I have always called it crashing. After several nights of being awake all night I lay down last night and fell asleep. Not just the regular kind of sleep but a very deep sleep that no one could wake me from.
I’ve done this many times in the past few years — maybe longer. But others only saw it happen in the past few years. This time was a little bit different though. I’m living in an assisted living facility now. Ya know — the kind with nurses on duty all the time. One of my friends had come into my room for a visit, saw me not moving, and according to them all I was lying there with my mouth open and barely breathing. I didn’t know about that, but it paints a very unattractive picture, doesn’t it?
Well, Lisa called the nurse in and she later told me I wasn’t breathing at the time. I didn’t know that happened, just that it wasn’t anything new for me. Still asleep at first I didn’t know what all they were doing until I began waking up. Goodness! one of them was pounding my chest while another was using a cold cloth to bathe my face. I tried to tell them to go away and let me sleep but the words wouldn’t come out. Frustrating!
I have always had a soft voice, my inheritance from my Dad, but to lie there and feel them working over me as if I were dying was pretty new for me. And to keep trying to talk and have them ignore what I was trying to say was even worse. I don’t know how long we were doing all of this, but maybe they had just been using the wrong words when they called my name and kept telling me to come back. I then heard another few words — the ambulance is here! At least that brought me to the point of being able to finally start waking up and talking so they could hear.
I have nothing against ambulances. Some of the time they are very comforting, like when I broke my leg. But when I am waking up from a deep sleep it’s a bother to hear that they have called one. I mean really! I was just catching up on all that lost sleep!
The guys had rolled the gurney in by the time I was fully awake, and they kept saying I should go to the hospital to be checked out. I kept telling them I was okay and it wasn’t anything new. It was the first time I had ever heard the details of what I looked like though.
The medics asked a couple of times if I was sure and I finally convinced them that it was a normal thing for me. I’ve always called it crashing, mainly because it only happens after i’ve lost a lot of sleep, but I was kinda afraid to tell them that. They left and I started sit up, only to have Karen, the nurse, push me back down, sit beside me and bury her face in my shoulder and cry. She was having flashbacks of when someone in her family passed away and she thought I was dying at the time. I told her I had been trying to tell them I was just asleep but she said I stopped breathing and my B/P was not readable. So that’s how it feels to be dead? That would be so disappointing. I’ve always heard that you can see a light and walk toward it and you are there! All I saw was a good night’s sleep.
I think everyone on staff last night came in to hug me and tell me they had been so afraid. I finally told them it was not a big deal, it happens a lot and the next time they should just go out and close the door and I would either wake up or not, but if not that’s the way I want to leave this world, in my sleep and peacefully. I have a feeling I will have to write that down for them now. The “living will” kind of writing. I have one but my son has the copy I made. At least I think he has it.
Anyway, that’s how I began my evening yesterday. One of the aides told me I had missed dinner, like I really cared? I asked her what they had but don’t remember what it was. Just remember that I told her I didn’t miss it at all, I wouldn’t have eaten it anyway. She agreed with that! I had been eating a bag of popcorn when I fell asleep and I finished it after removing the safety pins and a couple of chunks of wax they had dumped in there when they came in. I was in the middle of pinning a quilt together at the time and Karen said I was lying on the pins.
So, I finally got an idea of what things look like when I am so sleepy and tired that I crash. My mouth open?!!! Not the attractive picture I always had of it all. I hadn’t even had my shower yet!