Among all of the indignities that the more mature members of society must endure, changes in sleep habit ranks among the top 10. It’s definitely less troublesome than losing bladder control or developing bone weakness so pronounced that one can break a hip with a hearty sneeze. Still, the fact that seniors can fall asleep in their La-Z-Boys at 2 o’clock in the afternoon but lie wide awake at 2 o’clock in the morning is a tough nut to swallow.
I’ve always been a light sleeper, at least as an adult. When my son was a baby, I don’t think he ever turned over in his crib without me awakening, listening for his breathing like a cactus wren listening for the hoot of an owl, warning of impending doom. For the cactus wren, it is the danger of being the owl’s dinner. For me, it was the danger of Court’s inconsolable nighttime crying.
Bill is a sound sleeper. This, despite the fact that he has two reasons he shouldn’t sleep well: He’s 80 years old and he has PD. Nevertheless, he falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. Even a before-bedtime-argument — something that will keep me awake all night — doesn’t change things. He sleeps like a baby. He wakes up somewhere in the neighborhood of 3:30 or 4 in the morning to go to the bathroom. In the same way that I would hear Court roll over in his crib, I never fail to hear Bill get up to go to the bathroom. In fact, I think I hear his eyelids opening. The trouble is that I am an early riser, so when I wake up with Bill at 4 o’clock, I’m generally down for the count.
We all know that things seem much worse at night. However, even being fully aware of that fact, I am virtually unable to stop myself from mentally latching on to every horrible possible thing that is/was/might soon be happening to me. Or maybe not to me. I awoke the other night and began thinking of just how mean Harry and Meghan are being to Will and Kate. So he’s a spare. Get a grip Harry. It’s not Will’s fault he was born first. Stop your whining.
I’m happy to say that I only spent 10 or 15 minutes worrying on behalf of Will and Megan. I spent the rest of the two hours wondering where I put the lottery ticket that I bought. True story.
Ah well. The truth is that it doesn’t really matter how well I sleep. I’m not going to be performing brain surgery the next day. In fact, if I want to (and I often do), I can return to bed after my morning coffee.