Side note: I have always been sick of people misusing the word, "literally." Literally means, "to the exact letter of what I said." It does not mean "very" or "really" or "extremely." If you say you "literally were bored to death," that means you were so bored, your life signs stopped, and were declared clinically dead. So when I say, "I got literally 5 minutes of sleep," I mean I have only slept 5 minutes between now and 6:00 am Monday morning. Not "I slept 5 hours, but it felt like 5 minutes," or "I didn't measure exactly how much I slept, so I'll say 5 minutes to look all macho." I am sick of people who do this. I mean, if you slept 5 hours, and said, "Man, I feel like I have only slept a few minutes," then no problem. But today I have a short temper on a lit fuse because I have slept from 3:10 to 3:15 this morning.
What kept me up? Oh, a lot of things. Worry started it off. I worry a lot about money this time of year, and that hooks with my seasonal depression, and then I put a spin on how this rates me as a husband and father. So I watched some TV. I tried to watch something boring, and so I watched 3 hours of the movie "Hiroshima," about the decision to drop the atom bombs in 1945 on Japan. I actually thought the movie was pretty interesting, and that kept me company and off my worries until 3am. When I tried to go to sleep, I fell asleep I am guessing around 3:10, and then at 3:15, my body had other things to do!
Like I have this sleep problem that comes from eating certain types of food. This started a few years ago, when I took that night job, and while it happens a LOT less than it used to, it still happens from time to time. My stomach never has worked properly, so some foods don't get digested (notably vegetable matter), and so they sit and ferment in my belly, creating gas. And gas isn't the main thing. It's what the gas does: presses on my heart. My heart, which is faulty, suddenly goes into overdrive. When this first started happening, I swore it was a heart attack because my heart races, my chest feels heavy pain, and my left side tingles like my old migraines used to before I took medication for it. My doctor said, "Well, if burping relieves the symptoms, then it's sort of related to acid reflux," and then went into a long spiel about what I had, and how it was related to nitrogen bubbles divers get when the don't decompress properly. Solution? Pepto, Pepsid, and change diet. And that seems to work. But I haven't eaten well since Saturday, so it came back to haunt me. What also works is sitting upright, but I can't sleep that way since I strangle myself when my head droops, and get a sleep apnea thing going (this was great for staying awake in class, but terrible on long overnight plane trips to Sweden). So I went on my computer in my den and played around. Then it was 5:30, and I still wasn't sleepy. I walked around, and decided to just take my shower and give up. Oh, then, around 6:30, before I left for work, THEN I get sleepy. Ha ha! Too late NOW, body! You should have thought of that when I told you to sleep at 11:30pm! Or 2am! Hell, even at 4am! Grrrr...
So, here I am at work, zoned like nothing else. Hot coffee helps, but then I know will come step 2 of lack of sleep: body shutdown. Parts of me just stop working properly. Like one of my arms or legs will lose most of its strength (usually the left side). My stomach will just start hurting. My typing will get worse and worse (you should have seen this entry without a spell checker). My temper will get shorter and shorter. My mood will get worse, and I'll start "graining," which is my word for this weird thing that happens when I get too tired: I get the illusion I can see the grains of reality that make up my universe. No, really. My vision gets grainy like a bad film, and I start seeing rainbows around people, weird blobs of moving air hovering around, and sometimes I swear I can hear random voices saying totally random things. Not thinks like "Kill your boss!" but stuff like, "If I planted the lettuce earlier, I would have gotten a better crop," "I'm bringing up Betty," or "I wonder if I left the iron on?" Thoughts that sound like random snippets of other people's thoughts or conversations. I figure this is my brain trying to jump-start the dream state after it gave up on the sleep part.
And you can never tell people how little you've slept, because people, for some reason, try and top it. Even if they don't have a record to beat yours, they make it sound like they do. "Man," I'll say, "I only got 5 minutes of sleep last night." Then some guy will say, "Yeah, I only got 4 hours and I don't know HOW I am going to get all these reports done..." But I don't listen to my advice, and blurt out that I have only slept for a few minutes since two days ago, and then get mad they try and top it. I'm hopeless in this state. I don't know why I expect sympathy. I guess I am just needy that way when I am grouchy.
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000289.html