Friday, November 30, 2007

Home Sleep Home

No, that's not a typo. The sweetest thing about being home again is the sleep.

I realize now that my need for daytime ZZZs had little to do with the killer chemo or low blood counts. I was feeling the cumulative effects of three weeks of sleep deprivation.

During week one, staff monitored my vital signs every 30 minutes on at least three nights. The other nights were interrupted with heavy-duty nausea and/or throwing up until I received sleep-inducing doses of Benadryl or Atavan. Sleep often came in 20 minute increments, if it came at all.

During week two, my physical health improved significantly. I no longer needed continuous monitoring of vitals, and the worst of the nausea had passed. But run-of-the-mill insomnia set in. I couldn't turn off my racing brain after my head hit the pillow. I fixated on family issues, such as "Can an 18-year-old daughter die from a steady diet of Spaghetti-Os?"

From there, I'd move on to the "I wonder" fixation category. "I wonder when 20th Century Fox became just Fox? (Or did it?)" "I wonder if they thought about becoming 21st Century Fox?" "I wonder if the name 2oth Century Fox had a modern ring when it was first conceived." Before I knew it, the nurse was in for my 4:00 am blood draw, and I realized I hadn't slept a wink. (These may be interesting questions, but hardly worth losing sleep over.)

By week three, I'd learned how to turn off my racing brain. I fell asleep by 11:30 pm and slept peacefully. That is until I received a "bladder call" three to six times a night. Or vital checks twice a night. Or the 4:00 am blood draw. Or a beeping IV pole at least twice a night. My sleep was interrupted anywhere from eight to 12 times a night.

Rita, a fellow hematology patient in my exercise class, told us that her husband came to spend three nights with her. After the first night of continuous interruptions, he decided to sleep in his truck on nights two and three. I'm not surprised that he got a better night's sleep in a truck than a hospital room.

Now I'm enjoying the benefits of home, sleep home. An hour after returning from Hotel Hope, I settled in for a one-hour nap from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. I fell asleep by 11:00 pm and, still programmed for the 4:00 am blood draw, woke up at 3:45 am. I answered a bladder call and fell immediately back to sleep again until 7:30 this morning.

Sweet, deep, uninterrupted sleep. There's nothing like it.


hope said...

dear susan,how wonderful,outstanding,magnificent,fabulous,luxurious,stunningly sweet,comfortable,familiar and sooooo much more,maybe beyond words to be HOME.the bed,the smooth sheets,the blanket,the pillow(s),the sun,the moon,the stars,and hopefully some stillness and quiet.great warmth,hope raymond

Susan Carrier said...

Yep, Dee - Those are all great adjectives to describe how it feels to be home.

suzy keleher said...

So Happy for you, Susan! Love you, Suze

Mrs. Duck said...

I've wondered exactly the same thing about Fox!! I think they should keep it as 20th C. Fox, if only because it's a necessary reference for the Door's song by that name.

And I too remember how hard it is to get sleep in a hospital. I forget which comedian it was I heard say this, but in a routine in which he complained about not getting any sleep in the hospital he said "They even woke me up to give me sleeping pills!" Not too far from the truth.

Of course, the best thing about being home is having your loved ones right there with you, sleeping soundly too.

Glad you're home and recouperating!

Susan Carrier said...

Oh, yes. It goes without saying that I'm delighted to be surrounded by my loved ones - both the two-legged and four-legged ones.

Lilli said...

I once had a doctor tell me you go to the hospital to get treatment. You go home to get well. So congratulations for being well on your way to getting well!

West Coast Grrlie Blather said...

You have so many good posts, I don't know which one to comment on! So big yippee that you're home, and even bigger yippee that your numbers are looking so good!

It amazes me how they don't let you sleep in a hospital. What part of "get your rest" don't they understand?

Thanks for the gift of your presence on Friday night. It was so great to see you there, and I hope it was worth the effort!

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