09 April 2020

How are you sleeping these days? Are you having vivid dreams?

I read somewhere that dreams tend to be more vivid in times like these. I can only agree. Two nights in a row I have woken up in tears or should I say, from the discomfort of a wet pillow. No idea what the tears were for but maybe I will find out another night.
We sleep poorly, as expected. I wake up with the dawn chorus, as if jetlagged and make tea. I bring the tea back to bed and fall asleep again, the tea gets cold.

Our life is very cosy and comfortable, R has started to work in various neighbourhood gardens. In return, jars of jam and pickles are deposited by the back gate. A banana bread, a bunch of wild garlic.

We lunch outdoors and sit for a while reading and gossiping. I work in my virtual office and just after sunset, we cycle along the river under the moon's silver light.

My sister tells me that she fears for her sanity, being cooped up and unable to go out for her events and meetings. I try and reassure her. I am the social recluse of the family after all but she waves me off impatiently, chronic illness doesn't count, not even ten years of it, this now is much more serious.

We briefly discuss whether we should attempt to cut our own hair now so that a potentially disaster haircut will grow out in the weeks to come or whether we better wait and try the long hair look for a change. After watching a couple of online haircut tutorials, I resign and search for hairbands. I find myself inspecting the news readers' hair styles and come to the conclusion that the male ones tend to go for letting it grow.

A friend calls with a campaign, she wants me to help her press charges so that hospital patients can receive visitors again, at least those who are about to die. She is outraged how this crisis is shaping our compassion in a "twisted way" with people now having to die all alone. I briefly remember my mother's death and some statistic I saw recently about the lack of palliative care in hospitals and the resulting lonely deaths - prior to this virus - but it's not an easy subject and what do I know. In the end, we both express our hope that, when this "hubbub" is behind us, we will find ways to make sure that those in power look at life and death differently.
When I put down the phone I feel overwhelmed by all the changes I have been promised will happen when "this" is all over. 

And our tiny ancient Irish aunt, the last remaining sister of my mother in law, blind and deaf, she is mostly asleep these days in her small comfortable bed in a nursing home shut to the world, shut because all of the staff have been tested positive. This is all we know.


  1. I remember when this thing first started getting attention and I said something stupid like, "Well, it's not the plague and we do have science now."
    No. It's not the plague and yes, we do have science. But for so very many those distinctions really don't matter at all.

  2. Fortunately I've never been much of a hand-shaker. I'm all about the wave!

    I've been incredibly sleepy lately. I think even when I'm asleep I'm nervous.

  3. I thought of the "Alternative To Handshakes..." today when we ran into a friend who was doing yard work. He had a mask on and the lawn mower was running. We communicated with our hands, pointing at each other, touching our hearts, nodding yes, giving thumbs up. Smiling, definitely smiling. This is our new reality. Yes to sleep, and plenty of it.

    1. I don't ever remember my dreams.

      What I have noticed is that the night sweats that I had when my husband and I first broke up are back. I had them a little bit with menopause but haven't seen hide nor hare of them for 6 years. Not welcome.

  4. I loved that song so much. I haven't heard it in years and this rendition was beyond wonderful.

    I like the alternatives. I may start using Namaste. We'll see.

    I'm glad you and your husband are safe and isolated. Be well my friend.

  5. what? no elbow bump? that's what we're doing. Husband went to the grocery store yesterday and I made him promise to wear the dust mask. we do have half a box on N95 from our glass work which we will switch to if the virus gets rampant here. he had to wait in line for the first time to enter. I generally wake up about 3 AM for an hour or two but my dreams aren't such that I remember that I even dreamed even though my fence project is wearing me out.

  6. Sabine, thank you for that glorious virtual choir this morning! I sent it to my choir group, as we've had to suspend our season. Perhaps we can make music like that together in the meanwhile. Hugs.

  7. Somehow I missed listening to "True Colors" until it showed up at 37paddington. Now I'm listening to it again here at your blog, thinking of your Irish aunt and all that you wrote and remembering how heartening that song was to me when I was 36 years old and heard it for the first time.

    You asked about dreams and sleep patterns. Last night I had my recurring dream that only lasts a few seconds. In this dream, all that happens is that I hear my phone ring once. Or I hear a single bell tone. Or I hear a high-pitched sound. The sound wakes me up, and then I realize that the sound I heard was a dream sound. This unsettling recurring dream seems to have replaced the recurring dream that first occurred in 1970 when R was in Vietnam. In that dream of only a few seconds, someone tries to attack me in my bed and I wake up lunging toward that person and yelling, "Nooooooo!!!!!" The first time I dreamed that dream, the person was a Viet Cong, and I was afraid that it meant that R had died in Vietnam. As so many people die each day from COVID-19, I remember when it was people dying every day in Vietnam. Social distancing reminds me of my childhood. I didn't know anything other than social distancing. I am sleeping well for the most part but am feeling edgy on and off during the day. In the last few days I have taken long walks in the woods and felt the way I did as a child when I took long walks by and found happiness in that.

  8. I'm a hugger myself, so now I'm settling, sadly, for waves.

    It's a scary time.