My Life as an Insomniac

My life as an Insomniac

For as long as I can remember I have had trouble falling asleep. In fact, my mother used to tell folks that when I was a baby she would come in to check on me before going to bed and my eyes would be open. She never turned the light on so I was just lying there in the dark, awake in my crib.
As I grew older I didn’t much think about it. I would go to bed and go to sleep. Just that easy. But getting married and having responsibilities must have awakened those very early sleep patterns. I just don’t get sleepy at bedtime. In fact I have stayed awake, reading a book until the wee hours and was still not sleepy.
I have tried several different types of sleep aids including prescriptions, over the counter pills, and even liquor. For many years I had a small drink of a favorite alcohol, such as rum, on going to bed. That seemed to work best.
Lately I discussed this with my doctor who gave me a sleep aid, clonazepam. This is not really a sleeping pill. It is supposed to relax you and make you drowsy. Falling asleep is still up to me. I took this pill for several years and found that it caused excess saliva which created much distress. It was embarrassing in public and at night made my pillows wet.
Finally my doctor gave me a sample pill called Roserem. This, too, is not a sleeping pill as such, but a relaxing aid. However I experienced waking up many times all during the night. It can also cause a very upsetting action in which you get out of bed without being fully awake and do an activity that you do not know you are doing. I had this happen. The morning after I took the pill I came into my den to log on to my computer. I glanced to the left of my desk and my extension phone was missing. I searched high and low without finding it and was expecting to have to purchase a new one. Later in the day I took a waste basket outside to empty it and saw my phone on the pavement. I haven’t taken a second Roserem pill since.
I am weaning myself away from the clonazepam because I hate the drooling. I purchased an over the counter sleep aid, Unisom, to help me get to sleep. It doesn’t work any better, but with a small drink of rum I go bye-bye. However, you would not believe the dreams! They cover every imaginable activity I have ever experienced as well as some I’ve never encountered. And they go on all night long. I wake up a couple of times during the night but usually can go back to sleep most of the time. One night last week I woke at 2am and was not able to get back to sleep. Finally, at 5am I got up and stayed up the rest of the day. Didn’t even get a nap.
Several years ago I made a short trip to Illinois to visit my grandson and his girl friend. My daughter was with me and we spent the 2 nights we were there in the friend’s guest bedroom. I had conferred with my former doctor before the trip and he gave me a prescription for 2 pills of Ambien. I took one as I crawled into bed and within 5 minutes I was out. I had no dreams and no sensation of time having passed when I woke. It was wonderful. When I tried to get a full prescription for the Ambien I was not able to. The company was having some problem with the drug and it wasn’t available. I still haven’t been able to get it.
I’m sure others have similar problems and hope that they have found help in some form. I would love to hear of success.

What else can I do?

I just got awakened from a much needed nap this afternoon by an unwanted phone call from someone I don’t know and offering a service I don’t want. I get 1-3 or more of these calls every day and I have registered with the “Do Not Call List” three times! What else can I do? My friends have the same problem, so obviously they can’t help me. Today’s 2nd call was from, it sounded like, a very young handsome(?) man with a very nice voice who wanted to remodel my house. Since I didn’t want that service I just hung up. But then I got to thinking. Most of the previous calls were from women with accents. Some accents were so thick I could barely understand them. (Just got my 3rd call of the day while I was typing this. This caller had a very strong accent.) They have my name, they use it to get my attention. I have to ask who’s calling since it could be someone who I already know. My curiosity kicked in. I think it is unfortunate that these people cannot get a better job. I hope they are being paid minimum wage at least. I hope they are paid for every call, not just the ones who accept the offer of service. Surely the nice young man today should be able to get a better job. But I can’t continue to receive their calls. I want them to stop. They interrupt my sleep, my meals, and my work. I just got my 4th call of the day at 9:15 tonight! Anybody got any good ideas?

Do You Suffer From Leg Cramps?

Do you get leg cramps at night?

I found a terrific way to relieve my leg cramps without the danger of taking quinine.  They wake me up almost every night.  Here it is:  Pinch your nose with your fingers as tightly as you can.  I know, that sounds crazy, but it’s a Chinese remedy.   And it worked for me last night.

I have been getting leg cramps for as long as I can remember and tried all sorts of things to stop the pain.  I was told that quinine relieved the cramp.  My doctor suggested quinine soda.  That was useless, it doesn’t contain enough quinine.  I was able to get quinine pills over the counter years ago until the Food and Drug Administration took them off the market.  Then I found that I could get them from a pharmacy in Canada, but they required a prescription and my doctor said he wasn’t allowed to prescribe them.  Quinine is not approved to treat or prevent nighttime leg cramps. The risk of taking quinine may be greater than the possible benefits. Quinine can be dangerous.  The side effects are multiple and serious and could cause death.

I have a few left and I keep them for the severe cramps I sometimes get or if they affect both legs.  I am concerned about the danger connected to quinine. Usually I get up and stand, putting all my weight on the leg until the cramp goes away. But that disturbs my sleep.

Someone recommended rubbing a silver spoon over the cramp.   I tried that with absolutely no relief whatsoever.

Last night I decided to try the nose pinching.  What an amazing result!  It took a couple of minutes, but it gradually went away.  I was astonished!  I found this remedy in a novel I was reading.  The main character was awakened by a leg cramp and just pinched his nose until it went away.  I thought it was worth a try.  If you have the same problem, try this.  You may be pleasantly surprised.

In my research for this article I found an ad for an “amazingly effective fast-acting organic and natural muscle remedy, for both preventing leg cramps or stopping them once they start. It was discovered by the Amish while they were still in Europe and brought to this country sometime in the 1880’s. It is curious that it has never before been made generally available to leg cramp and charlie horse sufferers until now especially, considering that this Amish remedy is the fastest acting relief for muscle cramps of any natural product anywhere.”

A carefully balanced mixture of certified organic unfiltered raw apple cider vinegar,
juice from the ginger plant and just the right amount of all natural garlic juice in
special combination so as to achieve almost instant relief from leg, foot and hand
cramps. Salt and gluten free.

One bottle is usually enough for 2 to 3 months for most people.  (You only take it when you need it.)

If you get leg cramps the following article will give you some information.  However none of the suggestions worked for me.  I believe that one or more of the medications I take has contributed to the frequency of my leg cramps.–tms–mayoclnctnmc-a20120413apr13_1_leg-cramps-restless-legs-syndrome-calf-muscles

One site I discovered stated that a shortage of magnesium in your system can cause leg cramps.  However I take magnesium daily and still get leg cramps.

If you suffer from nightly leg cramps try pinching your nose before taking any medicine, approved or not.


Do You Dream?

I accidentally found a very informative and interesting site a few days ago.  It is called Lifelong Health and the url is

Once you get onto the site you will be hooked.  You won’t want to leave.  There is so much to see there, articles on every aspect of life.  I am copying one here because it is the one that drew me to the site.  It is about dreams.  I dream every night, every time I am asleep and some are disturbing.  They remain in my thoughts long after I waken.  I found the article informative and interesting.   The following is from the owner of the site.

Hi, I’m Lois  Trader

I am a two-time survivor of a life-threatening disease and a woman who has lived through bankruptcy, not only financially but physically, psychologically and spiritually. Now I’m a successful, positive, driven woman.

Being a physically fit woman at 47 years of age, my life was changed in a heart beat. My personal journey of being diagnosed with heart disease and learning to live with it has inspired me to help others who are also concerned about their health. No matter where you are in your journey, let’s work together to live the best life possible.

I’m excited to get to know you here on Lifelong Health. I look forward to getting to know you and learning together.

 Do you remember your dreams? Do you understand their meaning? Do you wish your dream could last longer. Are you the only one who is having long vivid dreams? Below are four interesting facts about dreams.

Crazy dream equals emotion: While it can be hard to believe that an oddball dream about your mother, a circus and a snowstorm can have any bearing on real life, there may be symbolism and potential meaning to be mined in every dream—you just have to look for it, says Harvard-trained psychotherapist Jeffrey Sumber. “The meaning of our dreams oftentimes relates to things we need to understand about ourselves and the world around us,” he says. Instead of shrugging off strange dreams, think about how they make you feel. “We tend to dismiss these dreams due to the strange components, yet it is the feeling we have in these dreams that matters most,” he explains. “Sometimes the circus and the snowstorm are just fillers that allow us to process the range of emotions we feel about our mother and give us the necessary distraction so we can actually experience that spectrum of emotion.”

Tons of Dreams: It’s not just one dream per night, but rather dozens of them, say experts—you just may not remember them all. “We dream every 90 minutes throughout the night, with each cycle of dreaming being longer than the previous,” explains Lauri Quinn Loewenberg, a dream expert. “

The first dream of the night is about 5 minutes long and the last dream you have before awakening can be 45 minutes to an hour long.” It is estimated that most people have more than 100,000 dreams in a lifetime.

Dream after you are awake? After a vivid dream it can be hard to fully wake up. It can be hard to concentrate until you get that dream replaced with reality. Or have you ever woken up from such a beautiful, perfect dream that you wished you could go back to sleep to soak it all up? This is how you can. Just lie still—don’t move a muscle—and you can remain in a semi-dreamlike state for a few minutes. “The best way to remember your dreams is to simply stay put when you wake up,” says Loewenberg. “Remain in the position you woke up in, because that is the position you were dreaming in. When you move your body, you disconnect yourself from the dream you were just in seconds ago.”

Same dream over and over again. Loewenberg suggests looking for underlying messages in recurring dreams so that you can rid yourself of them.
For example, a common recurring nightmare people have involves losing or cracking their teeth. For this dream, she recommends that people think about what your teeth and your mouth represent. “To the dreaming mind, your teeth, as well as any part of your mouth, are symbolic of your words,” she says. “Paying attention to your teeth dreams helps you to monitor and improve the way you communicate.”


The Derby

Last year one of my postings was about my oldest daughter, Circe.  She has since enrolled in a writing class.  I am very proud of her and want to share with you her latest timely article.

Sabado © May 2012 Circe Denyer

Holá Mama!

“Mario …”

“Did you get the flowers I sent, Mama?”

“Oh, Sí, Mario. Qué boñita! They are beautiful!”

“I am riding tomorrow, Mama, in the Kentucky Derby.”

“Oh, Mario. On a Sunday… the Sabbath.”

“It is in the evening, Mama. It will not cause me to miss mass.”

“OK, Mario. I will pray for you. Who is this horse you will ride?”

“The horse’s name is “I’ll Have Another”. He is brown and very beautiful. You would like him Mama. He is smart. When I ride him he seems to know exactly what to do.”

“I would like to see this horse win for you Mario.”

“Mama, if it is meant to be…”

“Mario, here is your dad.”

Mario talked with his father about the race tomorrow. As always, he got fatherly advice and a little coaching. After Mario hung up the phone, he remembered the times his father would work with him to teach him to ride. His father used to be a jockey in Veracruz, Mexico. It was there Mario learned to love being a jockey. It was never a momentary ride for Mario. It was a man and an animal becoming one. He felt the horse’s eagerness to run and his readiness to compete. For Mario, it was “vida amorosa”.

His father was farming in Mexico now. Mario would miss him and think of him as he rode tomorrow. He wanted to bring respect and honor to his familia.

Mario remembered how I’ll Have Another moved beneath him in the workouts. He thought about the horse as the sun started to set in his room. He would imagine the ride, the wind and the feeling of crossing the finish line a winner as he closed his eyes to sleep. But what made Mario smile was the reason the horse had that name. “I’ll Have Another” is what owner J. Paul Reddam would say when his wife put away the evening’s cookies. Mario would long for his mother’s baking as he drifted off to sleep.

As the Derby field turns for home and out in front it is Bodemeister. Bodemeister is clear by three lengths now.  Inside the final furlong it is Bodemeister and Mike Smith out in front, I’ll Have Another and Mario Gutierrez now come along side… I’ll Have Another takes the lead in the Derby and up the line and I’ll Have Another wins the derby. The first winning ride for Mario Gutierrez. It was I’ll Have Another for Trainer Doug O’Neill and 25 year old Mario Gutierrez who took Derby 138. –Kentucky Derby May 5, 2012