sleep please

I’m not sure exactly why, (seizure activity or drug side effects?) but Calvin has been sleeping like shit again lately. As a rule, I always get up at least once (usually two or three times) to check on him when he's rustling in the sheets. For the past several nights, however, I’ve been up half a dozen times or more giving him water and repositioning him so his head is at the raised end of the bed to facilitate better breathing and digestion. Several times I’ve found him sitting bolt upright in a daze or sound asleep floppily folded in half with his face smashed into the mattress between his legs. So, I unhook one end of his safety canopy (an old forgotten netted hammock that is invaluable in its new use) and if he’s near enough to reach over the safety railing I hop up onto the step stool, grab an arm, drag his forty-plus pounds of dead weight up onto his pillow again—my collar bones and shoulders feeling as if they might snap—and pull the covers over. If he’s on the far side of the bed I’ve got to unhook the entire canopy (in four places) toss the ropey net back behind Calvin so I can get to him, unlatch both safety panel locks, lower it, reposition him, raise the panel, lock it and re-secure all four points of the canopy. Not much fun at ten-thirty, midnight, one-thirty, two-thirty, three-thirty in the morning when all I want is to be warm and cozy and ASLEEP in bed.

The other morning, due to wicked sleep deprivation, I had little patience for Calvin’s crazy behavior. When the bus came Cindie the driver asked me what was wrong. “Haven’t been getting much sleep lately,” I gruffed, “I don’t function too well when I don’t sleep.” She was sweet to notice, though I’m sure my tangled hair, furrowed scowl and dark baggy circles under my eyes were a dead giveaway.

As soon as the bus sailed down the street through pouring rain I reluctantly got on the telephone to attend to some Calvin business—school stuff, pharmacy stuff, doctor stuff, insurance stuff. I practically barked at an ed-tech from Calvin's classroom—might have bitten her head off if she were right there in front of me—though she hadn’t done anything wrong. I really had a severe case of the grumpies.

Outside torrential downpours raged. The skies darkened as if it were dusk and a bone-chilling dampness hugged me like a soggy blanket. From somewhere in my brain a pounding throb began knocking and pinging. I desperately needed a nap. I downed a couple of aspirin and tucked myself into bed, pulled my knees to my chest, overlapping my feet trying in vain to warm them. With the blinds lowered and eyelids closed my mind set off to race.

I wonder how Calvin is doing? Where should I move that rhododendron? When should I chop down that tree? I should write about this sleep thing. It’s raining so hard outside! Must remember blueberries. Got to walk Rudy. Need to order those pills. Looking forward to that burger tonight. I haven't got much time left to nap! Why can’t I fall to sleep?

Finally, after half an hour I fell into the sweet, black nothingness. Then the phone rang. Ugh! Had to get it in case it was about Calvin. It wasn’t. “Goddammit!” I screamed when I hung up, like the sleep deprived lunatic I’d become. I wanted to hurl the phone against the brick wall, shatter the storm window with it, stomp on it—something—anything! Just let me sleep! It took another forty minutes of mind-racing to fall back to sleep at the exact moment the campus chapel bells crisply announced noon.

In the end there was no morning nap and I felt much worse than if I hadn’t tried to sleep at all.

Sleep please. Is that so wrong?

photo by Michael Kolster


  1. oh man, I know about that!! Sleep deprivation is an awful thing.
    Love to you xxoo

  2. yep. calvin was up at 3:30 a.m. yesterday and 4:30 today and didn't go back to sleep, so neither did i!