I’ve begun to realise that my once ‘healthy’ sleeping state, is now much more disturbed than I’m actually letting on.
As you know, pain can sometimes keep you awake. It can also wake up the deepest of sleepers too, very sharply and suddenly. Yet I am, or was, not like that. My pain didn’t actually make my sleep worse, but in fact made it a bit better.
Sometimes if my pain is high on the rating scale, my ability to actually go to sleep, is compromised and delayed, purely because I can’t get in a comfortable enough position so that my pain can be reduced for the ~20 minutes it takes me to fall into a deep slumber. Once I’m actually asleep though… There’s no waking me. Seriously! I’ve slept through the bumps in the night, my dog walking all over me to get comfortable on my bed, I even sometimes don’t even wake up to sunlight!
This is because the only ever time that I’m out of pain completely, is when I’m sleeping. Completely knocked out, in the deepest of slumbers.
Now, whether this is a defense mechanism developed by my mind or body over time, or whether it is more a habitual ritual that I seem to fall into, I’m not really too sure. I can safely say when I’m having a flare-up and my pain is going upwards of about 7, perhaps 8 and even more, I am incredibly tired, more so than usual. Generally because I’m using that much energy in order to move and to mentally motivate myself to get up and stay up, that I’m just draining all of my energy, and this is even before I’ve started the day. Also, because I’m in that much pain, the only thing that gets me completely out of pain, or so that my consciousness doesn’t feel it, is when it’s not active. A.K.A Sleep.
Sleep has always been a big factor in my life though. My emotions and mood can sometimes be tied directly to how I’ve slept the night before, or more importantly, how many hours of sleep I’ve had. Although, the amount of hours sleep is generally becoming less of a factor, purely because I’m now a student, having finished my first year at university. I think after pulling countless number of all nighters and at one point, staying up for close to 60 hours on the go, my body has begun to realise that sometimes, sleep does have to come last.
I’ve never seemed to have a problem with it though, and a lot of people have said it before, once I’m asleep, I’m gone and it’s a real challenge to wake me up, unless it’s very nicely and usually consists of constant reminders and a cup of tea. Man, there’s nothing better than a brew in the morning. I don’t think I’ve been a day without one!
However, whilst I’m going on about how well I sleep, it’s something that the other half seemed to realise about how I actually am in my sleep, and regretfully, I actually kept her up for a few nights. (Heh!)
A couple of weeks ago, my mum and her partner went away for two weeks, and I was basically left in the house on my own, bar the pooch, which as company goes, she’s rather disloyal unless you’re quite cool temperature wise and / or are willing to bribe her with treats. So naturally, I was delighted when the missus said that she’d stay with me for the two weeks.
The first week was great! I was up in the mornings with her, making a brew and some breakfast, before I dropped her off at work and came home to chill. It was lovely just to have her there, waking up to her and falling asleep with her, it was actually incredibly comforting, and I thought I slept a lot better with her there.
The second week however, was somewhat of a disaster! The pooch decided it would be a fun idea to eat the folded up kitchen towel I’d used to catch the grease from my George Foreman, and then decide that over a course of a few days, try and throw it back up again. The other half was woken up at the start of the week, by a dog who was trying to be sick, yet failing. The night after though, again, the other half was woken up, yet the pooch had successfully thrown up the undigested kitchen towel, to which I swiftly disposed of and got back to bed. After that night however, that’s it, the other half just didn’t sleep well, and this is where I found out that my sleep patterns, may not be so plain and simple.
By the end of the week, she was knackered. I could physically see it in her face, she was drained, and I felt like I was responsible because it was my dog that messed it up at the start of the week, and she’s been living at mine for the past two weeks, in bed with me!
According to her, she’s successfully been able to determine when I’m in pain throughout my sleep, purely by how I am when I’m in the slumber.
Apparently, whilst in my sleep, I react to the pain I feel during the day, in a somewhat similar fashion whilst I’m asleep. At some points I was curled up in a ball because I needed to stretch my back out, leaving her with not a lot of space to get comfortable. This is one of the positions I’d try and relax in or get comfortable, if I was on a chair or lay down, whilst in pain. In other instances however, I found it more comfortable to be lay on my back, rather than my sides, as that’s putting direct pressure on one side of my pelvis. My memory foam mattress topper does wonders for my back, but I can still feel the pressure on my hips if I lie on one side. This naturally caused another issue for her, as when I’m on my back, I tend to snore… Yeah.. Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m a snorer. Dammit.
This next part however, is actually not expected, and something which I didn’t expect either!
A few months ago, I was prescribed a patch called a BuTrans patch, which is basically a painkiller that acts in the same way a nicotine patch does, and I have to wear it for 7 days.
I’d been prescribed 5mg to start with, and after a couple of weeks, I then moved up to 10mg as my pain wasn’t reducing in any way. Just before my mum went away, I’d seen my consultant who said that I could move upwards again, this time doubling the patch to 20mg. It was only halfway through the two weeks she was away that the missus realised I was only wearing a 10mg patch. I removed it, and she placed a 20mg one on for me.
This… Caused a few issues whilst I slept, and actually whilst I was awake, because it gave me terrible itches. Yep… Itching.
Boy, did I scratch like a motherfucker. I’ve actually still got a scab on my ankle about an inch tall, of where I itched continuously. It was irritating, and mixed with the warm weather… I was a nightmare to sleep with.
I was itching constantly in my sleep apparently. My body, my arms, my legs, my head, everywhere! This got so bad to the point that (and I actually remember this), the missus took my hand away from my itching head, and slammed it down over the other side of the bed. She wasn’t doing it to hut me, she was just sick of the scratching, because it was keeping her awake! I don’t blame her to be honest… It’s safe to say that I soon became irritated by the daytime itching and switched back to 10mg. The plan is to work up to 15mg first, but that’s for another post.
Now, itching and keeping the other half awake aside, another new addition to my sleeping pattern is actually voluntary. I purposefully wake myself up roughly 3 – 4 hours before I have to wake up, so that I can take some painkillers. This means that they have time to take effect, and by the time I wake up, it’s a lot easier and I’m not in as much pain.
This is fine, and I’m more than happy with this, but now it seems to have become an automatic reaction. For the past 4 nights on the trot, I’ve woken up on, or around, 04:30. It’s great, because it means no alarm, and I’m usually wide awake and I love that! Waking up naturally, and being alert and completely awake! The only trouble with this is… I have to go back to sleep, and with that… Means I have to wake up again, which would be fine, if I actually woke up in the same way. Usually when I wake up 3 – 4 hours later, I’m incredibly groggy.
Speaking of sleep though, I’ve realised that I’ve been writing this post for over an hour, and since I came in from work roughly two hours ago, I suppose I’d better get some sleep.
I just thought it was interesting how, on one hand, I thought my sleeping patterns were solid and that I hardly moved and that I was out of pain throughout the night, yet on the other, my partner is telling me that I’m curling up in a ball and switching positions because I’m reacting to pain, and that even in my sleep, my medication is having an effect on not only my cognitive functions, but also my physical ones too. I probably would have never woken up that morning, if she hadn’t have taken my hand away from my face!
I think that eventually, it’ll just be something that we’ll get used to when staying together. I won’t even get into her sleeping positions! You thought the exorcist had some crazy moves…
For now though, I’ll leave this post here and get some much needed shut eye. Perhaps I’ll make a post tomorrow, or Sunday, explaining how my pain in whilst I’m in work. Tonight I just fancied something a bit easier and nicer to write about, to take my mind off it.
Pain Rating: 6