Nightly mayhem

If it weren’t bad enough that the beast meets me as I am falling asleep each night and before most naps, add to it the treatment rituals that make my bedtime routine laborious to say the least.

Here’s my brain dump to maintain my sanity, my health . . . Such as it is, that is!

  1. Turn on the electric bed warmer pad ahead of time to warm the sheets then turn it off when going to bed. Warm sheets decrease the shock of otherwise cold sheets that have triggered episodes in the past.
  2. Adjust the thermostat if the weather is cooler so we don’t overheat when sleeping.
  3. Remove the comforter and 2 decorative pillows from the bed and place in guest bedroom.
  4. Position a pillow where my knees would go and another where my back would go and another to hug in front of me. This allows positioning for what therapists call “back precautions.” Knees slightly bent with “neutral spine” alleviates pressure on my low back.
  5. Foam pillow top over the mattress cushions the bony prominences and joints. So comfy!
  6. My Pillow-brand pillow contours to the head-and-neck nicely for switching from side to back overnight without pushing my head too far forward off of the mattress.
  7. Wear a long-sleeved shirt over my bed clothes to keep my neck and shoulders warm overnight.
  8. Take nighttime supplements and hormonal creams but not too close to bedtime for the former.
  9. Moisturize with various products for various body parts!
  10. Now apply an eye cover to create darkness for better sleep.
  11. NEW: pack of ice wrapped in a hand towel placed mid-sternum. Calms vagus nerve to actually decrease convulsive episodes!
  12. Temporary addition: cardiac event monitor control pack tucked into a pocket for 7 days. In the event of an episode or worrisome symptom, get up and go into the bathroom to record the incident. (The unit has no night light!) This is one of SIX tests in a workup going on right now before seeing a cardiologist who specializes in electrophysiology. This all came about when I noticed some heart rate variances during episodes. More clues towards a potential cure? We shall see.
  13. Apply nighttime specialized dental appliances for optimum TMJ positioning. Reduces jaw pain.
  14. Get up in the middle of the night (or morning) to complete sinus rinse procedure if I wake up with annoying sinus drainage. Go to the front bathroom if Steve is still sleeping. Attempt to go back to sleep or do a passive activity until I am tired again. Eat, take care of the dog if needed.

Do you see a typical nightly skin care routine in there? Nope. I guess I am a “high maintenance” woman of another type. Exactly what type is that? A very odd one perhaps! Such is life. Better go start the routine . . . It’s nearing 5:00 a.m. and my bedtime is approaching. Yes, things are nearly reversed again in an attempt to wait until I am exhausted before trying to sleep. Seems to help, except when I have an appointment the next day. Then I spend the next 24 hours trying to catch up. Ugh. Sigh.

Our pup is so very confused by this routine! Good thing she has furry eyelids to keep out the light. Maybe I need them for my nightly mayhem too? JJ

Can we talk here?

One of the most hilarious comedians in my humble opinion was Joan Rivers.  I got to see her live in Las Vegas many years ago and many of her skits are still fresh in my mind.  She would blurt out under her breath, “Can we talk here?” just as she was about to dish the dirt on a celebrity or delve into the hairy details of a sensitive topic.  While in more recent years I became a fan of Christian comedienne Chonda Pierce more than Ms. Rivers yet I will always remember this phrase, drawing me close, now drawing you close as well.

Can we talk about the bowel?  I have become more acquainted with this topic than I really should at my age!  Usually a discussion of bowel habits marks the conversation of persons over the age of 65 and especially those over 85.  I know this.  I have worked with thousands of seniors as an occupational therapist.  Improving independence in the skills required in toileting is one of our areas of expertise.  Need a raised toilet seat?  Secure handhold when transferring onto the commode?  Yeah, that usually triggered additional self-disclosure from my client on his or her last BM which went beyond my area of expertise!  (For more on toileting accessibility, see Part 1 and Part 2 in my professional website, Two Step Solutions.)  Older adults often talk openly about their bodies in such an intimate setting you know.

toilet, accessibility,accessible toilet, get up from toilet, toilet safety frames, grab bar, knee replacement, toileting, toilet transfers fall by toilet, prevention, prevent

From all of this I was determined NOT to talk about such matters . . . until today.  So let’s get to it.  The bottom line is that gut motility is a natural body function for all of us, right?  Soooo, I ended up in the Emergency Room this past weekend for abdominal pain and back pain.  Both exacerbated the daily convulsive episodes such that I could not bear to be me anymore!  The staff of the Regional Medical Center administered IV fluids and a battery of tests resulting in the seizures and back pain diminishing while the abdominal pain continued.  Flash forward to Monday afternoon and a call to my Primary Physician’s office.  Unfortunately I soon discovered that he was to be out of town on a family emergency for the entire week!  I prayed for him and then I prayed for me.  What should I do now?  The tummy pain was continuing.

By the grace of God and by phone, my incredible family doctor was able to figure out what to do and recommend treatment.  The CT scan had shown a severe bowel obstruction (B.O.) but the ER Doc never told me about it!  Imagine that!  I was admitted to the emergency department with the primary complaint of abdominal pain and no one bothered to tell me the findings clearly stated on the CT report.  Geez!  I have no idea how the “B.O.” came about (little humor here folks!) but today I am grateful for an amazing Doc and phone nurse willing to get medical records and review my case with him when I was unsuccessful.  The treatment worked!  Geez again!  And in the process I was introduced to an unsweetened form of a supplement that I believe I can use on an ongoing basis; I have battled for 4 years finding magnesium that I could tolerate; magnesium is critical to my recovery.

I hear-by recommend Natural CALM!  You will now find an unsweetened version of both Natural CALM and Lily of the Desert Aloe Vera Juice in my list of Julie’s Favorites at the end of this webpage.

I am so glad that we can talk here!  I know that this topic will touch the life of someone out there so I am not ashamed to mention it today.  Here is my takeway message this afternoon:

If you feel like you are going crazy, you are not.  It is just a feeling.  Try something new.  Get help and stay engaged in the process until you find an answer.

Don’t be afraid to politely ask for help even when others are busy.  Often the busiest person, if they agree to help you, will be the best person to get the job done.

Always say “thank you.”

Keep your bowels moving.  Keep your body moving.  Keep your mind moving forward.  Keep your eyes fixed on Christ.  Keep tough . . . you are not alone!

That’s it Gentle Reader.  Feel free to pass a link of this post onto someone who might need it.  Young and old, I am so glad that we can talk about it here . . .  :JJ