Seated in the doctor’s lobby, I fill out the medical forms inquiring every aspect of my health history. That done, I flip through a magazine called Phoenix Home and Garden. I get lost in the pictures of gorgeous gardens with waterfalls and gurgling fountains and pergolas smothered in lush green vines. Finally, I’m called.
The doctor, a nice-looking young man who could easily moonlight as a fashion model for Esquire, glances over my forms.
“You have insomnia?”
“I had insomnia,” I say, “I’m not dealing with it now.” (Insomnia had nothing to do with the reason I was seeing the doctor. But he wanted to focus on it.)
“Have you ever tried testosterone?” he asks. “It relieves insomnia in 95% of cases.”
“No. That’s one thing I didn’t try. Doesn’t that cause facial hair?”
“Yes,” he says with a wry, mischievous grin.
Did he expect me to say, “Well, so nice to know! Give me a big, fat shot of it!”
I explain again, “I no longer have insomnia. At least not now.”
For several months or more I dealt with sleepless nights. I appreciated everyone’s suggestions for a cure. A friend proposed I exercise in the morning, rather than the afternoon. But the only exercise I had the energy to do in the morning was to place an English muffin in the toaster and push the lever down.
One of my favorite librarians (I have two) recommended a magnesium drink called Calm. She said this quite calmly and told me she drank it before bed and it worked splendidly. But Calm for me was anything but that. Calm had the side effect of gastrointestinal difficulties and so I didn’t experience calm.
I tried Zzzquil, and later a prescription medication called Trazodone. Both produced the kind of tormented headaches that make you want to hit your head on the wall. Repeatedly.
My hair stylist told me to try melatonin. “Why put poison in your body, when you can use something natural.” He said this while dumping lots of unnatural chemicals on my hair.
A friend stood by lavender oil as the best treatment for insomnia.
People wondered if I had stress and worry.
The only worry I had was…I couldn’t sleep.
As my sleepless nights continued, I would lie in bed and try to entertain myself by remembering funny things people have said. Of course, laughter is not conducive to sleep, but it did keep me from complete boredom at 2, 3, and 4 a.m.
In addition, I thought of places I’d like to live and designed houses I would live in. I loved the mansion I designed for my Maui residence. I had a beautiful patio overlooking the ocean. I can’t remember now, but I probably waltzed on the patio in my hot orange muu muu, stopping on occasion to call aloha to the people down below.
When I dragged myself out of bed in the morning, feeling dead tired, Jerry would look at my wild-eyed composure and ask hesitantly, “Did you sleep well?”
“NO!” I would reply. At this, Jerry would smile graciously and slowly back away. When distance between us seemed safe, he would turn and race to the garage.
Sometimes we hate to admit it. But we know the cause of the problem all along, but prefer to ignore it.
“Jerry, I think I need to stop drinking coffee during the day,” I confessed one day. “I think that’s why I can’t sleep.”
“Oh,” he said as he took a long sip of his coffee in the barrel-sized, blue coffee mug he purchased at Disneyland. “Coffee doesn’t affect me,” he said. Slurrrrp.
Jerry likes his coffee on the weak and tepid side. I like mine so strong and hot, it slaps you in the face and yells, “Wake up!” The difference in our coffee preferences proposed a serious “domestic” issue in our household, so we solved it by purchasing two coffeemakers. When we make coffee at the same time, it’s like dueling coffeemakers, bubbling and spouting “I am strong!” and “I am weak!” in unison.
Yesterday Jerry and I had a late lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. It’s the kind of place with serve-yourself beverages. Jerry and I like to have coffee at this restaurant because they offer real, almost-like-Seattle coffee, not the Arizona-style reminiscent of watered-down motor oil. Jerry, the thoughtful husband that he is, knows that I love the coffee at this place and filled my cup along with his.
I had planned to suffer and have decaf. But the caffeinated coffee Jerry placed before me tempted me. Steam from the cup did a hypnotic dance and beckoned.
I drank it. Slurrrp. Slurrrp.
Even so, I slept well last night.
No testosterone needed for now, (thank goodness).