Between Sleep and Its Companion

I spent another day at my wife’s bedside yesterday. She did not eat while I was there, from about 10:30 to just before 5. That worries me, of course, but the nurses say variations in appetite are not unusual. Relatively late in the day, she seemed to have some interest in a cooking show that her sister had been watching (the sound muted and captions activated). When I got home last night, darkness had begun to fall. I changed into my evening attire (sweats, sweatshirt, and flip-flops). I reclined on the loveseat and watched episode 3 of Mindhunters, a series based on book about the work of two FBI agents and a psychologist whose efforts transformed the agency’s behavioral science philosophies and processes. I’m enjoying it.

Yesterday morning, I took the time to get my second Shingrix vaccination. Very early this morning, I think I experienced some of the more common side effects of the vaccine: shivering, muscle pain, headache, tiredness, fever, etc. About 2:30, I woke up shivering. No matter how I piled on the blanket, I felt cold; I was shivering so much that my teeth chattered. At about the same time, I experienced rather intense pain in my lower back; the kind of pain that intensifies with any physical movement. Every time I turned over, the pain got worse; but unless I moved, the pain seemed to get amplified in one spot. The muscles in both arms felt achy and I had a headache.

Also, I thought I was having hallucinations last night. When I exhaled, I saw a rectangular “tube” arise from my mouth and go up, through the ceiling and into the sky. Inside the tube were barely visible earth-tone translucent shapes that I thought looked architectural in nature; those shapes were normal, I thought. But suddenly the shapes became colorful, though still barely visible, and transformed into animals, including unicorns and elephants and tigers. Then, the tube emptied. Finally, it disappeared. Somehow, the tubes were related both to my breath and to computer controls connected to my chills. As I try to remember the experience, I think the weird visions were not hallucinations but, instead, odd components of a dream that stayed with me for a few moments after I awakened; one of those strange incidents between sleep and waking that merge elements of both.

I tolerated these experiences until about 5:30, when I called my sister in law to ask whether she, if the streets were safe, would come over and look for blankets and pile them on top of me. I did not want to try to get out of bed for fear of being unable to stand up or get back in bed because of my back. She said she would do it once she could be sure the ice on the streets had begun to melt. Later, she wisely suggested the symptoms I was having might be COVID-19 or the flu and, therefore, she felt uncomfortable being in the house. She asked if I had taken my temperature; naturally, it had not occurred to me.  Later, I took my temperature with three difference thermometers: 97.5, 99.1, and 101.8.

I fell asleep shortly after the phone conversation. Finally, sometime after 8:30, I got up. My lower back still hurts; the pain feels just like the pain I’ve had before when my lower spine got out of alignment. Otherwise, except for muscle aches, I feel fine. To my knowledge, I have not been around anyone who has/had COVID-19. The fact that my nighttime “symptoms” seem to have diminished quite a lot suggests to me I am fine.

The blinds in the kitchen usually are up by the time the sun begins to rise. Not this morning, though. It was nearly 9:30 when I pulled the cord on the blinds. Immediately, I saw a box sitting at the front door. I suspect it had been sitting there all night; I just hadn’t noticed it when I got home. Once inside, I opened the box to reveal all manner of goodies; my nephew, his wife, and his mother sent us a fabulous assortment of chocolates, baked goods, canned goods, candies, and more. I was delighted when I saw that one of the packages was biltong, a dried meat product that originated in South African countries. I’ve been wanting to try it for months (maybe years), so that was a wonderful Christmas gift!

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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3 Responses to Between Sleep and Its Companion

  1. Mick and Robin, the experience did seem very real, as if a hallucination had inhabited my head, taking me for a ‘ride.’ I’m feeling better now. Not perfect, mind you, but better.

  2. robin andrea says:

    That was quite an experience, side-effect, dream. I’m hoping that all is much better today and that your back pain has diminished. Lovely Christmas gift. Really a great balance to these times. Take care there, John.

  3. Mick says:

    Quite the ‘trippy’ night. Glad to hear you made it through okay, and, with a box of treats to greet you.

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