Why I Am in a Good Mood on Zero Sleep

[Alternate title:  “Pharmaceuticals, alcohol, and heavy machinery.”  Wait for it.]

At least I think this is why I’m in a good – excellent, really – mood, despite not getting a WINK of sleep.

For the first time in a week, I am not in moderate to severe pain and discomfort.  There have been a few, other pleasant things about my day, but I am in an outstanding mood simply because I am not hurting.

I’ll explain the source of the pain, but first, an analogy about why this creates such happiness (or – this just hit me – maybe I’m not “happy” but just “giddy.”  Which can be caused by happiness. But also by drugs, alcohol, and/or sleep deprivation.  And I’m two outta three on that score.  Should be all three.  But I digress yet again – and I’ll come back to that.)

I am all happy-happy, joy-joy today because I can:

  • Sit, stand, walk comfortably.
  • Go from sitting to standing.
  • Vice Versa.
  • Get in and out of my car.
  • Pick things up.
  • Carry things.
  • Put on my pants without crying.
  • You name it!

Except for sneeze.  Sneezing still hurts like a fucking bitch.  (Yesterday, I thought I was going to hit the floor in Walmart over a single sneeze.)

My situation is analogous to this clip from 80s Eddie Murphy.  Even though I totally forgot that 1)  he was actually talking about sex in this clip (like, why didn’t I know that automatically?), and 2) he,too, is making an analogy.

So sex-droughts are analogous to crackers when you’re starving are analogous to being (mostly) pain free after a week (vacation week, to boot!) of suffering.  Who knew?

Now someone probably wants to know why I was in pain for a week.  Or maybe not.  Should I stop right here because the only people who’d care to read this already know about it, via phone and/or multitudinous texts?

Venn Diagram

Self Explanatory

I’ll try to be brief (stop laughing!).

I got this really gnarly injury while we were in Myrtle Beach last week.  Ah, DUDE, you won’t believe it!  My low back (almost exclusively on my right – not at all the side that had been bothering me for 2-3 months – WTF?), butt, hip, and thigh from hip to knee got Effed. UP. because I did this crazy-ass stunt where I…, uh….

Rode in the car for 10+ hours and slept in a strange bed for three nights, waking up on the third morning only to find that I could barely get out of bed.

Yes, apparently it is a crazy-ass stunt to go for a long car ride and sleep in a foreign, too-soft bed – while being old.

We drove to the beach on Saturday (we made excellent time).

Saturday (6/25) night, I was fine.

Sunday (6/26) , I was fine.

Monday (6/27) , I was fine.

Tuesday (6/28) I suddenly struggled just to stand up to get out of bed  in the morning.  And then any time I sat for more than 10 minutes.

Wednesday (6/29) , I was still hurting, but feeling much, much better.

Thursday (6/30 – our wedding anniversary, no less), I literally could not get out of bed.  I got stuck, half-way up, and had to slide down onto the floor.  I might still be on that floor if Bob hadn’t come around to pick me up.

Friday and Saturday (7/1 & 2) were roughly the same as Thursday.  Sitting/standing/lying still for too long was the killer, which was why the mornings were the worst.  But I couldn’t move fluidly enough to stay in motion for long, either.  I did a lot of Sit, Stand, Wander around awkwardly for a few minutes, Repeat.

Sunday (7/3), I somehow managed to survive the car ride back home alright.  I wouldn’t say I was particularly comfortable, but I wasn’t in a lot of pain.

Monday (7/4) it was at its worst.  As Bob had told me at the beach, my “butt was so crooked.”  (Not in the criminal way, but it probably wouldn’t take much to push it over that edge. My ass is shifty.  In more than one sense of that word.)  My shoulders were, too.  Basically, I looked like an “S.”  Specifically, an “S” who was also leaning backward like she was about 3 weeks past due for delivering a baby “s.”  A chiropractic adjustment helped.  A bit.  For a few hours.

Yesterday was as bad as Monday.  TWO chiropractic adjustments (AM and lunch time) took me from about a 10 on pain to a seven (the first session hurt so bad, I cried!  And I don’t cry easily.  Over physical pain, anyway.)

Finally, yesterday afternoon, I had a chance to leave work and run to Med Express (after a first-thing in AM trip to my regular doctor didn’t work out due to him having to attend to an emergency).

The PA there armed me with a short-course of steroids and a muscle relaxer.  I was told that 1) the steroid might take a day or two to work before I’d feel results, and 2) not to take the muscle relaxer until I got home for the night and wouldn’t be driving because it would make me drowsy (this is a key word for later).

The combo of chiropractic and the steroids DID start to work, and I went from that seven on the pain scale to maybe a 3.5.  I still hurt and had to watch how I moved.  But I could move.  I’d made it through my long day of work, and I left the office feeling 1) oh-so drowsy (I think from being in pain all day), and 2) oh-so excited to get home and take my muscle relaxer – and get drowsier.  As I was already sleepy (note: another word for drowsy), I figured it wouldn’t be long after I took the muscle relaxer before I crashed for the day.

I’d jokingly sent this image of my medicine label to a few friends (i.e, you), adding that I thought the statement sounded like a dare.  It doesn’t say “do NOT take this with alcohol.”  It says the medicine may make you drowsy, and that alcohol may make that worse.  It’s like it’s secretly whispering, “Try it.  See what happens.”  I told everyone I was thinking about washing the pill down with an Angry Orchard and calling it a party.


I double dog dare ya.

But I did not have that beer.  This was my first mistake.  We will return to this in a moment.

What happened next was this:  I was feeling so much better that I perked up a little, i.e., was not drowsy.  And feeling good and perky allowed me to be able to fold the laundry – otherwise known as “all the clothes owned by the four people in this residence.”  (We all over-packed for the beach, significantly, except for maybe Bob.)  Being able to DO the chores that had been taunting me for a day and a half of being unable to move, made me happy.  Happy + actually productive (not just busy) can sometimes be my thang.  Ended up, I didn’t even head to bed until about midnight.  Between midnight and ~5:30AM, I attempted to go to sleep three times, each time lying down for about an hour of decidedly not sleeping and getting up to read, or delete the useless emails I’d accumulated while on vacation, or some similar, low-key task.  I finally said screw it, and took a shower and got ready for my day.

Today, I learned during my first visit to the local physical therapist who treats diastasis recti (Have I failed to mention that I never did manage to fix that on my own?  But we will absolutely come back to this topic!  So exciting.) that steroids can Jack. You. Up.  I told her I didn’t know that, and that I wasn’t too worried about sleep deprivation overnight because I’d have the opportunity to take a nap this afternoon.  She had a good chuckle, and said, “Good luck with that.”  I wasn’t sure she was serious, but it’s mid-afternoon, and I’m still awake.  And I’m still not feeling particularly tired.

The lesson here is:  When I have the idea to have a beer, and I have access to beer, (and alcohol consumption isn’t an actual, pharmaceutical contraindicated no-no), I SHOULD HAVE A FUCKING BEER.  Or two.

A beer might have helped me.  In more ways that one.  Opportunity lost.  So sad. Tragic really.

To wrap up, I want to write soon about how awesome the physical therapist is going to be and how I am hopeful that getting my abdominal wall taken care of will help prevent my other body parts from going to war with me.

But since this was intended to be a running blog, and I’ve barely run a handful of times – very slowly and not for very long at all – I am especially hopeful that the meds, chiropractic, and PT will allow me to start running again soon.  It’s been so frustrating.  Several times, I thought I was on the mend and I’d begin a plan (that I got from internet research) for starting up after injury.  It called for starting with a 10-minute run, which would turn into a 12-minute run on the next outing, provided the 10-minute run caused no problems.  Add two minutes each time a run went off without issue.  Subtract two minutes for the next run if any problems occurred.  Seems so slow and too simple, but I’d work up to 30-40 minutes within just a few weeks.  I’d be set!

But I don’t think I ever got past 14 minutes.  (There was maybe a 16-minute run.)  I’d end up stopping all together and starting over later with 10 minutes.  ARGH!

Here’s to hoping I can do a 10-minute run by about this time next week.  And that it will be the shortest run I do for a long, long while.  Fingers crossed!



p.s.  Also frustrating:  We learned earlier this year (after having the same healthcare plan for like 100 years) that Bob’s health insurance has a plan where, for $25 a month, you can become a member of any of the gyms in the plan’s network.  I signed up almost immediately, and drove around town to get my passes for LA Fitness, the Aerobic Center, and the Y.  (It was like Christmas!)  I made it to the first two gyms only a handful of times before all this messed-uped-ness started.

Number of gyms I have access to:  3.

Number of gyms I’ve been able to go to: 0.




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