Friday, August 16, 2013
No rest for the weary
I myself am a champion sleeper! Anybody who knows me knows that I love to sleep, and I seem to need more of it than the average person. 10 hours sounds good to me, and getting older hasn't seemed to effect my ability to sleep at all. My husband can't seem to sleep in past 7:00 a.m. no matter what day it is, but I have no problem at all. He teases me about it all the time. He says if it were an Olympic event, that I would definitely take the gold. Lately, he's been teasing me that I should go "pro." Too bad you can't get paid to sleep. I'd be a millionaire.
Sleeping in a hospital, however, is no easy task. The accommodations are not exactly "sleeper friendly." The hospital we were at had no private rooms, so there was always a lot of commotion going on. Babies were crying, coughing, and throwing up. Parents were often doing the same along with pacing, worrying, and wringing their hands. Then of course there was the endless parade of nurses and doctors.
All the children in the room had to have their vitals taken every so often. Blood pressures and temperatures had to be taken around the clock, day or night. IVs had to be maintained, and it always seemed like somebody was in need of a wound or incision check. Patients were being brought meals and medications, and housekeeping was usually there a couple times of day for general cleaning needs. Needless to say, Christopher's hospital room was a very busy place.
Sick children often do not sleep well anyway. There were many nights Christopher was up all night for some reason or another, so I was too. Even on the nights he did manage to sleep a little, I couldn't due to all the worrying I was doing. Some nights I would take the opportunity to talk with the nurses on duty. I would ask them questions, and they would give me great advice and support.
Even if I had wanted to get in a "few winks" there was no place for me to sleep other than in a chair. They had a few chairs that actually reclined, but these were few and far between. It was difficult to get one, and even more difficult to hold onto it once you did. More than once I returned from a trip to get coffee only to find my stuff on the floor and my chair gone.
The nursing staff were very insistent about parents staying with their children. After all, the hospital is a very scary place. The children are sick, and they do much better if they have mom or dad there to comfort them. It makes perfect sense. What didn't make any sense was that they didn't provide a way for parents to get some rest too. Believe me, a little bit of sleep does wonders when you are feeling frazzled and at the end of your rope. Unfortunately, it was just next to impossible under the circumstances. It just made a bad situation much worse!
Regardless of the situation, sleep is NOT optional. You have to do it, or your body will start conspiring against you. I became quite adept at sleeping upright in a chair, and I would often take short naps several times a day. On the rare occasions that I was able to get a recliner, I would sleep much better. The only problem was you couldn't leave the room without fear of losing your chair. It certainly made for fewer bathroom breaks, and it meant that I ate most of my meals in my chair.
Even though I found a way to get some sleep, it soon became obvious that it just wasn't enough. You can only go so long on adrenaline, coffee, and cat naps. I soon realized that I had a 10 day limit. My body would let me do this for 10 days, and then it would rebel. I would get headaches and feel nauseous. I would get dizzy, and I actually would see weird things crawling up the walls. That's when it was time to call in the reinforcements. I just HAD to get some sleep, real sleep. My husband or my mom (please note the picture at the right...the words on his t-shirt say it all) would come to relieve me, so I could go home and sleep actually lying down in a real bed with no crying babies or late night blood pressure checks. After a night of sleep, I could come back and do it all over again.
It probably wasn't healthy, but desperate times call for desperate measures. These were desperate times!
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can pray like this: