Thursday, 17 July 2014

Painful Sleep

I hurt this morning. Of course I hurt every morning to some degree or other; it's just a part of having ALS, that my muscles complain perhaps more than most. It's not pain, my usual mornings, it's just ache. This morning, however, it's close on to what I would call pain. It's from shingles. There is a surface pain wrapping itself around from my back to my belly button, a kind of contact discomfort constantly lying there waiting for me to feel it. It's also there when I move about, shifting in my chair or getting up and down.

With this discomfort, sleep was not easy last night. In fact sleep has been getting increasingly uncomfortable since all of this started on Monday. I barely noticed it Monday night. Tuesday it was definitely there. Last night it was a full on struggle to get comfortable for any length of time. It's fortunate that I prefer to sleep on my right hand side, in a prone position. The shingles attack is on my left side and it is the nature of this virus to attack only one nerve strand, rarely if ever transecting the stomach.

I cannot sleep all night in one position; only the fully paralyzed do that, and I am not there yet. So I move about in my sleep. Unfortunately, with dead legs, moving about is not all that easy so I am often up at night manually readjusting my legs. Now, with shingles on my leg side, I cannot shift that way without paying for it in discomfort. The best I can do is get on my back a bit and favour my left side. That means even more wakefulness as I adjust various leg positions to find what comfort I can.

Last night I was up at least a dozen times, or rather awake at least a dozen times. Unfortunately the effort of manually moving my legs often triggers my bladder, so moving really does mean sitting up. I am grateful for my jug at this point; I cannot imagine the exhaustion of repeated transfers to and from my wheelchair to go into the bathroom, then the transfers to the toilet and back. I don't do this; I use the jug. Even with that convenience, I was still up an awful lot last night.

I am up for the day now, soon to be checking out of the hotel. I will grab a road breakfast from some fast food joint, savour a bad cup of coffee, watch my grandchildren play in a nearby park for an hour or so, then head for the ferry to the mainland. I will find a hotel and see if I can sleep better tonight. Maybe, maybe not.

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