Originally published on June 2, 2013
One of the things I miss most from my pre-Parkinson days is a good night’s sleep. I’m not talking about that alcohol-fuelled sleep brought on by a night of youthful revelry nor the spent exhaustion that followed an overly busy day of play as a child. Nor am I referring to the sleep that came to a weary body after a taxing day at the office followed by a night out for dinner and a show. What I am referring to is a “normal” 7 hours of restful sleep.
While it’s been 13 years since I was officially diagnosed with Parkinson’s, PD came to me some time beforehand. Years of a twitching baby finger, disturbances in sleep patterns, soreness in my extremities, and a fading sense of smell. All calling cards of a sort. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how and when PD came to rob me of my sleep but there’s no use losing any sleep over it! I’m in bed with PD now and that won’t change.
Through the years, I have experienced relative highs and lows. During my lowest period, I went several years getting an average of 3 hours sleep a night (3 hours in total – not 3 hours uninterrupted). I have tried numerous pharmacological and naturopathic resolutions with varying degrees of success. At present, I am the best I’ve been in years. I take a low dose of Zopiclone (a sleeping pill) which pretty much ensures I will get 4-5 hrs of sleep that is mostly uninterrupted. I say mostly because, while I can pretty much count on some kind of interruption during the night (if not for the very vivid dreams I have, it’ll be the dog barking at something in the dark, someone using the bathroom or a car passing on the street). Yet these interruptions are relatively short and I tend to fall back to sleep within 10-15 minutes.
Yet, as satisfied as I may sound with the current state of affairs in zzz-land, I know that not all is well that ends well. I find myself easy to tire and less patient then I ought to be. I am sometimes more testy or on edge than is warranted. And most often, it is those closest to me – myself and my family – that bear the brunt. A resolution? Think I’ll have to sleep on that…