The Sound of Slumber

I want a new drug 
One that won’t make me sick 
One that won’t make me crash my car 
Or make me feel three feet thick 

I want a new drug 
One that won’t hurt my head 
One that won’t make my mouth too dry 
Or make my eyes too red 

Huey Lewis and the News was playing in my brain. I’d just dropped my electronic cigarette on my foot and it startled me awake. I dropped it falling asleep in mid-thought, which is the way it works when you take Temazepam and Diphenhydramine to defeat insomnia. It creeps up on you, about 35 to 50 minutes after you take the pills, and then goes into effect with the aplomb of Seal Team Six.

I’m trying to quit smoking, and so I bought one of those electronic cigarette kits. It’s not the same as smoking, but it’s an okay surrogate that can take me a few hours between actual cigarettes. But just as important, if I drop an electronic cigarette when I fall asleep, it won’t set my house on fire. So far I hadn’t dropped a lit cigarette onto my rug or clothing, but the way those drugs work, it was just a matter of time. That theory proved itself as I startled back awake and looked at my foot. “Ow,” I said, reaching down to fetch the fallen object. I took a pull on it and was rewarded with the smoking sensation that wasn’t really a smoking sensation, but close enough. “You just paid for yourself, ” I said to it with appreciation. The next thing I knew, my wife was shaking me and saying that I’d been slumped in my chair for two hours or so and perhaps I’d like to actually lay down. I moved to the bed, but enough time had gone by that the stealthy assassination characteristics of my drugs had worn off, and so I just laid there in the dark.

After an hour, I got back up and celebrated the passage of time with a couple more morphine tablets. The quick acting ones. I hoped it would shut off the gas burners roasting my feet and might pull the ice picks that were lodged into my hips and lumbar area. I was sitting up again, and so I started reading from my Kindle to pass the time. But I wasn’t able to focus on the story, one of a collection in a Michael Connelly edited anthology of thrillers, aptly named Thriller. Instead, the Kindle had me thinking about the news that Apple and a few publishers had conspired to price fix their offerings in an attempt to run Amazon out of business. Amazon has a firm pricing policy that discounts books considerably over stores and other online sellers. Apple, hating Amazon for its Kindle, wanted to inflict damage on the bookseller so it induced the publishers into jacking up their pricing such that it caused Amazon to lose money when they sold books. Apple and the late Steve Jobs didn’t think much of the way that Amazon had stolen much of their market share with not only cheaper books, but a cheaper reader and a no cost publishing path for authors. Actually, the whole affair reads like the mystery-thriller books I like so much. A much beloved guru of modern times turns out to be a scheming, egocentric crook wrecking havoc on the lives of hard-working innocents…

Again my wife was shaking me awake and suggesting I go to bed. I was beginning to get annoyed, if left to my own devices I might end up a little stiff, but I might get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. But she’s right, I need to keep my feet elevated until we see the end of this nephrotic syndrome thing and my feet return to normal size. The whole edema thing is getting tiresome. As I went back to bed I thought about the totally contradictory information there is about sleep. In one camp we have those telling us that sleeping a few hours at night will keep us healthier and make us live longer. They point to studies that show that the longest living people are mostly people who have dealt with a couple hours less sleep than normal all their lives. Meanwhile, in the other camp, we have people showing that people who don’t get a solid eight hours of rest each night are more prone to disease. They point to studies that show that allowing the full circadian rhythm of a tightly scheduled sleep period results in healthier, longer lived people. It’s like the studies came from different planets and investigated entirely different species.

I want a new drug
One that lets me sleep
Drop me off a whole eight hours
And won’t hurt my feet.

I suppose the net gain of it all is what I should be looking at. I’m alive, less likely to immolate myself and my home, my feet are shrinking back from the realms of freakish, and with my schedule, who cares if I take a lot of naps? Having a cancer changes lives and it changes them quite significantly in some cases. At least before it kills you, which is a pretty significant change. Until that comes along though, we take what comes and work with it the best we can. But I still want a new drug.