Sleep deprivation and other buggeration…

I’ve bemoaned the fact that I seem to be losing my creativity – yep, even a fact-based blog takes creativity – the words don’t write themselves you know.  😉 There are also severe memory problems.

Today, though, after an extremely rare night’s sleep (the past couple of months, in hospital and here at home, sleep could be measured in minutes, not hours), it occurred to me to do a little online research into sleep deprivation. And what do you know, my creativity problems – the impairment of my intellect and of what I choose to call, in a nod to the late s-f writer Fritz Leiber, the wordmill in my head – could easily be laid at the door of sleep deprivation, as could my hole-riddled memory.

It’s possible that I’m still suffering the ill-effects of my time in hospital (which I was told by the carer-assessors is quite possible, as it takes quite a while to bounce back from a long stay). I’m not convinced, but as I still have problems in other, related, areas (I’m by no means entirely recovered physically, though I am a lot better), and it can’t be dismissed, though it does bring me back to sleep deprivation, which was horrendous.

A rummage through Google brought me to the Wikipedia  sleep deprivation page and the one at MedlinePlus  which gives access to a veritable mine of information, and it’s clear that my first-para problems are almost certainly due to lack – often total absence – of sleep.

However, the situation is complicated by the possibility that, at some point shortly before being admitted to  hospital, I had a minor stroke. I noticed, when I was being admitted, that unless I took great care to enunciate clearly, my speech was barely intelligible. It still is and, even at its best, sounds mushy.

A stroke isn’t as much of a reach as it sounds, as I have a history of Transient Ischaemic Attacks – mini strokes that do no lasting harm but generally presage a cataclysmic stroke further down the line. I seem to have dodged that bullet for now, but something has buggered my speech, and a minor stroke seems to be a logical possibility.  And if my speech, then why not my memory and creativity as well?

Equally, this could simply be more ME-related crapola! And heart failure, too, can cause lack of sleep.

I really don’t know the answer, and seriously doubt there’s any way of knowing for sure, or even fixing the problems, if I did know.

My other bête noir, currently plaguing me, is a huge, and recent, diminution in my sense of taste. Not everything is affected – coffee, for example, is fine, but I seem to be making my morning Bovril ever stronger.

Food suffers most, though, and I have a pot of beef stew on the stove as I write that is heavily spiced with paprika and ground coriander, plus garlic (which isn’t a flavour I normally like with beef), in an effort to make it palatable. There’s lots of shallots and carrots, and more veg will be added later (peas and button Brussels sprouts, and the meat was browned in home-made lard, which will add its own contribution to the overall flavour, as will mushroom ketchup, Nam Pla, soy sauce, and a squirt of HP  (and it’s pretty damned good, too, happily).

Disappointingly, sleep deprivation won’t account for my sense of taste loss. It could be a health problem, or B12 or zinc deficiency,** or down to one or more of my new meds. If so, it’ll take time to track down.

**Supplementing with both, 1,000iu B12 and 30mg zinc daily, which I might increase.

It’s not, by the way, a total loss of taste – it’s that most food tastes like a faint echo of how it should taste. Drinks, including booze, are mostly OK except for Bovril, as I mentioned.

There is something else that can trash the sense of taste – ill health, in which case I’m screwed. However, I’ve been seriously ill for all but the first two years of my life and it’s not impaired my ability to enjoy my food, until now.

Finally, a dry mouth can be the cause, and that I have, in spades, despite following medical advice to drink as much as possible while taking Furosemide (Lasix).

Diuretics don’t limit their activity to retained fluid, they also hasten the departure of anything you drink, so I – and you – need to drink more than usual to compensate and not become dehydrated. No matter how perverse that sounds, it does work and you will feel better. And if you have a water supply that doesn’t taste great, think about getting a fridge-door filter jug, just for drinking water. In fact, get one anyway, it makes a hell of a difference.