Communion Of Dreams


As John Lennon said…
March 23, 2007, 11:39 am
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Depression, General Musings, Health, Sleep, Writing stuff

I once had a boss who was one of those self-made millionaires, a real classic ‘alpha’ from circa 1965, complete with the mindset and abuse of employees, even though it was some twenty years later. Once, when something I did was screwed up, I went in to talk with him about it. All in a huff he told me “I don’t want excuses.” I looked him in the eye and said “I’m not here to give an excuse. I’m here to give an explanation, so we know what went wrong and can avoid having it happen again.”

Eventually, I got him trained, and when it came time for me to move on we parted on good terms.

Nothing is screwed up, and I haven’t made any big mistakes that I’m here to explain. However, I have commented several times about how tired I am, and how being a full-time (read “around the clock”) care-provider for someone with Alzheimer’s means that I don’t ever get enough sleep. Basically, either my wife or I are always listening to a baby monitor at night, at most dozing lightly. We take turns doing this. The problem is, that even when you’re not ‘on-call’ it is tough to sleep really soundly when your bedmate is dozing lightly. And while I am willing to make many sacrifices to care for my mother-in-law, giving up sleeping with my wife altogether isn’t one of them.

Most parents know what this will do to you, since caring for an infant means this sort of interruption to your sleep cycle for weeks on end. But for us, this has been going on for about three years – it’s been a full year since we had much of a real vacation from it. It means that I operate at a chronic sleep deficit. I feel like I am perpetually at about the third entry in this blog-post about sleep deprivation, with a chronic low-grade headache, lack of focus, shortened temper, forgetfulness, et cetera.

Anyway, there’s an explanation for the next time I say that “I’m so tired,” echoing Lennon’s song of the same title written after three weeks of interrupted sleep cycle when off to Transcendental Meditation camp. When I say I don’t have the energy to do this or that, or that it is difficult to get my focus for accomplishing something, this is what I mean, not that I just didn’t get a good night’s sleep the night before.

Jim Downey


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