4 June 2009
I had a really bad night last night so perhaps I should say a little about the effect of MND on my normal sleep pattern. To be honest I have not slept well, by most people’s standards, for the past 30/40 years, rarely asleep for more than three hours at a time. What usually happens is that I go to bed around 10, read for 40 minutes or so, turn out the light, switch on the radio – on a 15 minute timer – and usually sink into a deep sleep before the wireless goes off. I then usually wake around 2 a.m. and catnap from then until 6.00 – when my lovely brings in the morning tea – listening to the radio for 15 minute intervals between.
Initially, this lack of sleep worried me, but then one night, all those years ago, I imagined what it must have been like in the trenches during the first world war, freezing cold, up to your knees in mud and water, and subjected to an intolerable noisy bombardment and here was I lying in my warm comfortable bed, worrying about not sleeping. That always seem to do the trick and I would usually drop off shortly afterwards.
Since being diagnosed with MND the worst part of the 24 hours is in bed at night, I had a really bad night last night so perhaps I should say something about the effect that the MND has had all my normal sleep pattern, particularly, if the fasciculations are aggressive. It’s then that one finds it hard to sleep, worrying about what the future brings. As a result the doctor has prescribed sleeping pills ( 2 X Zopliclone 3.75 mg) plus two Diazepam 5mg, which she says relax the muscles. Even with that load I still frequently wake up after one or two hours but still seem to be able to get through the next day without needing an afternoon nap.
Indeed, I’ve always considered that I was very fortunate in requiring so little sleep.
At one stage, when I was doing my Masters Degree at Kings College I was also active in arbitration and was writing one or other of my books, working something like an 85 hour week. I worked out that by getting by with so little sleep I had probably added something like 10 years to my normal life span. Spending a third of ones life in bed is such a waste of time!
After that rather boring entry I think the reader deserves another anecdote, so I have added one entitled “New Year’s Day” which I hope some people might find inspirational.