Insomnia - Friend or Foe  

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1:30 in the morning and yet here I am, no closer to sleep than I was at 1:30 this afternoon. I'm the lucky owner of insomnia. Sometimes a curse but sometimes a gift.

I haven't always had it. Growing up I was always quite capable of falling asleep (sometimes right in the middle of class :P ). About 10 years ago I was afflicted with a "condition" called Guillain-Barre Syndrome. For those of you that are into medical terminology it's Idiopathic demyelinating poly neuritis. It's autoimmune, so basically my body thought it was fighting an invading body, but in reality it was attacking the myelin sheath around my own nerves. It causes a severe slowdown in nerve conductivity. No big deal you might think. The problem with that is you get severe weakness in the arms and legs, and you get as clumsy as the corner wino. If you are really lucky (as I was) you will also get a Bells Palsy. So I basically was walking around like an 85 year old man who had suffered from a stroke.

Another of these wonderful side effects is insomnia. They don't know why, but it's extremely common in people that are afflicted with this condition. Now the cure for this wonderful little experience is something called plasmapherisis which is basically pulling the blood out of your body(via a central line through the carotid artery) where it is then put through a centrifuge and separates the blood cells from the plasma. The blood cells are introduced to new plasma and reinstated in your body. If that sounds uncomfortable. It is most definitely uncomfortable. I sat through 5 of those procedures, I every other day.

But after about 6 months I was considered cured. They test you for this condition by a lumbar (spinal tap). Fortunately they only do nerve conductivity tests to gauge your recovery. I will take the little shocks from the conductivity tests over a lumbar any day of the week.

So I was given a clean bill of health and told not to worry about it, that this is random so my chances of getting it again are about 1 in 200,000. Guess what the doctors don't know enough about how this works to say that. I get relapses on a regular basis (nothing as bad as the original thankfully). Unfortunately one of those symptoms that I get (along with the numb fingers and toes) is insomnia.

Well the curse side of insomnia is that in my former employment, I was forced to get up rather early on a regular basis. It wasn't uncommon to have to go to work at 5:00 am till 3:30 or 5:00 pm. Not a problem if you can get to sleep at some sort of a decent hour. It really sucks though when you don't get to sleep till 2:30 and then have to get up at 4:00. Do that for a couple weeks and you start to see things (no really).

Now the gift side of this, is that I have tons of time to indulge in my favorite books, or in the past my favorite video games (Guild wars). I could read an extra 3 or 4 books a month with that extra time. It also didn't hurt when I was writing my short stories. It's amazing what kind of weird sick crap you can come up with when you haven't slept more than 3 hours in a week.

It's like tweaking without paying for it. I've tried relaxation exercises, drinking, sex, you name it. Nothing allowed me to sleep. So I decided what the hell, I'm just gonna go with the flow and accept that it's part of my life and enjoy the ride.

So if you get a few really off the wall rants on my blog, just remember this post. It's bound to happen, and sometimes I'm told that the BS I spew while in a "mood" is highly entertaining.
Who knows one of these times I might even get up the nerve to put one or two of those short stories on here for some critique.

This entry was posted at Sunday, October 04, 2009 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


thet is a really terrible, and yet wonderful, in a weird way, thing to happen to you.

October 4, 2009 at 5:52 AM

Wow, that's a lot to handle! I agree that insomnia can be a blessing (sometimes), last year I was on anti-depressant medication that kept me awake, and I used to get a LOT more done.

October 4, 2009 at 8:00 AM

ha ha...yeah i try and keep it a positive. Don't need all the negative "energy" if you know what I mean...At least the dishes got done last night.

October 4, 2009 at 10:12 AM
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