My husband’s not sleeping well due to his cancer treatments. As a result, he’s slightly irritable. I now understand how he felt when I was going through menopause.
Last night he tossed and turned until I actually dreamed that I was in a rowboat trying to get home from work. As my eyes opened, I noticed that he had his arms behind his head, staring at the ceiling. I knew his pain.
“Can’t sleep?” I asked, showing immense emotional intelligence.
“Uh-uh,” he replied. “This is driving me crazy. Not sleeping is miserable – you have no idea.”
“Really?” I replied, now rising up on my elbow looking a lot like the Sea Witch in The Little Mermaid, “I don’t know what it’s like? Do you remember the three years when I awake every single night after taking enough Tylenol PM to put Secretariat to sleep? As far as no sleep is concerned, I get it.”
Once I completed my rant, I immediately felt badly about it. He was tired, his platelets are low, he gets chemo twice a week, and I don’t know what any of that’s like. Cancer trumps menopause, so I became solution-oriented.
“Why don’t we just read for awhile?” I suggested.
He nodded, and we turned on our separate nightstand lights and selected reading materials. He put on his glasses to read his book by Norman Lear, and I put on my glasses to read my book by Anne Lamott. For a moment I felt like we were a couple from an old 50’s television series.
If we had been in twin beds, we could have been Rob and Laura from The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Unfortunately, the reading didn’t work.
After the 90 lb Boxer started snoring, Neil was done. . .
He got out of bed and stormed into the kitchen before remembering that Mother Nature had recently turned into Mr. Freeze.
He returned to bed and flopped around like a fish for at least thirty more minutes. It was 3:30 a.m., and I felt the Sea Witch coming back as my irritation grew. But I went for the solution.
I said, “Honey, let me tell you about a dream I was having when you woke me up . . . I was in a rowboat, trying to get to work, but there was a whale in the water that kept bumping me. For a moment I thought I was like Captain Ahab in a tiny boat, but then I realized that I was still me . . . Anyway, I could hear the whale breathing through his blowhole, and . . .”
That’s when I heard him snoring. Of course he was faking it at first, just to avoid my dream analysis, but eventually his body caught on and he slept for the rest of the night.
Unfortunately, I was now all revved up, so I spent another 30 minutes finishing my Anne Lamott book and started a new book about messages from the dead. This is what happens when Amazon offers “other titles you might like.” When my daughter was home she took a picture of the book and posted it on Instagram with the slogan “S–t my mom reads.”
I dozed off by page three, because dead people aren’t all that interesting. My husband was snoring. The dog was farting. And we all slept.
Moral of the story: Taking care of each other is the best story, even when it’s boring.
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