Houston, I Think we Have a Problem.

I think I have a problem.

I didn’t sleep last night. Well, not much anyway. It was the night before an early clinic. I put my overly-tired* body into bed at 10:30 pm to administer a weekly Aranesp injection.** I’d reasoned that by the time I’d finished jabbing my belly with yet one more needle that surely there would be enough shut-eye time to act as a more patient and kind human the following day, one hopefully without the usual ‘hello-bag-lady’ bags under my eyes. It didn’t work. I still had those dang bags.***

(And I’m not even going to speak to the 'patient and kind human' part. Let’s just say those were not there the next day either).

So last night. Being the diligent person I am, I went to bed early. I looked on my phone. I read my book. I turned my bedside light off. And then I laid there, in the dark with my head on the pillow, ear plugs firmly inserted in each ear,**** with my eyes closed for an achingly long time. In the time that I waited to enter that sweet gift called slumber,***** my brain saw it as an opportunity to talk. About everything. And I made the mistake of indulging it.

This brain of mine can be a chatterbox, let me tell you. At night, he especially seems to like to drag up old hurts and worries, and, just to mix it up a little, occasionally tosses in some good ol’ existential angst. He’s a crafty one, my brain is.

So when Sean came to bed he did not stand a chance. I yanked out those earplugs and blubbered, cried and snotted out random hurts and frustrations. Poor guy. He just wanted to sleep. The ‘it’s after 10 pm rule’****** was mentioned and (wisely) adhered to. His light was turned off and he quickly drifted off into dreamland.

Eventually, I too, fell asleep. But it was fitful and un-relaxed. I woke in the morning to a familiar exhaustion and severe sinus pain. The positive-junkies would tell me, at this point, that I should have just chosen to be happy and live the day as if it were going to be great. They are right, of course. I should have popped a Tylenol and sang a cheerful tune. But my head hurt too much and the bags under my eyes too deep and that dang anxiety was keeping my body too tight for any sort of happy-clappy perspective to occur at 6:30 am.

It was going to be a fun day.******* 

You see, I think I have a problem. I have anxiety about two things: the darkness of the deep sea and going to bed knowing that I have to get up early the following morning, get ready and head out the door in a short amount of time.

What I don’t like is the anticipation of needing to get up early. All the contingencies that need to be thought of: have I packed the lab requisition? My medical card? Have I packed my morning meds, the ones I cannot take prior to blood work stored in a separate container? Have I packed a snack for prior to taking those meds? Have I packed snacks to keep the kiddo appeased during my time of getting blood drawn? Have I packed more snacks for the actual clinic time, when we will be in a small room for awhile, with only do-not-touch medical equipment around for the kiddo to touch? Have I packed his to-go toilet? A change of pull-ups for any accidents? Diaper wipes for his need to poop immediately when the doctor finally arrives in the room?

Have I located and packed the bike-lock key so that we can lock up the wagon for the ride home? Have I packed the wagon? WIll it fit in the car?

Do I have the 24hr urine container? Is it labeled?

Do I have clean clothes laid out for the morning? Does the kiddo have clean clothes laid out for the morning? Is it going to be cold? Do I need to pack warm sweaters? Toques? Mittens? A bus ticket just in case it’s too chilly to even try walk home?

Is my travel mug ready and clean? Is the kettle filled with water and ready to be turned on in the morning? Is there something I can quickly grab for breakfast on the way out the door?

Do I have my wallet? (I am notorious for misplacing it and frantically searching for it in the morning, usually with a fuckaduckduckduck simultaneously murmured under my breath all the while I search for it).

And here’s the usual outcome: I don’t sleep much the night before. I get up, tired. I slap makeup on, brush my hair, and do all the morning routine stuff. I sometimes screw up. As mentioned, my wallet usually is lost for awhile, and disasters do occasionally occur: this morning the key to the bike lock mysteriously disappeared on the short distance from the front door to the car. I have no idea how it happened, but it did*******. And, on the way to the hospital, a wee-bit of that 24 hr urine leaked onto the car seat. I happened to sit in it, and had a damp,  pee-soaked bum for most of clinic, but no big deal, right?

Hi, my name is Natasha and I think I deal with anxiety.



*read: grumpy.

**Aranesp = an injectable drug used to increase the production of red blood cells. I don't participate in competitive sports because if I were tested, I would be disqualified and shamed due to performance enhanced drugging.

Okay, I'm just joshing you. I don't participate in competitive sports because I am humble and want to let other people to win. I'm a very nice person.

***Sometimes I feel like I need to put a label on myself explaining that I do not normally look quite so tired. But I recently (while slathering on ridiculous amounts under-eye concealer one morning) had what has come to be known as The Most Horrible Epiphany Ever: I realized that I do! I do look tired all the time. There’s no going back. It’s a new-old face I’m in. I’m trying to be brave about it all, this whole growing-old-with-grace-thing. But I also confess that I recently went out and bought a shitload of under-eye concealer.

**** I wear ear plugs. One of us snores. Not saying who it is. But it is someone who is 6’4”, male and until recently, had a mohawk haircut. 

*****sweet gift of slumber. Only those with anxiety-induced insomnia know how true this is: restful sleep is a gift. A necessary gift. The older I get, the more I think some historic wars could have been prevented if everyone involved had just decided to take a long, peaceful siesta. And maybe drink a rum and coke. A well-mixed rum and coke couldn’t have hurt either.

******The After 10 pm Rule states that nothing good will come out of a disagreement engaged upon after the hour of 10 pm.

*******Not fun.

********That night I would discover the key in the back pocket of my jeans. I guess I had put it there. I admit that I have no recollection of doing this.