16. Get Your Own Bed, Goldilocks

Sometimes sleep can be elusive, especially if you are dealing with a serious illness. These days it seems like almost everyone has trouble sleeping . Just look at all of the TV commercials for mattresses to help you sleep, There are adjustable mattresses that separately adjust the firmness of the mattress and even raise and lower at the top and bottom of the mattress, allowing both people using the bed to customize for their own comfort. I am starting to think Rob and Laura Petrie had the right idea with separate twin beds. It’s hard enough to find a bed, mattress, pillow and blanket combination that works for one person, let alone two people! Remember Goldilocks? She tried out three different beds before she found one she felt comfortable using. Even the size of beds has changed over the years as people sought out a more restful nights sleep. A, somewhat small, double size was the standard for years. Then came the Queen, the King, and the ultimate, California King.

I was hospitalized for a few days after surgery for a kidney stone, and the bed I had was amazingly comfortable. Of course it was fully adjustable, and the mattress constantly shifted with inflating and deflating air. It was like sleeping on a cloud.

Sometimes, no matter how much size and comfort you squeeze into a bed,when you don’t feel well, or have trouble sleeping, sleeping alone is your best bet. I would say that people who have ALS make the best bed mates. We can’t toss and turn all night, and can’t steal the covers. The only drawback is, if you toss and turn and steal our covers, you will be up all night constantly readjusting our blankets and body parts when you accidentally move them. So far, my husband and I have made do with our queen sized bed using a memory foam mattress and separate blankets. The memory foam mattress reduces (somewhat) movement from his tossing and turning. The separate blankets are a big help. We should have tried that years ago. I don’t have to worry about my covers moving every time he moves, and we each decide how many or few blankets we are comfortable using.Experiment to find what works best for you, and don’t be apprehensive to go it alone. You may have the best nights sleep you’ve had yet.

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2. Get Some Zzz’s

Sleep is sometimes hard to come by when you have a serious illness, or even when you don’t. Not getting enough rest can lead to all sorts of new and unwanted problems on top of what you are already dealing with. I am all for alternative medicine, and by that I mean not medication, but herbs or vitamins, aromatherapy, etc… But life is short. If you have a serious illness, chances are, you already have way too many things on your plate.  Sometimes I think it’s faster and easier to just get a prescription. Whether it’s pain that’s keeping you awake at night, and you need a pain pill, or just the inability to sleep and you need a sleeping pill, talk to your doctor and get some rest. I personally take both. But this is a blog , and I am not a doctor. I don’t even play one on TV. Although, I have met and talked with Rick Springfield several times, and he played a neurosurgeon on General Hospital for years…so that should count for something, right? Dr Noah Drake

I take the lowest dosage of the sleeping pill, Ambien, and I cut them in half. I end up taking such a small dose, by the time I cut that tiny pill in half, I sometimes wonder if it really helps that much, or if I just think it does. So when my husband found a half of an Ambien on the floor the other night, just after I had taken my evenings pills, I wondered if and when I may have missed a dose. I was pretty sure I had taken one that night, mixed in with a couple of other small pills. I have developed a habit of checking which pills I am given before I swallow them, by feeling them with my tongue. When you can’t pick up a pill yourself and rely on someone else to do it for you, if they make a mistake you will be wishing you had double checked it beforehand.  I can identify probably close to twenty pills just by the way they feel in my mouth. That little trick has kept me from taking the wrong pill more than a few times over the years. I started checking them years ago, after I had asked my daughter to bring me an Imodium.  Not really paying much attention to what she brought me, I took it and soon found out I had actually taken a Tylenol PM. Two pills that were packaged the same way and looked similar, but believe me, if you need an Imodium, you do NOT want a Tylenol PM! 

Back to the Ambien… I slept fine that night. Thinking that I must have missed a dose at some point but hadn’t had any problems sleeping, I decided to skip the Ambien the next night. Around 3:30 a.m., I began to rethink my decision. By 4:30 a.m., I had decided that I didn’t care if I took a half of a sleeping pill every night for the rest of my life. I have too much else going on to have to worry about not sleeping.  So, I took my half a pill and got my Zzz’s.