And I also need to say that I know things could be worse. I have friends and relatives with serious health issues, and bad backs, who also have to construct pillow fortresses each night or who have experienced being housebound for much longer periods. And most of them do it without complaining. I know I’m just a rank amateur compared to them, but I hope if I ever have to face more serious issues, I’ll do it with as much grace and fortitude as they do.
In the meanwhile, I’ll probably continue to bitch and moan and complain. It does seem to be a critical component of the healing process. And sometimes, I hope I’ll express my gratitude, too. Because when you can’t sleep at night, you might receive the gift of story ideas, or memories of wonderful times. (Sometimes you receive the gift of endless repetitions of “Don’t Bring Me Down” by Electric Light Orchestra, but I digress.) And sometimes, you’re awake to see a beautiful sunrise like this.
So tonight, when you have the opportunity to stretch out in your bed and actually lay your head down, think of me and my furniture fights. I’ll be thinking of you.