Sunday, March 25, 2012

To Hell in a Wheelbarrow

I'm always a little sad on Sunday evening.  Tomorrow, the day will start with the rush of morning readiness, then both Nick and Mike will be gone until afternoon.  Sure, I'll have time to walk happy dogs with my friend, Rachel, and I'll go to school to volunteer later on.  I have plenty to do if somehow I'm not still catching up on sleep, but I'll be a little sad anyway.  Tomorrow, I know I'll be tired.  I'm tired right now. Tomorrow is going to be one hell of a daylight saving shift in time.

I've been on the night shift.  When Nick has trouble breathing, I take the night shift because I'm more flexible.  Mike still has to function at work and he needs to stay on a good bedtime schedule because he already has serious trouble sleeping.  That means, for the past three nights, I've been working to stay up late with Nick so that I recognize breathing trouble when I hear it.  When Nick's sick, he sleeps very loudly anyway, snoring, talking, and moaning because he's not truly resting. 

Nick's on Prednisone and Xopenex, both of which rev him up, so for the past couple of nights, it was nearly impossible to get him to sleep on time.  The nights have been a blur, but this is how they ran.  After I read four or five chapters of our current book, we finally went back out to the living room and stayed up late watching a movie he'd seen a dozen times.  I intentionally chose it that way so it didn't stimulate him to stay awake.  He has been getting to sleep after 1:00 am.  By that hour, I was loopy.  I worried that I'd miss some critical point with his breathing, or worse, overdose him because I couldn't remember what I'd done.  We sat in dim light to induce sleep for him, but I had to work to stay alert.  My iPhone has been helping.  Did I tell you I love my iPhone?  I read blogs, played games, and checked out Facebook.  As it got later, I settled in with a blanket and a cat on my lap and fell asleep before he did, but with Nick's coughing, it was fitful and I didn't feel right about it.  When I saw him beginning to doze off, I tried to get him into his own bed so that he'd sleep better.  I wish I could still carry him into bed.  It would have been easier.

Since I woke him up too much, I read another chapter of our book in his room, then I sat there quietly until I was sure he was asleep, using my iPhone to keep some part of my mind moving.  Then I left the door open and headed out to the couch where I tried to get some sleep myself.  It was hard to relax and sleep because I was worried about him. 

Both nights, according to some internal clock, the medicines wore off and Nick woke up choking and coughing.  I supplied the Xopenex by holding  a tube up to Nick's nose for twenty minutes at about 2:30 am while the nebulizer turned the liquid into a little cloud he could breathe.  At first, he startled from sleep when I turn on the compressor, but he quickly fell asleep to the droning noise.  It was my job to hold steady for twenty minutes until it was done.  Having exhausting any activity on Facebook, I played 'Words with Friends' to try to stay awake and even then, I dozed a bit.  When I woke up, still holding the tube, it was nearer to his hairline than his nose.  The compressor may not be working as well as it used to after seven years of use.  It seems like it takes longer to deliver the medicine than ever.  Maybe it's just the way time distorts at 2:30 am.  Nick didn't even wake up when I turned the compressor off and left the room to rinse out the mask.  In my bright kitchen, I wrote down the date, the time of day, the medicine, and the quantity so Mike wouldn't have to wake me up in the morning to ask. 

We have nearly filled two of these steno pads, line at a time for each dose. The second one has about ten pages left.  It's handy to bring these to the doctor when I'm too tired to answer the nurse's questions about what medicines Nick's been on and how long ago.  The staff almost always look at us differently when we bring it in, the lines speaking for themselves.  I just don't want to have to conjure up information that I was too tired to remember. 

According to his internal schedule at about 6:30 am, Nick began to cough again and I got up to gather the paraphernalia to give him another dose.  This was when I was begging, silently, for Mike to wake up and both Friday and Saturday, he did, thankfully, and took over for me.  Then, I went down to the guest room without my phone, closed the doors against any feline visitors, and fell asleep. 

This morning, at 9:00 am, I needed to get up to go to church, seeing that I'm in their very small choir and all.  I tried to keep my revised sleep schedule from getting me down during the sermon.  In the pew, even in the back row, it's not all that prudent to use my iPhone to help keep awake.  It's hard to have a spiritual side after a succession of such strange nights.  Unfortunately, my judgement was altered.  When the minister suggested that this week, we plan to serve others as part of some Lenten journey, I laughed out loud.  I actually snorted. 

Oh man.  I'm going to hell in a wheelbarrow.

Thank you for listening, jb

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