Sometimes laughter is the best medicine, especially when chronic illness turns the simple act of going to bed, into a circus act.
I’m no poet, but as my husband and I recovered from last night’s antics over our morning coffee, our conversation ignited a tiny bit of poetic creativity:
As I lay me down to sleep
My naughty stoma became a creep,
“No rest for you it screams and shouts”
It really can be a lout,
I contemplate arising from the bed
To extradite this bag of lead,
My back refuses to let me move
My legs insist they’re not in the mood,
My loving husband hops out of bed
Not quite understanding what lies ahead,
A dilemma presents
No solution invents,
Oh deary me,
now I need to pee!
All Jokes Aside
All joking aside, our morning turned into a very similar circus at 6am.
I’m on very strong antibiotics which are not agreeing with me, but are necessary to deal with a stubborn, aggressive sinus infection.
The “cure being worse than the cause” springs to mind.
The trouble with chronic diseases and being immune compromised, is we never know what part of our body is going to demand attention. Sometimes, actually often, it’s multiple issues all playing up at once, with no consideration for the body’s owner requiring sleep at a decent hour and for a decent length.
In my mind there are two ways of dealing with the uncertainty of, or should I say certainty of, unwelcome disturbances on a regular basis.
One way is to become distressed, depressed and driven to madness.
The second way is to expect, embrace and explore novel ways to deal with a life that won’t fit neatly into a normal schedule.
I choose the second way.
Expect, Embrace and Explore
So what does that look like?
It’s really not complicated. It’s a mindset.
I need to give myself messages which keep me calm and keep me focused on dealing with one thing at a time, one step at a time.
Messages like, “It’s ok, just breathe and deal with one issue at a time. You’ve got this. You’ll get through this if you stay calm. After the storm a relaxing cuppa awaits”
I always feel better knowing the best solution to all dramas in my life awaits…..the ever comforting cup of tea!
If I allow panic to set in I will worry about it being midnight and not being asleep.
I’ll worry about future nights being like this, when the reality is, they might be perfect….for a few nights anyway!!
I’ll worry about all I need to do the next day, when it’s not an issue.
I’m medically retired for a reason. For this very reason.
I have a body that won’t behave, is unpredictable, disabled and creates debilitating circumstances.
I don’t need to worry about tomorrow or the next day, because I’m free to cancel appointments, re-schedule tasks and rest completely whenever I need to.
I don’t want to have this unpredictable life, but I do, and I’ve learned to expect many days won’t run to plan.
It’s easier if I embrace the changes to my schedule as a result of the expected intrusions.
Most importantly I take every opportunity to explore ways to prevent them, learn from them or just be more prepared for them.
Doing this provides a sense of control even if I have little control over much.
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
Writing my little poem was a wonderful distraction from the pain and discomfort I was experiencing in the aftermath of the night before. It was fun and felt weirdly freeing from the shackles of chronic illness.
My husband was my sounding board/editor and as I let the lines flow, we had a good laugh throughout the process. Something we both needed and was healing and soothing in so many ways.
The first line of my poem was really triggered by the memory of a night time prayer I would say before bed as a little girl. There are a few versions but this is the one taught to me:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
Thy angels watch me through the night,
And keep me safe till morning’s light.
It’s so simple but so soothing. It reminds me there are certainties in life, even in my uncertain chronic illness world.
The morning light will appear every day as the sun rises.
God does care about my life, both the chaos and the calm. I can still pray with childlike faith believing I’ll be heard. I don’t have to worry. I can unburden my woes to God through prayer and feel peace flooding my soul.
Life is a gift. One to be cherished, warts and all.
Sleep well (I know I will eventually!!)