29 July, 2021

“Fringe Benefits”

Right now, I am on the strangest sleep/wake schedule, which I would bitch about, except it seems to be working. That is to say, I’m getting a lot of sleep, and taking not much medicine. A lot of sleep for me, and not a lot of medicine, for me.

For the last two months or so, I have easily been sleeping about 7 hours out of every 24, and sometimes even more, and while I am still taking melatonin, topiramate, and desipramine, I haven’t taken a PRN in weeks.

But here is what is happening: I’m going to bed at 5pm. Sometimes earlier. Yes, I actually go to bed at 4pm some days, like a toddler. I sleep until somewhere between 10pm and midnight, and then get up and stay up until about 7am. At this point, there are sometimes a few things I have to do, and don’t get back to bed until 8am, but sometimes I roll back into bed right around 7am, and sleep until maybe 9:30. Once in a while, I get a little tired in the early afternoon, and sleep from 1-2.

It’s great. When I am awake, I feel so rested, it’s like someone just invented electricity. I’ve been walking around with an oil lamp for years, but now suddenly everything is lit like day.

Unfortunately, it’s not going to last. It’s a fringe benefit of the pandemic, all the working from home, and having an excuse to live off savings (which is going to bite me in the ass, but it hasn’t yet). I get to sleep where and when I want, like a high schooler on summer break.

However, on August 2, start-of-the-year training begins, and on the 17th, work begins in earnest. This means I’ve got a week to get myself back in sync with the rest of the adult world, more or less.

PRNs, alarm clocks, coffee. Feeling tired, and worrying about falling asleep on the drive into work.

The one bright star in the sky is that on Thursday the 5th, I finally get the sleep monitor I need to wear to get into a new sleep study in order to get prescriptions for any new medications that may be out there, which I have never tried, and which may work better than my old stand-bys.

In other news, my doctor thinks that because I work with children, who can’t yet receive COVID vaccines, and because the Delta variant is now out there, I should get the Pfizer vaccine. I have had the J&J vaccine (last March), and while it offers protection against the Delta variant, it seems to be the least effective—which is not to say ineffective, it’s just that when you rank them, it doesn’t come out on top. More importantly, though, it seems that having both vaccines is more effective than having either one alone.

Being over-vaccinated is the story of my life, though. I went to live in the Soviet Union for a year when I was 10, and just prior, had a whole extra set of childhood boosters that my doctor thought was a good idea, in addition to the TB vaccine. I had an extra polio in high school, because there was a page missing in my file, and an extra measles in college because there was an outbreak, and it was easier than getting proof of vaccine. Then, I enlisted in the military, and got a whole ‘nother series of childhood vaccines, including not just the ones I already had, but all the ones that had been invented since my childhood (Hib & chickenpox, off the top of my head). I had the hep vaccines for work in the 90s, and extra boosters before I went to Costa Rica a few years ago, and typhoid as well. I’ve had the flu vaccine every year since I can’t remember when.

But better too much than too little. Just like sleep.

Published by Chava Freya

Insomnia is a brain-based disorder I’ve had since I was at least 16 years old. Anti-anxiety medicine doesn’t help, except when there’s external anxiety exacerbating the problem. Sleep hygiene is irrelevant, because it’s not the problem, although I have submitted to it five different times, including having sleep specialists actually come to my home and advise me on rearranging furniture, buying special pillows, forbidding TVs in the bedroom, telling me the bed was for nothing but sleep, sex and reading, and when that didn’t work, then nothing but sleep. Period. That was the biggest failure of all.

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