Sleep is an adventure every night. I picture myself as going on a journey with no GPS or map. In other words, there is not much predictability to the hours between 10:30pm and 6am. I rarely have trouble falling to sleep. My old nemesis, pain, does its job intruding on my shut-eye; after being in one position for two or three hours, I wake up. I use my left hand to pull my right shoulder back into its socket. I reposition my legs with both hands, rewedging the pillow to protect the alignment of my new hips. At that point, I usually put in my earphones and listen to my Ipod. I have night-time playlists and several books on tape that, eventually, lull me to sleep. I may sleep another hour, then pain intrudes. I get up and take a bath hot enough to cook lobsters. I may or may not drop a book into the tub as my muscles relax and sleep tempts me. I climb back into bed and check the time. I may have an hour until it’s time to get up. I practice breathing deeply. I practice patience. I practice prayer. I lie awake waiting. I don’t want to be late to say good morning to Charles.
Complicating the sleep scenario is one small behavioral deviation that has followed me since childhood; I sleep-walk. Talking in my sleep is not subject to life’s stresses. If you talk to me while I am sleeping, I am likely to respond and have no memory of the conversation the next day. Sleep-walking is a bit more complex. It occurs during times in my life that I am feeling out of control. When I first read Heidi I was enormously relieved to find I was not alone. Heidi, despondent about leaving her beloved mountain and grandfather slept walk nightly – searching for a way home. Senior year in high school was the first time that this humorous behavioral aberration intruded on my life in a real way. I woke up in the kitchen having made breakfast for the family. It was 3:30 in the morning and I didn’t recall opening the bacon package or scrambling the eggs. It wasn’t until I was accepted into college that my nighttime adventures stopped.
My nocturnal wanderings have returned intermittently over the ensuing 35 years. Once again, they have claimed me. A couple of months ago, I found that I had gone through the first floor of the house and emptied all the trash, including the large bag in the kitchen. I placed them in a Hefty trash bag. I found evidence of my nesting in the garage the next morning. A few weeks ago, I opened the dishwasher while Charles was eating breakfast only to find I had emptied the dishwasher sometime during the night. This week, my office desk had been tidied and organized while I was “sleeping”. I shouldn’t overlook the night that I woke up because I had walked into a wall full-paced. I thought I was striding across a field. It was a harsh way to wake up. My nose bled. From past experience, I know this, too, shall pass. I will resolve my concerns and my sleep-walking will cease. Until then, each night, I am left wondering where my travels might take me. This morning around 6 am, I woke up and studied my husband’s bureau for a few minutes. It was like the game “What’s wrong with this picture?” from Highlights magazine. Apparently, during my sleep-walking activities last night, I delivered a gift to my husband. I am still trying to figure out if there is some deep meaning or if it was just a random event. More importantly, I am wondering where my walking may take me next.