Sleeping better – just in the wrong place…

There is one positive thing to come out of my recent medical problems – I’m sleeping better.

All my life, my respiratory problems (I’ve had the precursors of my COPD, asthma and bronchiectasis, since age two, when almost simultaneous measles and whooping cough trashed my lungs), have meant that sleeping was problematic. The change of posture would often trigger a coughing fit, and invariably, lying down made breathing difficult and caused my lungs to fill up with toxic crap overnight. Now, though, that doesn’t happen.

The reason is that I haven’t been to bed since the second night in hospital. There I slept in a chair, because I quickly figured out that I was improving during the day, and deteriorating in bed at night, while back home I’ve been sleeping, sitting up, on the settee (couch, sofa – whatever we have to call it this week; who decides this rubbish anyway?) . The reason is partly fear – the pain of the empyema, far worse than that of my coronary and one of the few times I’ve ever screamed in pain, added to the fact that I had the breathing capacity of a mouse, was terrifying – and the thought that going back to bed might somehow trigger a repeat is way too scary. I really have to get past that, though… Somehow.

So I sleep sitting up, my breathing is fine, I hardly cough at all, and my lungs don’t accumulate crap overnight, now I’ve got rid of my infections (OK, they do to a degree – it’s unavoidable – but the improvement compared to what’s normal is huge). In addition, I appear to sleep so soundly that 4 or 5 hours seems to be ample (I tend to read until I start to nod, usually around 02.00, and the alarm for my meds goes off at 06.00, after which I rarely get back to sleep; I’m just not tired). A result then – except my butt is getting sore!

So I need to translate this to my bed (I have tried lying down in bed – it’s just too painful). Before that, I have to fix the draughty window (mesh vents in the frame), not a problem normally, snuggled down in the bed, but sitting up it will be. Then I have to figure out a way not to slide down the bed during the night, and I think the easiest way is to sit on a piece of anti-slip mat. DO NOT buy anti-slip mat from someone selling disability supplies, they will rip you off for anything ant-slip (about £52 for a piece 60cm x 200cm), whereas the stuff I use is a mere £3.99 for a 30cm x 150cm roll**, and has a multitude of uses. Do what I did and buy it from Nisbetts they sell pro catering supplies, but tucked away among it is useful stuff like this. And they supply anyone, not just trade. A great range of kitchen knives, too, should you be in the market.

**From that seemingly short length I got two seat-sized pieces for my scooter, to counter the slippery waterproof seat cover and rainwear, and a whole load of smaller pieces to put under small kitchen appliances (so they stay put when running), a piece under my trackball, so it doesn’t move, and bits tucked under the various small electronic gizmos that live on top of my computer case, so the weight of the wiring doesn’t pull them off.

I already have a bed wedge, so that’s OK, the non-slip mat will keep me in place, and if I still have a sore butt – my coccyx is embedded in my left buttock, the result of a fall**, and presses against my pelvis if I’m not careful, which is no fun – I’ll buy a rubber ring. I’m hoping the memory foam of my mattress will provide enough cushioning, though.

**This, again, put me in Arrowe Park A&E, where, despite x-rays, they failed to find my misplaced coccyx (it’s about 3 inches from where it should be FFS!) or, as I still believe, my cracked pelvis – the damn thing creaked when I moved, I could feel it, it was almost audible, was excruciatingly painful, and took months to heal. They kept me in the Obs ward for a few days, then discharged me as perfectly well – despite the fact that, even with crutches, I could barely walk unaided. Cretins then, cretins now.

I’ll have to rearrange the way I make my bed, too – which is another reason why I keep putting it off – so that the sheets and fleece blanket (between two sheets, to retain heat, they’re better than a duvet if you have painful joints – very warm, almost no weight to cause pain**), come as close to the headboard as possible. Even then, I might have to do what I’m doing at present, and sleep in a thin fleece jacket to keep my upper body warm – with my legs on my computer chair, adjusted to the right height, wrapped in a fleece blanket, I’ve not yet felt cold.

**And if you get too warm, just fold back the top sheet to let some heat out.

After a long search – months, on and off – I finally got my fleece blanket (not the one above, which is a smaller one, from Amazon), from House of Bath . Sizing, based on my double bed, is generous; I got a wine-coloured one which turned out to be scarlet, and which goes very nicely with my navy sheets, which I got from Absolute Textiles good prices, good quality (I had to replace all my bedding when I got my 9-inch-deep new mattress and the old stuff wouldn’t fit), and they also have really good-quality bath towels at silly prices – half the price of those I got from Homebase, which are so thick and unyielding they make better rugs! Seriously – I have one beside my bed and another in the bathroom.

10 thoughts on “Sleeping better – just in the wrong place…

  1. As kids, we used to call the couch/settee/sofa the davenport.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davenport_(sofa)

    Oh, and a quote from Douglas Adams on the importance of a towel:
    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:
    “ A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.”

    • Whereas these days Davenport is a fictional Twin Cities detective – the books the only thing keeping me sane (possibly!), at present.

      Towels – not worth a damn for sitting on – they compress to solidity too readily.

      • Oh, yes: forgot about Lucus Davenport. I listened to Sanford’s ‘Prey’ books while recovering from a badly broken ankle in 2006. I love books on CD! That series is especially good with a bit of dramatic reading/acting.

        I see on Wikipedia that Mr. Sanford has some more recent releases. Should drop by the library to see what’s available!

        • Try this http://www.johnsandford.org/directory.html

          There was a new Davenport (Storm Prey), and a new Virgil Flowers (Bad Blood), out in the last quarter of last year, and there’s one of each, Buried Prey and Shock Wave about the same time this year.

          There seems to be a problem with Amazon UK and Sandford’s books. I’d had Bad Blood for a month while Amazon were still claiming it hadn’t been published. Weird.

  2. I have problems sleeping but nothing compared to what you’re going through. If I come across any ideas that I think may work for you, I’ll be sure to let you know. (Probably through twitter)

  3. Ron you rock I am learning so much from you and am marooned in pain myself at the moment, and can I pick your brains as to how to deal with a “”disability company””
    I bought new scooter batteries numax trickle charger and had a service in nov 2011 seems batteries put in so badly I could have had an electrical fire or explosion, had no service and 0ver £200 worth batteries hold no charge which is why I am still alive.
    My scooter just wnt go anywhere
    Please Ron I need a quick class on how to ?
    I want justice ……oh I am in London uk

  4. Cool thanx for that looked at the site, will do some research if I get anything useful will share it for others…
    Oh and if anyone wants a
    Northern nights feather mattress topper double and lives near London I have one to give as I had another given to me..

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