Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sleepless Sleepiness and Other Irritants

Recently, I started waking with the "Gotta go. Gotta go. Gotta go right now!" It doesn't matter if I went before lying down. It doesn't matter if I've slept two hours or eight hours, the results are still the same. I barely or don't make it to the bathroom before warm liquid is running down my legs.

Now I do the fluid restriction before bed. I use the clock as I've mentioned in other posts, but to no avail.  At first I thought it might be a bladder infection, but the copious amount of fluids issuing from my body rejects that notion.

This morning was one of those times except I awoke at 1:30 in the morning after only four hours in bed. After putting on my AFO and shoes, rolling out of bed, and walking the twenty odd steps into the bathroom I found myself peeing into my brace and shoes. I didn't even get my panties down before catching the bulk of the flood into the toilet. This is down right irritating! No wonder I'm opting for full diapers again.

After I cleaned myself up and changed clothes I noticed the living room light on. My husband's hospital bed is in the living room. I went to investigate and found him on the floor in a heap, heaving trying to breathe without his oxygen on. As is my previous emergency training and my nature, I act first to remedy the situation and then panic afterwards. I got him to his feet. As he leaned doubled over the foot of the bed, I put his oxygen on. He kept shaking his head no. "No oxygen."

I thought he was saying that he didn't want it, but what he was trying to tell me was the
tube was kinked. I put the nasal cannula on him anyhow. Then we did the hand signal thing until I understood what the problem was.  Then I back tracked the line, found the kink and straightened it. I half carried him into bed. A miracle feat for a woman paralyzed or partially paralyzed on one side. I got him settled and he was still saying, "No oxygen."

I pulled the cannula away from his nose and I could feel it. I told him to look at my nose and focus on slowing down his breathing. "In and out" I started a cadence to slow down his gasping reflex. Then he realized, that he was getting oxygen. The panicked look left his eyes and  he drifted off to sleep again.

While I knew I should go back to sleep, I couldn't. The adrenaline let down effect had me by the throat and mind. It was like Friday when his oxygen machine alarm went off. I placed him on his rescue bottle of air and called the oxygen supply company. I don't know about other stroke survivors with aphasia issues but for me stress plays a major part in how bad I talk. When they answered the phone my voice was gone. Just trying to say my name was like pulling taffy. I had to take a couple of deep breaths just to do that. Luckily, the person who answered the phone knew about me and patiently waited for the words to come.

The what ifs that made me such a good storyteller played over and over in my mind. What if I didn't have this bladder problem and had slept all night. All of a sudden I was thankful for the mess. By the time I got settled down enough to sleep, there were other issues to be taken of...the rabbits, guinea pig, and chicken needed to be feed. The cats and dogs wanted to be fed, and let out and in. Medicines dosed out. For my hubby this means raising the head of the bed, handing him a water bottle and giving him one pill at a time (including finding the ones he drops in the folds of bed sheets), urinal or diaper change, and then lowering his head some, checking his legs for skin breaks, and making sure the humidifier on his oxygen condenser has enough water. By this time he's asleep again. The morphine does its job well.

Another hour monitoring his vital signs and I'm free for two hours. I guess I could do away with his vital checks, but old habits die hard. I toy with the idea of just drifting off to sleep but fear of not waking up in time for the next round of meds keeps me awake. I still head nod my way through the time praying he doesn't try to get up out of bed on his own again.

Don't tell me I should have had the rails up because I did. He scooted off the foot of the bed to try and get to his rescue oxygen and fix the problem with his line. The bad thing about being one handed is the bed rails. They are the type that have a knob that you have to pull out while you slide it down on both sides of the rails. One handed becomes a two part operation in increments to lower the rail to get him in his chair.

By 10AM I am able to once again lay my head on my pillow because my youngest daughter is here for a couple of hours before she has to go to work. Two hours of heavenly sleep for my sleepless sleepiness. Unconsciousness disturbed by the "Gotta go. Gotta go. Gotta go right now!" So it all begins again.

Nothing is impossible with determination.


  1. Now you know why you had to get up in the middle of the night. And thank God you did.

  2. {{{{{hugs}}}}} Oh, Jo! It's always one thing after another. My prayer are with you.

  3. Jo, good thing nature called at the right time! I can certainly relate to your exhaustion level after a night like that. I've had similar nights.

    We have the same type of hospital bed rails and I have trouble with them, too, and I have two hands! :D

  4. If someone made your life into a movie people would say the story is unbelievable. And yet you did the amazing things you described in this post. I don't know how you did them but evidently it is possible.

  5. Alex- There's always a reason if you look for it.

    Zan Marie- Thanks!

    Diane- I know you can.

    Rebecca- A lot of my life is unbelievable, but some how it gets done a little fore thought and one step at a time.

  6. Hi Jo - oh gosh .. you are amazing at the way you cope ... and manage all things: a great carer, beyond all carers ... I sure just hope you have some extra sleep sometime ..

    with many thoughts - Hilary


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