Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Constantly Shifting "Normal"

Do you consider it normal and ordinary to get tired in the evening, get ready for bed, lay down, and go to sleep? I used to. But that's not "normal" any more. "Normal," post-CI op, is constantly shifting.

Last night, for example, I was very tired. I got ready for bed, looking forward to such an ordinary experience of going to sleep. No such luck. I had a low-grade air conditioning hum in my left ear. I had an oboe doing random arpeggios in my right ear. That was just while I was getting ready for bed.

Then I lay down, on my right side. I now had radio announcers on low volume doing advertisements in Estonian. Well, I can handle that. Eventually, I rolled onto my back. I got vertigo, that sense of the world, particularly the part I am firmly planted on, spinning around, like right after one gets off one of those tea-cup spinning rides. For a while, it's novel. After that, it's just annoying.

I usually sleep on my left side, and I was tired and I missed my "normal" position. I tried carefully rolling over onto my left side, cradling my incision area so I didn't actually lay on it. Pain pierced through my ear drum, like slow little pin pricks. Uh, not a good idea. I hadn't hurt anything; I've tried that other times in the past 4 days and it has worked just fine. I rolled back onto my back, but the pain didn't go away. So now I had the air conditioner, the oboe, the radio announcers, the vertigo, AND the pain. Lovely. It'd been 45 minutes since I went to bed. Helloooo?

They tell me all this is "normal," coming out of CI surgery. They tell me "not to worry." Yes, but sleep would be nice. I got up, took some Tylenol, and decided to try sleeping on the couch with my head slightly elevated. I've done that in bed, but sometimes I can't get the variety of pillows just right to sleep. The couch has just the right angle. I was too tired to argue with the pillows. John was on the computer doing homework in the living room, but willing to work with the lights dimmed very low. I finally got to sleep.

I had my ordinary really weird dreams (I get a kick out of trying to reconstruct the "story line" in the morning). I woke up a bit disoriented in the dark living room, to the wrong ceiling and no clock to tell me the time. Later, I woke up to light outside and Joe asking me to see if I can get a couple of teenagers out of bed while he goes for his morning run. Well, that part is normal, in this household!

Someone on a yahoo CI group said that having surgery is like getting hit by a truck. Good word picture! I can agree with that. Actually, that helped me put things in perspective and remember to continue to give myself and my body a break. I really DO need this time to recuperate, to recover from a major, disrupting event for my body. And it really is normal.


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