Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Another Rough Night

The term "a rough night" is almost becoming mundane in my life, a near trite commentary on what is becoming a standard part of my existence. Last night was another rough one, a night where sleep was slow in coming and fast in leaving, a night where pain wandered its way through my upper muscles and lower joints, a night where my increasingly present coughing spells managed to be bad enough that rest was impossible.

The sleeping part is only a small component of what makes a rough night. Sleep for me has become the standard in my life. Regardless of when I lay my head down, I am tired. Regardless of when I rise, I am tired. A rough night is when I lay my head down, exhausted from the day, and find that sleep just eludes, that slumber sits on the edge of my consciousness teasing my body with the promise of escape all the while failing to deliver me in the mindlessness. When I finally do sleep, it is fitful, easily interrupted, leaving me once again to hope for its return.

Then comes the aching pain that can wander its way around my body. The pain is not quite enough to respond to drugs, but just enough to make itself known. It's not steady enough for me to capture and contain; it comes and goes, moving about to where it will without seeming rhythm or rhyme. It can leave for hours only to return, wandering from my arms to my knee, waking me in its arrival then leaving me thereafter, awake and wanting to sleep once again.

Last night brought the roughest of night time visitors, the cough I get when my throat gets itchy. It is as if the muscles in the back of my throat a working at cross purposes, with the cilia lifting up and the swallowing pushing down. It starts as a tickle, as if I had some sort of throat irritation. I clear my throat and it gets no better. The irritation and discomfort increases until I am in a full blown hacking attack. I sit up, drink water, cough and clear, yet with all of this nothing really changes. Finally, for no apparent reason other than ALS, my throat tickle disappears and once again I find myself trying to sleep. Fortunately these coughing attacks are sufficiently exhausting that sleep is quick in coming.

There are the usual interruptions, having to go pee, wanting to shift position, and all the other little things in sleep that leave most of us untroubled. I wish it were so. Between all of these visitors at night, the last 18 hours I spent in bed resulted in about 12 hours of inconsistent sleep. Finally I am up and about, hoping for a few hours of life before I try once again to sleep, perchance to dream.


  1. when you do dream I hope they are sweet

  2. I am sad Rick that you have to go through this I know you are sad too. love you Mom