Wednesday, July 05, 2017

I'm Schroedinger's Sick

As in, I can't tell if I'm really sick or not.

It's going on five nights when I have had considerably less than my normal amount of sleep - I know I did sleep SOME because I remember fragments of dreams. But I *know* that I got less than half the normal amount of sleep - I was still looking at the clock at 1 am most nights.

Friday night: storms. Really big bad storms that kept triggering my weather radio, turning the power off (that is when I learned that my dehumidifier beeps when the power is cut to it). It brought down some sizable branches.

Saturday night: More storms? I think? Or maybe that night was fireworks and Sunday night was storms, I'm tired enough now they run together.

Sunday night I think was more big storms? Something that kept me awake.

Monday night: fireworks started. Apparently a couple people in my neighborhood are fans of the ones that are extremely loud. I hope they were pretty to go with the loudness. I think people were shooting them off in the alleyway (at the back end of my yard, so maybe 30' from my bedroom windows. And my neighbors next door were apparently shooting them off in their front yard. (Hm. maybe THAT'S why they finally mowed).

Last night: OMB MAKE IT STOP WITH THE FIREWORKS. Yes, it was July 4th, and so to a certain extent fitting and proper, but I still don't like things loud enough to rattle the windows on my house and of which I feel the percussion in my chest. (I think they were in the alleyway again). I'm not sure when they knocked off but we started with storms again around 3.

Also, yesterday, I was outside a lot and probably exposed to allergens. And I maybe ate something bad for me, I don't know. (I have a very slight sinking suspicion I may be becoming either intolerant of gluten, or developing a rye allergy - and yes, those are two different things - I ate a couple pieces of rye bread with dinner last night). Or who knows? At any rate, this morning, I had a flareup of something very like the problems I was having last spring, except no reflux issues and no feeling my gall bladder was going kaputt. So I don't know. This COULD be explainable as a little virus - I've felt chilled and shaky this afternoon, except I have no fever.

And this could be explainable as food poisoning, though I've not eaten anything "weird" or possibly-spoiled in the past 24 hours. And it's less violent than food poisoning tends to be.

Or it could be stress from not having slept. Apparently there is some evidence that some people feel cold when sleep deprived, though I have no idea if this is enough nights to do that*.

(Or it could be that they cranked the AC back up in my building, it was down to about 72 in there and I've been keeping my house around 76).

(*also while hunting around on "can sleep deprivation make you feel cold" one of the quasi-medical sites I visited, I swear it had a picture of Shemar Moore facepalming as a stand-in for "guy rubbing his eyes with tiredness")

I dunno. Lunch today was a cup of tea and a cup of yogurt. (Full fat yogurt, so sufficient calories, but I am starting to feel slightly hungry now but am unsure of what to eat. Maybe cook up some grits - on the assumption that maybe avoidance of gluten for a couple days is a worthwhile experiment? Then again, I ate all KINDS of bready stuff at church on Sunday and was FINE until today, so....)

I kind of hate how unpredictable my body has come. It used to be I pretty much had an iron stomach, never got sick, never felt cold....I wasn't so much with the "can pull all-nighters" but usually a day or two of poor sleep didn't affect me, but....I guess this is getting old?

(And no, unless my body has really gone haywire, this isn't PMS. Too soon. And it doesn't feel like "Mittleschmerz," which apparently is a real thing and which I've experienced in the past year)

The feeling-cold is weird and unpleasant, though, given how I normally feel unpleasantly hot during the summer. It makes me worry. This could also be massive allergies manifesting in a weird way - I was out in the pollen (and mold, was working in the soil) for several hours yesterday, and I know my building is a mold trap, and all the grasses are flowering....

Not sure what to eat for dinner. Maybe some applesauce? Maybe cook up the grits? I don't know. (I can't do bananas - allergies. And I don't have non-rye-bread for toast. And rice doesn't really appeal....)

I'm trying to think back to the last period of long sleep-deprivation, but it was AGES ago.

(Picture it: Ann Arbor, 1991* - I had been asked to leave my first graduate program. I was already accepted to a new one, but I still felt extreme shame over the being-asked-to-leave** and so, in the weird way my mind works, felt honor-bound to do The Best Job Possible on my remaining projects, and one night I stayed up past 11 pm to work on a paper in a class taught by one of the faculty who had been instrumental - or so I thought*** in my being asked to leave.

And then, I couldn't sleep.

Didn't sleep. I kept saying, when I got into bed "TONIGHT I will sleep." I tried all the tricks I could think of - imagining I was swimming in a warm pool, concentrating on the various muscular movements. Or counting backwards by sevens from 100 (harder than it sounds). Or thinking of all the foods I could think of that began with a particular letter. Or imagining a place - a lighthouse, a cabin on the side of a mountain, a houseboat - somewhere Far From Here and where I could live in splendid isolation and yet have enough things to occupy my days. (I still use that last one, imagining the place in detail).

Nothing worked. Oh, I probably slept; you get very sick very quickly if you don't sleep at all. But I suspect I was maybe managing 3-4 hours a night at best, and that's not sustainable long-term. I started seeing a counselor, hoping I could maybe figure out what was eating me and making me not sleep. The one thing I remember from our sessions was his observation of "You are exceptionally good at *dreading* things, aren't you?" (but said more kindly than you might be imagining). He didn't suggest meds, but I probably would have refused them if offered.

Eventually, somehow, I started sleeping again. It was a weird blip in my life, though - nearly two weeks when it was very hard for me to be motivated to do anything other than the bare minimum. (I ate a lot of restaurant meals. There was a little coffee-shop - maybe it was called The Continental? I forget - on State Street where I would go and get breakfast food at lunchtime - usually a bowl of oatmeal and toast, and it felt like an indulgence, but the idea of cooking was more than I could manage. I don't remember what I did for dinners....

Anyway. I don't remember whether or not I felt cold then. I just felt tired, and sort of dissociated from life, and spent a lot of time wishing I could sleep.

(*The reference there popped in my head and I had to leave it)
(**Ah, if only I had known then. I did much better in that second program, won an award for teaching, very nearly won an award for my dissertation - in fact, someone who was Faculty But Not On My Committee used the phrase "you was robbed." But I didn't know then how much better ISU would be for me...)
(*** Some years later I ran into her at a conference and she said something to me that now makes me wonder if she felt that that decision was unfair - in effect, another, earlier, case of "you was robbed." At any rate, I don't think she was the villain I imagined her to be at the time)

Since then, I've had the odd night here and there where I couldn't "shut my brain off" - I could most frequently track it with my cycle; I could often expect one day a month like that. But it never again rose to that level of badness that I remember from 1991.

(And the "can't shut off brain" may be some kind of familial trait, some kind of genetic anxiety - my mother has complained that she cannot work on anything concerning - like rectifying the checkbook or cleaning house - within a half hour of bed or she doesn't sleep. And my brother has complained of not being able to shut off his brain to stop thinking and go to sleep)

I just sincerely hope people shot off all their fireworks* last night and they have no more.

(*Heh. Years ago I would have used the phrase "shot their wad" which used to refer to the cloth patch used in an old front-loading rifle, but I have more recently been informed that that phrase has a second, shall we say, Urban Dictionary meaning, that I would not want to imply)


Don said...

I've come to dread the first week of July. There's a line, and not a fine one, between celebrating a holiday and tormenting your neighbors, and the people around here cross it repeatedly. I hope they will let me get to sleep before midnight tonight for the first time this month.

Diann Lippman said...

I always feel cold when I'm tired, and I always have. Never thought about sleep=deprived, but probably have been for most of my life - early classes, late night, getting up with Ken for several years at night to make sure he didn't fall. In the last year, I've started monitoring how much sleep I get (with the help of my FitBit) and it does make a difference! I'm not as cold when I sleep more - who knew?

Also, the lovely neighbors just set off a big bunch of fireworks. They can stop now - really!