How many sleeps?

Ever heard of segmented sleeping? Me neither, until today. Well, at least, I heard that phrase today. Before today, it was just “two sleeps.”

About a week ago, I read an article that I cannot find now. Figures. But there seems to be many articles on “two sleeps.” It was called “two sleeps” in the article I read a week ago. Today, when I goggled it I found articles calling it segmented sleep.

Whatever you choose to call it, segmented sleep is this idea that the solid 8-hour recommended sleep is not the natural sleep pattern for people. The article I read suggested that the longer sleep pattern became a thing after the invention of electricity. Other articles suggested that two sleeps started to dwindle in popularity towards the end of the 17th-century and was pretty much dead by the 1920s.

So, how did people sleep? Basically, they slept for a few hours, woke for a few hours, then went back to sleep until morning. What did they do during the period they were awake? Fuck if I know. That seems to depend on the article you read. This is the part of the article that I read that made think the whole thing was bullshit and it doesn’t really matter now. The point of the article seemed to be more about the author’s creative process in the middle of the night rather than the history of segmented sleeping. And that’s the part that peeked my curiosity.

I’ve always been a night person. Currently, my job and school don’t allow for much nocturnal creativity. My blog, art, and various projects have suffered for it. The author of the now hiding article was trying it out for his writing and I thought I’d give it a try, too.

Night One: Wednesday, April 13

I decided to do my first sleep on the couch. I don’t know why I thought this was a good idea but I won’t be doing it again. I fell asleep about 8 p.m. and woke up 40 minutes later for I don’t know why but I rolled over and went right back to sleep. Around 10:40 p.m. I was woken up by a major storm. Normally, I wouldn’t care but Wednesday night one of my cat was still outside. So, I got up, opened the front door, and was promptly run over by my cat. I tried to go back to sleep but no joy, so I went ahead and got up about 11:15ish. I got a ton of stuff done. Dishwasher loaded, load of laundry done, two blog posts written, one album for my RS500 project listened to, bed made, Maya downloaded (I started a project but quickly realized that my instructor wasn’t lying when he said I needed a 3-button mouse), showered and ready to go back to bed by 3 a.m. Then I made another mistake. Thursdays are my early days at the j.o.b. so, I have to be up and moving around 7:15. Reading until almost 4 a.m. was a slight miscalculation. When the alarm went off, I hit the snooze twice before dragging myself outta bed. I was really tired.

Nope. Not gonna work for me.

Well, wait a minute.

The morning grogginess isn’t really all that unusually. I hate getting up in the morning. It wore off just like any other morning but then something kind of cool happened, or didn’t happen. I didn’t get that midday tired, I need a nap, feeling. I didn’t get tired again until around 7 p.m.

Night Two: Thursday, April 14

I did my first sleep in bed this time and slept through my midnight alarm (maybe, I might not have turned it on). I woke up on my own around 2 a.m. I didn’t have anything planned for this wake period but I did do another load of laundry (I try to do one load a day) and I watched the new episode of Bones on Hulu. I went back to sleep close to 5 a.m. and slept for until a little after 8, with only one snooze button smashing.

I’ve been working on writing this off and on all day. It’s currently almost 2:30 p.m. and my energy levels are still up. I guess I’ll keep trying this segmented sleep schedule through the weekend and see what happens.

Not Like the Last Trip to the Hospital

Hospital day. I hate hospital days but this isn't supposed to be a long procedure. I'm not calling it a surgery. It's too short to be a surgery. Procedure. Just a couple of toes and clean up the stump.

Falling out of bed happened around 6 a.m. so, in typical me fashion, I'm running a little late. Feed, walk, and water the animals. Quick shower. No food for me. Out the door around 6:43. Okay, there was a little bit of facebook checking in there. Just a quick glance to make sure I didn't miss anything during the 4 hours I slept.

Mom calls just as I'm walking up to the front doors of the hospital. She's at the check in counter on the second floor. I meet her there just in time to hand over her ID and watch her sign some paperwork. I tell her that we didn't have to be here until 7:30. The hospital had called the house the day before to tell her that but I told them that they might not want to tell the rehab center. They aren't very good at getting her places on time and they have an earlier time.She tells me that they barely got there before 7 but one of the nurses at the rehab center bugged the shit out of everyone to make sure they were on time.

We get wheeled back for the appointment pretty quick. Mom gets weighed, temped, written on (I got to keep the skin markers), changed, and finally drugged. I got placed in charge of her belongings, including the rehab centers wheelchair. One thing about this hospital, you better know your name and date of birth because everyone is going to ask for it. I don't know what happens if one doesn't know their name. I'd be inclined to say that I don't know my name just to see what happens.

Eventually, Mom was pushed back to the OR and I headed to the waiting room. This waiting room is fairly nice. A little bright but the chairs are okay and it's large. There is a TV that they had on set on something daytime-y and crappy. I sat in Mom's wheelchair and watched until I realized that no one else was paying attention to the TV and the obnoxious Pink Lady wan't in the room. I changed the channel. Criminal Minds is much better waiting room TV viewing than Celebrity Name Game. Three other people seemed to agree because they wondered over to watch with me.

Speaking of the Pink Lady. She's not really pink, her jacket is (it's usually a her). I don't like them. I find them intrusive and nosy. Why do they need to know why I'm here? I get it, she can be in charge of answering the phone but why does she need to know what the OR told me once the do call? Just lemme alone and let me watch this creepy TV show in peace.

At some point The Leg Thief shows up to tell me that he has successfully stolen two of Mom's toes and cleaned up her stump. Everything went fine and she should be able to leave today. Recovery will call when they are ready to move her to a room.

Hospitals have sucky wifi and cell phone coverage is worse. I tried to do some facebooking and when that failed I played with a new typewriter app on my iPad. It's cool. It sounds like a real typewriter when you type. It even has a "sheet of paper" that moves across the screen as you type. It's cool if you're a typewriter geek. Eventually, Recovery called to tell me that Mom was awake and is on her way to room 449, they'll meet me there.

They lied.

I waited near room 449 for about 10 minutes before I went looking for a nurse who told me that they had told recovery "no" because Mom is scheduled to be discharged today and they can't see giving her a full room to someone that is not staying the night. The hospital has day rooms down on the surgical floor. Back to the waiting room. 

I finally got to Mom's room around 1:20 but I had to suit up before I could go in. Patients that come from rehab or nursing facilities are "isolated" as hospital prodicall. Something about them living in a place that can easily spread infection so the hospital takes extra procations. Whatever. I got a cool blue plastic gown to wear and gloves that make it difficult to type.

Mom was in some pain and not thrilled with the idea of going home.

Adventure

We went on an adventure. *sigh*  I imagine there will be many more adventures.

I fell outta around 7:40 a.m. and rushed around the house so that I was rolling by 8:15. I had promised Mom donuts and since I was running a little late Murphy’s Law kicked in and there was a hold up at the Dunkin’ Donut counter. Apparently, Dunkin’ Donuts at 8:30 when there is a line is a great time to ask the counter help how to operate your Dunkin’ Donut app on the Samsung smartphone that you don’t know how to work. I’m not sure why, but for some reason it took employees more time than it should have to realize that they should, maybe, open another register. I didn’t know that ordering donuts and coffee could be so complicated.

I made it to the rehab center before 9 a.m. and I had more than enough time to eat my donuts and mom ate one of hers, saving the other one for later. Then we rolled down to the front door to wait for the van that would take us to Mom’s 10 a.m. doctor’s appointment. 

And we waited.

And waited.

Waited.

Nurse called transport company.

Waited.

Thought maybe it went to a different door.

Waited.

And at 10:20 the van showed up, loaded Mom into the van, and as we pulled away the driver asked if I had my ticket. “My what,” I asked.

“Ticket. They should have given you a ticket for the ride. It covers the cost of your ride.”

So, I called back to the rehab center and found out that the tickets would be left at the desk and the driver can pick them up when they bring us back.

A weird thing happened next. The driver asked us if we knew the location of the doctor’s office. Normally, people know the answer to this but Mom and I have never actually been to this doctor’s office. We had only seen him at the hospital. I thought we were seeing him at the hospital. So that is where the van dropped us off and it is not where we needed to be. We needed to be across the street, which would require me to push Mom’s wheelchair down a steep driveway ramp, up a small hill to the street, across said street, then up a steep drive into the doctor’s office parking lot. 

I suck at pushing wheelchairs. I did not want to navigate this wheelchair down the ramp at the hospital. We found our way into the hospitals parking garage for the doctors, where I found an elevator that took us to the ground level and avoided a good portion of the ramp but sort of trapped us inside the parking garage. I wheeled Mom to the far left side of the exit bar and then right up to the bar. Then, I lifted the bar as far as I could while Mom wheeled under it. Freedom. Now for the hill.

The problem with wheelchairs is that the person pushing can’t see what is directly in front of the chair and sometimes the person sitting in the chair doesn’t warn the driver. The only problem we encountered was when I tried to push the wheelchair up a little ramp and on to the sidewalk. It was fairly steep so the foot portion of the chair hit the sidewalk kind of hard. A slight readjustment later and we were on our way to the top of the hill.

Who thinks about crossing streets? No one, right? Maybe just enough to decide to go to the crosswalk. Well, people with wheelchairs have to think about not just crossing the street but navigating the sidewalk or driveway on the other side of the street. The building we were headed to was directly across from us. Skip the crosswalk. The sidewalk had a major lip on it and went straight into a steep drive and parking area for the doctor’s office. Turn wheelchair around. Wait for traffic. Wait for traffic. Go. Go. Go. And so, I pulled Mom across the street backwards, across the sidewalk, and halfway up the hill before I turned her around and pushed her the rest of the way to the doors to the office.

Finally, we were in the right place, without Mom’s wallet. *sigh* But the nice admission lady said they didn’t need her ID or insurance information as the hospital had provided all of it. They did have the required 8 forms for us to fill out. Most of the information for these forms I know already. I’ve filled them out enough since mid-July that there are really only a few spots where I need to ask Mom for input. I got to one of those spots when someone in the waiting room thought it would be a good idea to start asking Mom about her amputation. Mom likes to talk to people. Any people. So, instead of answering my questions over when certain surgeries were she was answering questions (or asking me questions) about her amputation. Once the lady had been called back to see the doctor I finally had Mom’s full attention and got the forms completed. I handed them off to the reception lady and plopped down into a chair to quietly pass out. 

“Is there a bathroom?”

“What?”

“I need to go to the bathroom.”

“O….kay, let me go do some recon.”

Bathroom recon for a wheelchair is not as simple as Where Is The Bathroom. It includes: Is There A Handicap Stall, How Many Doors Are There, and Is The Chair Gonna Fit. Once I had answers to these questions, I went back to get Mom and wheel her to the bathroom. 

I’mma stop right there about the bathroom. Although, hilarity ensued somethings just need to stay between mothers and daughters. Use your imagination. We got the job done and no clean up was required.

The rest of the visit, and day, went off without a hitch. The doctor is going to take a couple toes off Mom’s foot Thursday and clean up her stump a little. Otherwise, her leg is healing nicely. 

No dragons were slain this day.

Kayaking with WWP

It’s been a fairly stressful summer. I spent most of it at one of the local hospitals. Mom is out of the woods now and safely rehabbing at a rehab center on the other side of town. So, I escaped for a day of kayaking with the Wounded Warrior Project. I had a good time and hope to do some more kayaking soon. I’ve even bought a little life jacket for my dog so that she can go, too.

Listen

I don’t even know where to start. The days have kind of been a blur until July 12th hit. I think I need to go back further than that. May, I think. It started to unravel in May.

Mom was worried that she had dementia. She has a few family members that have been diagnosed with it, possibly even alzheimer’s before people really knew what alzheimer’s was all about. So, she went to see her doctor to talk about her memory issues and leg pain. I’m not sure how the leg pain got lumped into one complaint, and I now realize that it should have been addressed separately but it’s a little too late now. Anyway, a bunch of scans later a tumor was found in her left temporal lobe. Meningioma everyone called it. Not acting like cancer. Go see a neurologist. 

So, we did. Sort of. We saw the neurologist PA. We didn’t really like her. She made everything about her in that way that does nothing but make me want to scream, “THIS APPOINTMENT ISN’T ABOUT YOU.” She wanted to do a bunch of stuff that later got cancelled. Who the hell needs a sleep study in the middle of a brain tumor? The leg pain did come up and there was a conversation about how little Mom drinks water. As in, she never drinks water. Drink some. See if that helps. And for the brain tumor? A referral to see a neurosurgeon. 

The neurosurgeon appointment was over before it started. I think it is going to take me longer to type about it than time spent in the mans office. We arrived 15 minutes early and we were walking back to the car before the appointment time even arrived. That’s how quick it was. It was basically a This Is What I’m Going To Do appointment. At first, we were cool with that but later questions came up and Mom wasn’t happy. She went back to her doctor. Her doctor cancelled the sleep study and called the neurologist to complain about his PA. Then explained that the oncologist should answer her other questions.

Don’t let oncologist scare you. Radiation oncologist treat tumors, not just tumors that are cancerous. All tumors that are going to get blasted with radiation are done so by radiation oncologist. So, there was a trip to meet with the radiation oncologist. He answered all of Mom’s questions and made sure she understood that this was more important than her shoulder pain. See, Mom had wanted to put off the tumor thing until after she had a shoulder replacement surgery. Yeah. Not going to happen that way. 

The leg pain came up again during this appointment. She had drastically reduced her diet coke intake and increased her water consumption but her leg muscles still hurt. The radiation oncologist made sure she understood that the leg pain has nothing to do with the brain tumor. Nothing more was said about the leg pain.

Then July 13th rolled around. Mom asked me to take her to the hospital because she had accidentally kicked a crate, twice (the first time was on the 12th), and her toes hurt really bad. So, we went to the ER and they kinda freaked out about not being able to find a good pulse in either foot. They asked about circulation problems but no one had ever said anything about her circulation. They thought that she had fractured a couple of toes and sent us home with crutches, a splint, pain meds, and a referral to a podiatrist. 

It was a week before we could see the podiatrist, by that time Mom had purple toes on her left foot and bluish toes on the right. The podiatrist didn’t care about which toes might be broken. He wanted us to see a vascular guy as soon as possible or he was going to admit Mom to the hospital himself. We saw a vascular guy the next day at the hospital.

Blood clots.

Both legs.

Four-and-a-half to five-hour surgery to clear them.

It didn’t work for the left leg. Below the need amputation two days later.

Liver failure.

Kidney failure.

Words like “gravely ill” got used. 

Sister flew into town for about a week.

This is when days started to blur together and time has escaped me.

I can’t really say everything that happened from July 22nd (the day we had the appointment with the vascular guy) to now. It’s all kind of mashed up together. But, Mom is awake now but not entirely coherent. Her liver has come back and the kidneys are working on getting better. As of tonight, she’s still at the hospital but she could be moved to rehab any day now. She seems okay with the loss of her lower left leg and anxious to learn to walk again. She has also realized that she needs to listen to her body. 

Listen to your body.