Friday, October 2, 2009

Waking up is hard to do

You know you are getting old when you hurt yourself sleeping.
How in the hell do you hurt yourself sleeping? All you are doing is lying there.
It is not too challenging a task. You lay down, you count sheep, listen to soothing music, read this column, whatever it takes to get you to Sleepyland.
Once sleep is achieved the hard part is over. Way to go, you accomplished your goal of not being awake. From that point all you have to do is lay there like a lump.
You might roll from side to side a little bit, but the activity is hardly enough to cause an injury, or at least it did not used to be.
The other day I woke up with a sore back. I tried to think of how I had acquired said pain and nothing came to mind. So, near as I could figure, I threw my back out sleeping.
How do you prevent that injury from happening? It's not like I can slow down the pace – I was asleep, the only thing slower than asleep is dead.
Maybe I should work with a personal trainer on how to sleep safely.
It is certainly a far cry from the days of my youth.
When I was a young lad not even getting run over by a dirt bike could slow me down.
I was coming around a corner at a rather excitable speed when I encountered two other dirt bikers doing the same thing in the opposite direction. We spotted each other at the same time and everyone scrambled not to hit each other.
I swerved left and went through the ditch before the front tire introduced itself to a rather large boulder. The rapid deceleration that followed applied only to the bike, as the rider, that would be me, kept moving forward at warp factor five.
I remember going over the handlebars and hitting the ground. I vaguely remember something bumping my shoulder and my helmet. That something was my motorcycle that had made it past the boulder and seemed intent on running me down – which it did.
I lay in the weeds for a second having a good laugh, but to those who saw the mishap it seemed I was having a seizure after being trounced by my own metal steed.
I got up to witness half a dozen people running toward me thinking I was a goner.
I assured my would-be rescuers I was fine and continued riding for the next couple of hours.
The next day I was a little stiff in one shoulder and had a few bruises, but was otherwise fine.
I also had a set of knobby tire tracks going across the back of helmet that was a source of conversation (and pride) for months to follow.
Now, it is all I can do to get out of bed after a vicious night's slumber.
You know you are getting old when sleeping becomes hazardous to your well being.
There is no safety apparatus available for those who suffer from sleep injury.
Perhaps that's why the prayer starts with 'Now I lay be down to sleep...' It is not just a prayer to God for sleep, it is a plea for physical well being while sleeping.
I think a slight variation is in order for us older folk.
“Now I lay be down to sleep, I pray I can rise when the alarm goes beep. If I should cramp before I wake, I pray the Lord my pain to take. If muscles knot and become tight, I pray that God will make it right, and should I die before I wake, well, at least I will not have to worry about waking up in pain. Amen.”

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