Sleep – what’s that?

I’ve done most of my sleeping lately in my lift chair. It’s reasonably comfortable but the legs don’t go up as high as I need them to elevate given my edema and blood clot. My adjustable Sleep Number bed is comfortable but not when I’m flat on my back, and it’s not so easy getting up to pee multiple times a night. Because I’m now on Xarelto, that’s happening about every 2-3 hours.

Let’s talk about what that involves. I can’t go to the bathroom with the walker unless I have my AFO braces and shoes on, which just ain’t gonna happen in the middle of the night. So I keep the wheelchair by the bed. First I park the chair, stand, and grab the walker by the bed to help me with balance as I pivot and turn to sit on the side of the bed. Then I position a therapy pad between my feet and put them on top to help me push back in the bed so I’m not teetering on the edge. I use my leg lifter to swing each leg up one at a time, then pull the covers over me. And then I grab the bed ladder and use it to pull myself over a bit more in the bed. Last, I use the bed controls to raise the feet up as high as they go and the head up a little bit, and use the app on my phone to adjust the bed pressure level. Then the lights go out.

I’m afraid of NOT responding when my body says “Hello! Time to go pee!” I have to reverse all of the above steps, and use the flashlight app on my phone so I can see what I’m doing without waking myself up completely. When I use the bedside light or overhead light, it might as well be morning. Plus the cats hear me moving and come to investigate, which doesn’t exactly help. If I don’t adjust the bed back to 100, it’s like sitting in a hole when I try to go back and swing my legs up. So yes, it takes all those steps – which I have to do all over again to get back into bed.

So most nights lately I start in bed, then move to the lift chair after I get up to pee the first time, because it’s easier to get up from the chair than the bed. But without the legs being high enough or my CPAP available, I sleep lightly if at all, leaving me dozing in the chair during the day and really, really tired.

On the other hand, it’s still so much better than a year ago when it took two people to get me from the bed to the bedside commode, after using the call button and then waiting for the CNA to find a second person to help. I had to wear the hated gripper socks; now I can be barefoot which saves time and steps. I wasn’t strong enough to get my legs on and off the bed without help, and I couldn’t clean myself after because of back surgery limits on twisting and turning. Plus I was very uncoordinated navigating all this newness, full of fear that this would all be permanent.

But it wasn’t. Time and practice and therapy made the difference. It’s good to remember where I was a year ago, to see the difference and to see how “normal” my life actually is even with my limits. And as annoying it is to still have to do all those steps to get in and out of bed, I can do it and do it myself in my own home. I sleep better in the bed and it’s worth the effort to get myself there.

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