Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Okay, so it might not be *all* roses

The nights really are harder than I let myself remember.

I'm slipping into a semi-biphasic sleep pattern, where fatigue sends me to bed soon after my 7pm medication, and discomfort awakens me within a few hours. Something similar happens after my 1am dosage.

I think I'm mostly shielded from this by the Vicodin and/or Valium during the day, so in the name of science, before the half-Vicodin I just took spins up, I thought I'd come straight to the computer to articulate my inner impressions of this nebulous, pre-narcotic twilight state:

It sucks.


Although I have many periods where my breathing is substantially better than status quo ante due to my new and improved airway, the facial garment is tight enough to force apart my jaws (partly by forcing my cheeks between my teeth, but mostly because the panel from neck to lower jaw is so tight), resulting in mouth breathing whilst asleep and some amount of mucosa drying out.

This is by no stretch of the imagination as bad as the first night, when, absent a functioning nose, I almost didn't sleep at all for fear of either meth mouth or choking on my own mucus (I really should have a subtitle to this blog somehow related to hypochondria; it has far more to do with that than aesthetics or gender), but it really does make for a catalog of pains on first awakening. Allow me to share:

  • face/neck/scalp soreness, from garment impinging continually on skin without movement
  • throat dryness
  • pain swallowing, from a combination of the above
  • I think I'm doing a much worse job of maintaining a seated sleeping position, so extra pressure on sides of head and swelling ensues
The contrast with how I'm going to feel as soon as that half-pill kicks in is just remarkable. Truly we in an era of better living through chemistry (which has always been one of my favourite phrases, but never with so much justification). Consider yesterday's posts, with distinct tinges of what I can now, with housemate-broadened life experiences and lexicon, identify confidently as resembling mild hypomania with my general tone now.

I talked about this with my nurse, who dropped by to take me shopping for necessities yesterday afternoon, and her verdict was that I should expect to be on low-grade pain medication for at least a month (although switching to Tylenol at some point). I'm not a huge fan of this as a concept, but I'm even less of a fan of these awakenings. On the upside, my Vicodin use is trending down fast. I'm still under instruction to take 8 per day, with explicit permission to go up to 12 if necessary - yesterday I only took 3, and 1 of those was my prophylactic pre-doctor-visit dose.

But there's really nothing quite so crushing as waking up in such pain, checking the time in the hope that morning is about to break and the happy pills can start, and discovering that you've only awoken from the evening nap, and the long night hasn't even started. At least the 1am regimen includes Valium.

1 comment:

  1. Hang in there! There is a lovely tshirt here for you when you get back, and lots of people to hang out with all hours of the long night since none of us have regular sleep patterns. We miss you!