Sleepless nights and music


How is it that we can function on so little sleep?

I know we all have different reasons for not sleeping. When my daughter calls and details her sleepless night because my granddaughter, Olivia, was up every hour on the hour, my mind drifts back to those days. It’s exhausting being a parent, especially when your children aren’t sleeping. My daughter has a pretty big full-time job, a part-time makeup gig, and runs Olivia to dance, gymnastics and swim class three days a week. She is the most amazing person I know! Ah-mazing! I just don’t know how she does it all on very little sleep some days.

When I was working, I sometimes had sleepless nights because my mind wouldn’t shut off thinking about the event I was planning, the new broker I was on boarding, and so on. The alarm clock would wake me shortly after I was finally able to drift off to sleep and I would bounce out of bed, ready to tackle the new day. I LOVED my job and going to work was exciting! Managing on a little sleep didn’t bother me all that much!

Now, I can’t sleep because I have a fractured hip, no hip-joint, and a collapsed femur. When I go to bed, if I can’t get my hip and leg “aligned” – forget it! I am in for a night of very little sleep, and that feeling of trepidation quickly settles in. Lately I have been experiencing a lot of sleepless nights.

You see, I live in a constant state of discomfort. The throb in my leg is always there, but I try not to focus on it as it has become my new “normal.” But at night when I can’t sleep, it seems as though I always feel the constant throb… and it is annoying!

When this first became a pattern, I thought that I would simply stay up late at night. It sounds logical, doesn’t it? I am exhausted! I’ll stay up late and by the time my head hits the pillow, I will be out like a light. Oh, to be so lucky!

I don’t like taking pain medication because I worry that I will become dependent on them, and that scares me. I like to fancy myself as having a high tolerance to pain. After all, I was the gal who broke her leg on a Saturday, didn’t have surgery until Wednesday, and had no pain meds until after surgery (with the exception of when they did the biopsy)!

So what do you do when you can’t sleep? I have tried reading, meditating, writing in a journal, and various other things like visualizing my goals, etc., etc.  Guess what? Those things did nothing to get me to fall asleep. The only thing that seems to work (after a while) is putting on my boogie shoes (not literally, but you know what I mean), and playing that funky music!

Music has a way of making my soul happy! I have over 1300 songs on my playlist, so there are plenty of options for me!

A few times when I was in the hospital, my plastic surgeon would stop in to check on me at varying times. I never had my TV on. He would ask the obvious questions, such as: How was I feeling? What did I eat that day? He would also always comment that my TV was never on.

Of course, there are always exceptions! On one occasion, when I was an add-on for surgery, we had no idea as to what time I would actually get into the OR. My plastic surgeon and the three dream team residents came into my room at 9:45 PM to wheel me to the OR. (Yes, that’s the kind of surgeon he is; when transport is busy, he comes to get you to the OR!) I was watching the season finale of The Bachelorette. I asked them if they wanted to wait until it was over so I could see who was chosen…sadly, they did not. Apparently, my surgery was more important to them then who Kaitlyn would give her final rose to. Go figure! (Thankfully, she chose Shawn, who had my vote!)

I always listened to music in the hospital. One reason is that it is so noisy (the beeping of machines and call bells). The nurses actually get “alarm fatigue,” which I completely understand. To this day, I promise you I still hear the beep-beep-beeping sounds!

If I was fortunate enough to have a private room, my door was always closed to act as a sound barrier. Once, I was home and I awoke in the morning to beeping noises. I leaped up, thinking my wound vac was alarming (which happened several times: when there was a leak, or blood was filling the canister), only to discover it was a truck backing up outside. And as a side note, at that point, I no longer even had my wound vac. It was taken off a few months prior! See what I mean about alarm fatigue?! Those noises haunt you for a very long time.

I would get lost in my music when I was in the hospital by myself. I could forget about the discomfort for a little bit, which I appreciated tremendously. Lyrics resonate with me for different reasons and brings me back to different times and places in life.

My music genre list is extensive. Stevie Nicks; Van Morrison; Nickleback; Justin Timberlake; Jennifer Nettles; Keith Urban; Jackson Browne; Shinedown; Faith Hill; Tim McGraw; REO Speedwagon; ELO; Lady Antebellum, and Lady Gaga have all kept me company and transported me to different places. If only Lady Gaga could see the dance moves my daughter and granddaughter have for “Poker Face” – priceless!

Sometimes, just a few lyrics could lift my spirit. Blake Shelton’s song, “God Gave Me You” reminds me of my daughter, who is my world, so just hearing the verse of “God gave me you for the ups and downs, God gave me you for the days of doubt,” would remind me that all would be OK.

If you know me at all, you know that Bon Jovi has always been in my life. I saw them five times one year – so you know I am a serious fan! For some reason when I had the playlist on shuffle, their song “Seat Next To You” always seemed to be one of the first songs to play. The first few verses always brought a smile to my face:

“Long slow drive down an old dirt road, you’ve got your hand out the window, listening to the radio, that’s where I wanna be…  On an old park bench in the middle of December, cold hard rain fallin; can’t find no cover, that would be alright with me… Hard days, good times, blue skies, dark nights…”

For the ‘woe-is-me’ moments, Gavin DeGraw’s “Where You Are” would remind me to stop the pity party: “Well everybody hurts, that’s where we’re all the same… We drive on through the worst, and we push on through the pain…”

So my friends, on these sleepless nights, I put on my music and try to focus on that instead of the discomfort. And each night I start with Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love,” simply because my sweet granddaughter, Livy Goose, loves this song and it soothes her. It reminds me of her, which in turn, soothes me.

It will be a beautiful thing when I have my hip/joint replacement and mega prosthesis surgery, and I can sleep again, pain-free. But in the meantime, I thank these talented and gifted songwriters and musicians for helping me along each night. As Bob Marley once said, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

What do you do when you can’t sleep? (Besides count sheep!)

Until next time, be well and go out and do a random act of kindness.

Good night. Sweet dreams!