Ask my kids who they want taking care of whatever (insignificant little) problem they have at 2 AM. It’s not Mommy. Cause Mommy is a total biotch if you wake her up.
Hi, I’m Meg, and I am a complete harpee without sleep. A year ago I was fine, and now I’m happily returning to the club of people who don’t count sleep as one of their demons. Happily, my broken record phrase has become: “I feel so much better now.” But for a while there, it was definitely a ‘thing’ with me.
Since talking to a half dozen doctors regularly about the heart thing, I got pieces put together, regarding sleep. Or rather, lackthereof. Namely, that I hadn’t been getting much good quality shut-eye, in the last couple of months. And it was affecting me big-time, back then.
With the CHF, I gradually felt worse and didn’t realize it, and I just plain lacked the energy to do my life. In what was, unbeknownst to me, a related situation, I also started having trouble sleeping. I couldn’t tell you when it started exactly, but I would wake up after a few hours, wide awake, heart going like I’d be up doing something for a while (Duh). I could fall asleep fine but not stay there, waking up ten times a night (double duh.) At 4 AM I felt as wide awake as if it were 8 AM. I tried taking one Benadryl. I tried taking 2. I tried a hormone supplement called melatonin to get a better night’s rest, as it got worse. (Seriously, why didn’t I ask a doctor about this?)
Lack of sleep has a way of magnifying negative feelings and experiences in some of us sleep addicts. More and more often, I was short with my kids, impatient with my students, and I am embarrassed to say that once when the line at Taco Bell moved too slowly, I told the clerk at the window about it as if it were solely hear fault. I would get to the point of hearing the crazy lady yelling at her children about socks on the floor and my inner sane person would know that those floor socks didn’t warrant this level of anger… But I held a grudge about the errant footwear, or anything else that has the misfortune to tick me off. Other fun side effects included looking older, at least to myself. I consulted my sister in-law and the nice ladies at Sephora about how to cover my giant, pathetic under-eye circles. I started taking Tylenol PM sometimes and felt like an extra from “The Walking Dead” in the mornings. I drank more coffee. All unrelated, I thought, to the heart thing. I didn’t even know about the heart thing, at that point. Ah, hindsight… But seriously, I was not cool at times.
For instance: Just last week had a pretty nice conversation with someone who had ticked me off, professionally, last spring. We were talking about the performance in which I was ticked as Hell at him for messing with my music teacher game. I apologized for the level of my tickage. He said, “Yeah, I could see why you were mad, but man, you were, like, REALLY mad!” Yes. I was. Poor guy. And also, I was tired. Not a good enough excuse. *covering face in shame*
I had a cool conversation with a doctor that alleviated some of that shame though. Pulmonologists have a lot of heart training too, it seems. Systems are related to each other a lot. Among his questions this week: Had I had any have trouble sleeping that was not a life-long thing, before the heart problem was identified? (Yes.) Did I spend enough hours in bed but not feel rested (Yes.) Did I experience any psychological issues like mood changes/sadness/not feeling like me? (Um…crap.) Pulmonologist guy ordered a sleep study to check for “non-obstructive sleep apnea”. This is not the kind where you snore – this is where you just slowly stop breathing several times a night, seemingly for no reason, and over 50% of patients with my type of cardiomyopathy have it. Gee, that’s not terrifying at ALL. The good news is that it tends to clear up as the heart has an easier time doing its thing, because of improvement or medication. This would be why I feel like a million bucks, comparatively. Because now, I actually sleep.
It would make perfect sense, Pulmonolgist guys said. I couldn’t sleep because my heart didn’t work. I felt like sad, angry, tired crap because my heart didn’t work, and I couldn’t sleep. I can’t tell you the relief this theory brought me – I had wondered if I was slowly becoming unhinged, or had early M-word hormone issues, or something.
He’s right. It would explain why I literally feel like I woke up from something, this spring. And boy, is it a beautiful morning.
The heart affects everything, I am learning.
So that sleep study is coming, too. Yay, more tests. But tests help you put the pieces together and see the big picture.
This was my “before”, by the way: